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Bello: Workshop stalls hearing of EFCC’s motion against contempt proceedings

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Hearing of an ex parte motion for stay of proceedings filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Ola Olukoyode, against the contempt charge instituted by the former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, stalled, yesterday at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

The case could not proceed due to a two-day workshop organised by the appellate court on the Review of the 2023 Election Petition Tribunals/Courts and Appeal.

The appellate court had, on May 3, granted an ex parte motion for a stay of contempt proceedings filed by the EFCC and issued against its chairman by a Kogi High Court.

Olukoyode, who was summoned to appear before the state’s court on May 13 to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for disobeying its orders, had appealed the ruling of the trial court and sought a stay of proceedings of the court.

The EFCC chair is facing a contempt charge for carrying out “some acts upon which they (the EFCC) have been restrained” by the lower court on February 9, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion.

Justice I. A. Jamil, in a ruling on Suit No: HCL/68M/2024 and Motion No: HCL/190M/2024, ordered that “the said act was carried out by the respondent (EFCC) in violation of the order, which is valid and subsisting when they carried out the act.”

The judge held that the EFCC’s act amounted to contempt, having laid siege to the residence of the former governor, as early as 8.00 am on April 17, in a bid to arrest him, despite a court order restraining them from taking such action, pending the determination of the originating motion.

Jamil’s order was based on a motion ex parte filed by Bello, through his lawyer, where he prayed the court for an order to serve the EFCC chairman with Form 49 Notice to show cause why an order of committal should not be made on him.

However, at the court, yesterday, lawyers and litigants were told by the registrar that there would be no sitting.

The registrar said the court was holding a workshop that had the judges in attendance. He added that the next adjourned date would be communicated to counsel to the parties.

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