THE former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday, asked the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja to strike out a suit seeking to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate allegations of corruption against him, for being incompetent and status-barred.
In a notice of preliminary objection challenging the suit, Oshiomhole said the Edo state-based human rights activist, Bishop Osadolor Ochei, who filed the suit lacked the locus-standi (legal right) to institute the legal action.
Ochei had approached the court with an application seeking an order of mandamus to compel the EFCC to arrest and commence criminal proceedings against the former Edo state governor over alleged financial fraud while he was in office.
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But, Oshiomhole, who is now the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in his motion, also asked the court to strike out prayer one of the applicant’s motion on notice for being premature and incompetent.
Oshiomhole’s preliminary objection, filed on his behalf by his counsel, Damian Dodo (SAN), which is hinged on ten grounds, said the applicant ought to have filed the instant suit for judicial review within three months of occurrence of the subject of the application.
He added that the action of the EFCC, which is being subjected to review by the instant proceedings, occurred on December 13, 2016, while the proceedings for judicial review commenced on June 13, 2018, eighteen months after the occurrence of the alleged failure being complained about.
While noting that the Bishop Ochei’s right of action has become unenforceable, Oshiomhole, who is the joined with the EFCC as the second respondent in the suit, said the applicant has not disclosed that he has legal right to file and maintain the action for judicial review, “having not shown how the actions of the second respondent/applicant affected him over and above other residents and indigenes of Edo State.”
Oshiomhole further argued that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit for failure of the Bishop to commence the action within the time provided by extant rules of the court and for his failure to disclose locus standi to file the action.
The trial Jude, Justice Anwuli Chikere adjourned matter to November 19, 2018, for hearing of Oshiomhole’s preliminary objection filled yesterday.
The Judge had ordered that the EFCC and the former Governor be served with court processes within five days from October 9, 2018, when the order was made. But when the matter came up yesterday, the EFCC was not represented by any counsel in court.
The applicant’s counsel, Dr. West Idahosa told the court that the anti-graft commission was duly served with the court processes as ordered by the court at the last hearing of the matter.
Idahosa, in arguing the motion, urged the court to allow the respondents to file their reply to the weighty allegations made against them by the applicant in support of the federal government’s anti-corruption fight.
Bishop Ochei had on October 28, 2016, petitioned the EFCC against Oshiomhole who was governor of Edo State from November 2008 to November 11, 2016.
Dr Idahosa, in praying the court to grant the request of his client, referred the court to 86 exhibits filed in support of the application and added that there are documents and electronic pictures of palatial houses of the former governor, whose earnings all his life cannot acquire and that there are evidence on how Oshiomhole allegedly diverted money for Edo State project to personal projects.
Ochei’s lawyer said that there are vouchers of exorbitant air fares that the former governor incurred, stressing that the amount of the air fares are enough to buy air carrier for the Edo State people.
Idahosa, in addition, said there are receipts of how the ex-governor used huge amount of states’ fund to repair his private vehicles and urged the court to grant the relief of his client, noting that EFCC has arrested and prosecuted lesser crimes and there is no reason why the anti-graft agency should ignore the petition.
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