Oyo-Ita: Court Defers Ruling on Defendants’ Frozen Accounts till January 2021
By JUMOKE SANNI
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday December 3, 2020, for the second time, adjourned ruling on the propriety or otherwise of the order for the freezing accounts, belonging to the fourth, fifth and sixth defendants in the trial of former Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Winifred Oyo-Ita.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), had secured the freeze order on the defendants’ accounts from another Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Mojisola Giwa-Ogubanjo, which became contentious issue following objections to it by the defence team, which felt it constituted abuse of court process.
Justice Taiwo, who was piqued by the prosecution’s action had on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, slated today, December 3, 2020, for ruling on the matter after prosecution counsel, M.S. Abukakar made an extensive justification for the action.
At today’s sitting, the judge in deferring ruling on the matter till January 13, 2021, stated that he needed more time to study the issues that drove the prosecution to Justice Giwa-Ogubanjo’s court for the freeze order as well as the application filed by the prosecution for the order.
Justice Taiwo further stated that he must rely on concrete facts and evidence before his court rather than the submissions of prosecution and defence counsels on the matter.
“I must study the processes filed by the prosecuting counsel in this case, leading to the freezing order by my lord, F.O. Giwa-Ogunbanjo, including the proceedings orders, which are not before me. I think I must apply the brake here, because I cannot without seeing these processes take a stand and in view of the submission of counsels. The duty of the court is to do justice according to the law and not sentiments”, he said.
Oyo-Ita is facing an 18-count charge of official corruption and money laundering to the tune of N570 million, which involves obtaining estacodes and duty travel allowances, (DTA), for journeys either not undertaken or non-existent.
Facing the same fate with her are: Frontline Ace Global Services Limited; Asanaya Projects Limited; Garba Umar and his companies: Slopes International Limited and Gooddeal Investments Limited.
Others are: Ubong Okon Effiok and his companies, U&U Global Services Limited and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.