- A suit to compel the EFCC to probe Oshiomhole over alleged corruption has been dismissed by the court
- Bishop Osadolor Ochei, an Edo based cleric, had prayed the court to compel EFCC to probe the APC national chairman
- But in her judgment, Justice Chikere, upheld the preliminary objection raised in the suit by Oshiomhole to the effect that the action was statute-barred
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate corruption allegations against the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.
The Sun reports that the plaintiff, Bishop Osadolor Ochei, an Edo based cleric, had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/628/2018, alleged that Oshiomhole who was sued as the 2nd respondent, while in office as governor, acquired properties in United States of America, South Africa and Dubai worth billions of U.S. dollars and far in excess of his legitimate income.
Legit.ng gathered that the clergy further told the court that Oshiomhole built a sprawling mansion worth more than N10 billion in his home town known as Iyamho, while he was in office as governor.
It was learnt that prior to the suit, the applicant told the court that he had on November 4, 2016, sent a petition to the EFCC, detailing some corrupt practices he said the ex-governor was involved in.
It was his contention before Justice Anwuli Chikere that EFCC’s refusal to act on petitions containing “weighty allegations” against Oshiomhole, ran contrary to Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which enjoined the state to abolish corrupt practices.
But in her judgment, Justice Chikere upheld the preliminary objection raised in the suit by Oshiomhole to the effect that the action was statute-barred.
The court held that although EFCC has a statutory obligation to investigate corruption allegations, the case that was brought against Oshiomhole had become statute-barred. The court held that the applicant ought to have approached the court for order of mandamus, three months after EFCC refused to act on his petitions.
Justice Chikere maintained that having failed to institute the action within the statutorily-allowed period, the applicant, therefore lacked the locus standi to sustain the suit.
Consequently, the court said there was no need to consider the merit or otherwise of the allegations and affidavit evidence that were tendered against the APC chairman.
It upheld separate preliminary objections that both Oshiomhole and the EFCC lodged against the suit. “In conclusion, this suit lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed,” the court held.
However, the applicant, through his lawyer, Uju Chukwura, vowed to appeal against the ruling, insisting that he had strong evidence to prove that the APC chairman corruptly enriched himself with funds he diverted from the public treasury.
The EFCC and Oshiomhole challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit. The anti-graft agency maintained that it has the discretion to decide how to use its available manpower to carry out investigations into petitions that are submitted to it.
Although EFCC admitted that it was in receipt of petitions accusing Oshiomhole of complicity in acts of corruption, it however, told the court that it was not under any obligation to report or give account of its investigations to any individual or under a timeline within which to carry out its functions.
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Consequently, EFCC urged the high court to dismiss the suit and decline request for an order of mandamus to compel it to initiate criminal proceedings against Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, accused Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of witch-hunting him after he ensured his emergence as national chairman of the APC.
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