A High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Thursday declined an ex parte order sought by the state government to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating the finances of the state.
The presiding judge, Justice Cornelius Akintayo ordered the applicant to put the defendants in the case on notice to prepare for defence.
He consequently adjourned the suit till August 23 when parties are expected to appear and argue the motion on notice.
The motion was filed by the AAttorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi, to stop the anti-graft agency from investigating the accounts of the state government.
Another relief sought by the plaintiffs was an order stopping the arrest of the Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and the managers of the affected banks.
Defendants in the suit including the Speaker of the House of Assembly, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services (DSS), Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and five banks doing business with state government and the managers of those banks.
The plaintiffs were represented by Barrister Ejelonu, a lawyer in the chambers of the Attorney General and held brief for Ahmed Raji (SAN) who argued the motion ex parte.
A senior lawyer, Kolade Ilesanmi, who came for another matter in the same court commended Justice Akintayo for rejecting the motion to prevent the anti-grant agencies from investigating Ekiti government accounts.
Ilesanmi said: “Myself and another counsel, Abubakar Ajibade, who came for different matters stood up as friends of the Court and commended the judge for the ruling.
“We also adverted the minds of the Court to similar case before the Akwa Ibom High Court in which the judge granted a motion Exparte which has now landed him trouble with the National Judicial Council (NJC).
”From the legal point of view, any matter involving federal institutions is usually heard by the Federal High Court save for the matters that border on Fundamental Rights enforcement in which both the Federal High Courts and State High Courts are seized with jurisdiction.”