Court freezes Ozekhome’s account over alleged money laundering
Its an invidious lie from the pit of hell, says lawyer
A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, yesterday ordered that the sum of N75 million in the bank account of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome be frozen.
Justice Abdulaziz Anka made the order, while delivering a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency had alleged that the money deposited in Ozekhome’s Guaranty Trust Bank account on December 15, 2016 was suspected to be proceeds from crime.
Moving the application, counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Idris Mohammed, informed the court that the application was brought to court pursuant to Section 29 of the EFCC Act.
Attached to the ex-parte application, were three exhibits marked 01, 02 and 03, as well as an affidavit of urgency sworn to by an investigator with the EFCC, Tosin Owobo.
Consequently, Justice Anka granted the order in a short ruling and said any party who was not satisfied with his order, had a right of appeal. Meanwhile, Ozekhome yesterday reacted to the freeze, describing the allegation as “an invidious lie from the pit of hell.”
According to him: “It is with rude shock and personal sense of consternation that my attention had been drawn to online publications with numerous calls from Nigerians, that my account containing N75 million domiciled with GTBank has been temporarily frozen. It was allegedly based on an ex-parte order obtained by the EFCC from Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“For the records, the N75 million was paid into my account by my client, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, as part payment of professional fees for the numerous cases that my chambers is currently handling for him (in his personal capacity) and his aides across Nigeria. The money is neither “suspected proceeds of crime” nor of money laundering.
Ozekhome explained that the lawyer who obtained the ex-parte order, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, represented the EFCC when he defeated it in the judgment to defreeze Fayose’s accounts with Zenith Bank, which was delivered by Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, at the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti.
The lawyer, who said he had never been involved in money laundering, said he had since utilised the money to pay the school fees of his children and Mike Ozekhome Foundation activities.
He promised to take “immediate legal steps to defreeze the account, in the event that the EFCC does not immediately voluntarily vacate the said order.”