By Josephine Oguntoyinbo
An Akure High Court has struck out the case charged against the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun and two others for alleged fraud of 2.4 million naira.
This is contrary to a report that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)was granted the order to prosecute the Speaker and others for alleged fraud committed in 2019.
According to the Judge, Justice Adegboyega Adebusuyi ,the EFCC has failed to comply with the Practice Direction of the State Judiciary which made it compulsory for the Federal Government Agencies to get the consent of the Judiciary before they can prosecute in the State courts.
However,a fresh charge that was filed by the EFCC against the Speaker and the two others was stalled because the preliminary objection filed by the defense counsel had been reacted to by the EFCC counsel.Thus,the matter was adjourned to November 15,2022 to enable counsels argue the preliminary objection.
In an interview with the defend Counsel , Emmanuel Emadamori,he informed that the EFCC has filled the charge against his clients as far back as 2021 without following due process of law, which made them to filled a preliminary objection.
According to him,in Ondo State, before EFCC or ICPC can file a charge,it must first seek the view of the High Court and take permittion to file an application, exhibit the proposed charge ,seek the view to go ahead and if the Court think it is okay, it will give permittion, but they didn’t do that hence it is incompetent because they didn’t fulfill the condition precedent and the charge has been withdrawn by the EFCC and the Court equally struck it out.
Emadamori noted that the EFCC before withdrawing it however filled another charge, trying to cure the defect associated with the old charge, saying that the new charge also has serious defect in law and then the defend Counsel has filled a preliminary objection on the ground that there is now a new law in Ondo State called the Ondo State Public Complains, Financial Crimes and Anti Corruption law 2022 ,duly assented to.
He explained that the law followed similar pattern made by many other States in Nigeria including Lagos,Ogun,Oyo,Kano and others to the effect that when alleged corruption has to do with the finances or assets of the Ondo State government as it is in other States,the prosecution should be done by a Commission similar to the EFCC set up by the State , created under the law.
“On the issue of crime,the Federal government did not have exclusive right to make legislation , that is why we have the criminal law of Ondo State , each state has its own criminal law and peculiar law in place.
“If the case is transfer to the State Agency,so be it ,but the case must have come to the Court following due process of law , but what we are saying is that the EFCC or ICPC has no right to prosecute the fresh case and has no business in it as long as it is relating to the finances and asset of the State”,he declared.