The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday accused Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja of favouring former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Rochas Okorcha, ex-governor of Imo state in cases they filed against the two.
In two fresh motions filed by the anti graft agency before the court, they demanded the withdrawal of Justice Taiwo from the two fundamental rights enforcement cases filed by Saraki and Okocha because the trend of the Judge’s orders in cases where it was conducting corruption/financial crimes investigations, made it difficult for it to believe in the judge’s neutrality.
EFCC resorted to filing the fresh motion following the refusal by the court’s Chief Judge, Justice Adamu Kafarati to transfer the cases from Justice Taiwo’s court, as requested by them in a petition they earlier submitted against the judge.
EFCC’s fresh motions read, “His Lordship while sitting in Ekiti Judicial Division of the Federal High Court had in two previous cases involving former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, Attorney-General of Ekiti State and officials of Ekiti State Government given orders/decisions wherein the 4th respondent/applicant’s statutory powers to investigate economic and financial crimes were curtailed and gagged contrary to the established principles by superior courts.
“One is suit number, FHC/AD/CS/32/2016 between A.G. Of Ekiti State vs. EFCC and 17 Ors, while the other has been upturned by the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/EK/8C/2017 between EFCC V. Mr. Ayodele Fayose & Anor.
“The 4th respondent/applicant does not expect to always win its cases before this honourable court, but the trend of decisions/orders being made against it by my lord in cases where it is conducting corruption/financial crimes investigations. has made it difficult for it to believe in my lord’s impartiality.
“The 4th respondent/applicant had petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court seeking that this matter be re-assigned from my Lord’s court to another court, and the Chief Judge advised that a formal motion be filed to that effect.”
It faulted the ex parte orders parte directing the respondents in the case, including the EFCC,”to stay all action in connection with the subject matter of this suit, to stay all action in connection with the subject matter of pending the determination of this suit…”
The anti graft agency continued, “Without considering the merit in the application vis a vis the venue of the alleged violation of the fundamental rights, the court made an interlocutory order without hearing from the respondents applicant.
“It is well established legal principle that no court has the power to stop the investigative powers of the 4th respondent or any agency established under the laws to investigate crimes.”
According to the commission, the orders issued by the court on May 9 and May 14, 2019 restrained it from performing its statutory duty.
The EFCC had, in its earlier petition to Justice Kafarati, May 21, 2019, accused Justice Taiwo of being bias against it.
In the petition, signed by the EFCC’s acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, the commission equally complained about the ex parte orders made by Justice Taiwo on May 9 and 14, restraining the commission from continuing its investigations of certain corruption allegations against Saraki, and Okorocha.
In their separate responses, Okorocha and Saraki urged Justice Kafarati to ignore the request by the EFCC, arguing that it was baseless.
The judge adjourned both cases till September 27, 2019, for the hearing of the motions raised by EFCC.