All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole is seeking dismissal of a suit seeking his probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged corruption. A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had ordered investigation of his spendings as Governor of Edo state.
Justice Anwuli Chikere had directed that Oshiomole be served with an application brought before the court by an anti-corruption crusader, Bishop Osadolor Ochei seeking an order of mandamus compelling the EFCC to arrest and commence criminal proceedings against the APC chairman.. The Judge, who also ordered that the anti-graft agency be also served with the court process, stressed that the service be done within five days from October 9 when the order was made.
Bishop Ochei’s counsel, Dr West-Idahosa while arguing a motion ex-parte filed in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/628/ 2018 urged the Court to allow Oshiomhole and the EFCC, who are the respondents in the suit to file a reply to the weighty allegations made against them by the Applicant in support of the Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight.
The exparte motion followed Bishop Ochei’s petition to the EFCC on October 28, 2016, 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.
The counsel added that there are vouchers of exorbitant airfares that the former governor incurred, stressing that the amount of the airfares are enough to buy air carrier for Edo state people. He said there are receipts of how the ex-governor used huge amount of money of the state to repair his private vehicles and urged the court to grant the relief of his client, saying that EFCC has arrested and prosecuted lesser crimes and there is no reason why the anti-graft agency should ignore the petition.
But Oshiomhole on Tuesday questioned the plaintiff’s right under the law, to seek to compel the EFCC to probe his tenure as Edo State Governor. Oshiomhole, in a notice of preliminary objection filed by his lawyer, Damien Dodo (SAN), argued that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to bring the suit. In the objection, supported by 10 grounds, Oshiomhole argued that the suit has become a mere academic exercise since the plaintiff failed to file the suit for judicial review within three months of the occurrence of the subject of the case.
He argued that the action or inaction of the EFCC being subjected to review by the proceedings occurred on December 13, 2016, while the plaintiff only institute the action for judicial review on June 13, 2018. The APC National Chairman noted that this came about 18 months after the occurrence of the alleged failure being complained about. He argued that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit for failure of the plaintiff to begin the action within the time provided by extant rules of the court and for failure to disclose locus standi to file the action.