By OLA AGBAJE
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Ayodele Fayose, has appealed the ruling of Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to uphold the amendment of the charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Tijani Abubakar on November 17, 2009 had accepted the amendment of the charge of money laundering brought against him by the EFCC despite a vehement opposition from his counsel.
At the resumed trial of the matter on Monday, the defence counsel, Mr. Ahmed Tafa, urged the court to stay further proceedings pending the determination of his appeal at the appellate court.
Arguing his application for stay, defence counsel submitted that, Fayose is dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower court on November 17, which overruled his opposition to the amendment of corruption charges against him by the EFCC and has filed a notice of appeal on the issue.
He argued that if proceedings at the lower court were allowed to continue, the appeal will be rendered an academic exercise.
“It is a settled law that the lower court will stay proceedings where there are substantive issues of law to be determined at the appeal, moreso when the determination of law will affect the entire proceedings,” he submitted.
Tafa noted further that the right of the applicant represents the special circumstance upon which the court should grant the application for a stay of proceedings, saying the prosecution will not be prejudiced by the granting of the application.
He disclosed further that the notice of appeal discloses arguable grounds of appeal which presupposes that the appeal will succeed. While opposing the application, EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs noted that the first accused applicant is just one of the four accused persons that was affected by the ruling.
Jacobs stated further that even if the interlocutory appeal is heard and allowed by the court of appeal, it does not terminate the life of the case.
He urged the court to dismiss the application.
Speaking on the issue, counsel to Spotless Investment Limited(2nd accused), Feyerio Nigeria Limited(3rd accused) and Hoff Concepts Limited(4th accused), Abayomi Sadiku said his clients are not yet a party in the matter. Justice Tijani Abubakar has adjourned ruling on the application till Jannuary 18, 2010.