5 January 2013

Nigeria: Sylva's Property - Judge Returns Case File to CJ

Photo: Vanguard
One of the seized property.

Justice M. Kolo of an Abuja High Court yesterday held that he would remit the case file of a suit by a former Bayelsa State Governor Timpreye Slyva seeking to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC)from taking possession of his properties to the Chief Judge of the court as yesterday was his last sitting day as a vacation judge.

The juge also refused to quit the order it made on December 27, 2012 to stop the EFCC from confiscating Sylva's property pending the determination of Sylva's substantive suit.

Justice Kolo averred that he made the order without the prior knowledge of the order of Justice A.R.Muhammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which allows the EFCC to take possession of Sylva's 48 properties.

Sylva's lawyer, Benson Ibezim, had earlier told the court that both the EFCC and the Attorney-General of the Federation just served him their processes in court and that he would need time to respond to them.

Lawyer to the AGF, B.A. Saheed, told the court that he had filed a preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.

But the EFCC's lawyer, Mr. O. Otemu, submitted that pending the response of the applicant, the court should allow for an oral argument on the jurisdiction of the court. He further submitted that it would save the judiciary of mockery from two conflicting orders.

Otemu also told the court that Justice A.R. Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja on December 21 granted the commission an interim forfeiture order and that order is yet to be vacated.

He argued that it was an abuse of court process for the applicant to approach the high court during the pendency of a Federal High Court order.

But the lawyer to Sylva told the Court that the Federal High Court order was not served on them, hence the need to approach the court for a restraining order.

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