• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Yahaya Bello: Hearing in EFCC chair’s motion against contempt proceedings stalled

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Hearing of a motion for stay of proceedings filed by Ola Olukayode, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to delay contempt charges brought by Yahaya Bello, the former Kogi governor, stalled at the Court of Appeal on Monday.
The motion could not hold due to a workshop held at the court premises on Monday.

The workshop, focusing on the review of the 2023 Election Petition Tribunals/Court and Appeals, started on Monday and will last two days.

Previously, on May 3, the appellate court had approved a motion from the EFCC to stay the contempt proceedings initiated by a Kogi State High Court against its chairman.

Olukayode, summoned by the state court for May 13 to explain why he should not face imprisonment for defying court orders, appealed the lower court’s decision and requested a halt to its proceedings.

The EFCC chairman faces contempt charges for actions taken despite a restraining order from the lower court on February 9, awaiting the outcome of the main motion.

Justice I. A. Jamil ruled on the case, numbered HCL/68M/2024 and the motion HCL/190M/2024, declaring that the EFCC violated a valid court order with its actions.

The judge determined that the EFCC’s actions constituted contempt, noting the agency’s attempt to arrest the former governor at his residence on April 17, despite a court order preventing such action until the main motion was resolved.

Jamil’s decision followed a motion filed by Bello through his attorney, M.S. Yusuf, requesting the court to serve the EFCC chairman with a Form 49 Notice to explain why he should not be committed.

However, when the appeal court, led by Justice Joseph Oyewole, convened on May 3, it allowed the EFCC to serve the appeal documents to the former governor by alternative means.

The court then set May 20 for the next hearing of the motion.

On Monday, lawyers and parties who arrived at the court were informed by the registrar that the court would not convene due to the workshop, and that new dates for the cases would be communicated later.

“We are holding a workshop, where our judges are in attendance. Therefore, there’s no sitting today.
“The next adjourned date will be communicated to counsel to the parties for all cases scheduled for today.
“We are sorry for the inconveniences this might have caused, ” the registrar said