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Oyo-Ita’s Trial: Judge Accuses EFCC of shopping for Favorably Judgment

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Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday stopped proceeding in the ongoing trial of the former Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, and others.

The Judge in a ruling, described the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s act in obtaining an ex-parte order for the freezing of bank accounts of the 4th, 5th and 6th defendants in the matter before another court as “an abuse of court process.”

Justice Taiwo, who described the EFCC’s conduct as “forum shopping” aimed at getting a favourable court judgment, said the anti-corruption agency’s conduct was reprehensible and condemnable.

Taiwo, who was visibly angry with the anti-graft agency’s action, said it was a contemptuous move and an outright forum shopping that must not be allowed in the interest of justice .

The judge then ordered a stay of proceedings in the trial until the EFCC and its lawyer “do the needful” by withdrawing the application before the other court. Justice Taiwo did not fixed any date for court to reconvene sitting on the matter.

The EFCC had filed an ex-parte motion with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1202/2020 before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo for the freezing of the bank accounts of 4th, 5th and 6th defendants in the alleged N570 million money laundering charge preferred against the ex-HoS and others, even when the matter is ongoing before Justice Taiwo.

Oyo-Ita is the 1st defendant in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/60/2020 before Taiwo, Garba Umar, and his two companies; Slopes International Ltd and Gooddeal Investment Ltd are 4th, 5th and 6th defendants respectively.

Others in the case include Frontline Ace Global Services Ltd and Asanaya Projects as 2nd and 3rd, while Ubong Okon Effiok and his two companies; U & U Global Services Ltd and Prince Mega Logistics Ltd are 7th, 8th and 9th defendants respectively.

The defence lawyers had urged the court to discontinue the trial until the EFCC’s counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, withdraws the application before Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo, describing the act as an abuse of court process.

Also Justice Taiwo had on February. 11, threatened to return the case file of Oyo-Ita’s trial to the Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho, for reassignment. He then fixed the ruling on the matter until today, March 3, 2021

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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