The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday abstained from a Federal High Court in Abuja where it was expected to show up to respond to an application by Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, who is challenging the seizure of his landed assets by the commission.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba expressed reservation over the absence of any lawyer representing the anti-graft agency and the failure of the commission to file any response to Fayose’s application despite being aware that Thursday had been scheduled for the hearing.
The judge had on July 20, 2016, granted an ex-parte order in favour of the EFCC for the interim forfeiture of some landed assets in Lagos and Abuja linked to Fayose.
The assets included four units of 4 bedroom at Charlets 3, 4, 6 and 9 Plot 100 Tiamiyi Salvage, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Other affected properties were also located at 44, Osun Crescent, Maitama, Abuja and Plot 1504 Yedseram Street, Maitama, Abuja.
Fayose is by his application seeking an order lifting the interim forfeiture placed on the landed assets.
The governor had earlier, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), applied for the setting aside of the temporary forfeiture order set aside.
But Justice Dimgba ruled on August 2 that the forfeiture was to last for 45 days for the purpose of the investigation which the anti-graft agency said it was conducting with respect to the assets.
The judge had ruled that should there be need for extension, the EFCC should apply within five days before the expiration of the 45 days.
In a fresh application filed on October 6, 2016, Fayose prayed the court to direct EFCC to release the property in view of the expiration of the period stated in the court’s orders made on July 20 and August 2.
He hinged the application on among other grounds, that the period had expired and that the EFCC had not applied to the court for an extension.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, Ozekhome told the judge that the EFCC had been afforded sufficient opportunity to respond to the application but had failed to do so.
He inisted on arguing the application on the grounds that it was ripe for hearing.