Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday ordered that the former governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole be served with an application brought before the court by an anti-corruption crusader, Bishop Osadolor Ochei seeking an order of mandamus compelling the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and commence criminal proceedings against Oshiomhole over allegations of financial fraud.
The Judge, who also ordered that the anti-graft agency be also served with the court process, stressed that the service be done within five days from October 9, 2018, when the order was made.
Bishop Ochei’s counsel, Dr West-Idahosa while arguing a motion ex-parte filed in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/628/ 2018 urged the Court to allow Oshiomhole and the EFCC, who are the respondents in the suit to file a reply to the weighty allegations made against them by the Applicant in support of the Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight.
The exparte motion followed Bishop Ochei’s petition to the EFCC on October 28, 2016, against Oshiomhole, who was governor of Edo state from November 2008 to November 11, 2016.
Dr Idahosa, in praying the court to grant the request of his client, referred the court to 86 exhibits filed in support of the application and added that there are documents and electronic pictures of palatial houses of the former governor, whose earnings all his life cannot acquire and that, there are evidence on how Oshiomhole allegedly diverted money for Edo state project to personal projects.
The Counsel added that there are vouchers of exorbitant airfares that the former governor incurred, stressing that the amount of the airfares are enough to buy air carrier for Edo state people.
He said there are receipts of how the ex-governor used huge amount of money of the state to repair his private vehicles and urged the court to grant the relief of his client, saying that EFCC has arrested and prosecuted lesser crimes and there is no reason why the anti-graft agency should ignore the petition.
Justice Chikere adjourned till 23rd October 2018 for arguments from all the parties in the matter.
Bishop Ochei, in the motion, wants the court to declare that the anti-graft agency has the statutory duty to investigate and prosecute the former governor, upon his allegations against him in line with the Act, establishing the commission.
The allegations bother on the diversion of Edo state fund by the former governor, now the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to his personal use.
In an affidavit deposed to personally by the applicant, he averred that, in view of the fact that corruption has become a societal ill which has eaten deep into the fabric of the society and there is the need for the EFCC to take complaints against corrupt practices serious.
He said he has severally complained to the EFCC about allegation of corrupt practices against Oshiomhole without eliciting any response or interest by the commission.
According to him, “On May 4, 2012, one Matthew Edaghese sent a petition to the EFCC, complaining that while serving as governor, Oshiomhole built mansions on a huge expanse of land worth more than N10 billion, in excess of the former governor’s legitimate means of income as governor.
”That EFCC did nothing about the petition”, Bishop Ochei stated and added that he had, in 2016 petitioned against Oshiomhole’s corrupt practices without any action by the EFCC.
He accused the former governor of corruptly enriching himself with the fund of the Edo state government.