The Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies involved in the investigation of Senate President Bukola Saraki over corruption allegations.
The Senate President on Friday filed two separate fundamental rights enforcement suits before the court to challenge the decision of the EFCC to seize his houses.
Ruling on an ex parte application filed along with the substantive suit by Saraki, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on Tuesday ordered the EFCC and the other five respondents to the suit to stay action on the probe pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicant.
The judge made the order after hearing Saraki’s lawyer Sunday Onubi, who moved the application.
The six respondents to the suit affected by the restraining order are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Department of State Services, Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Tribunal.
In a ruling delivered by the judge on returning to the courtroom after taking about 45 minutes to prepare it in his chambers, the court likened the restraining order issued on Tuesday to an order directing the parties to the suit to maintain the status quo in respect of the probe.
Ordering them to suspend the probe, Justice Taiwo said he granted Saraki’s prayers to avert a situation where the court would be faced with a situation of fait accompli.
He added that granting the order was in line with a settled principled of law that once a suit was filed, all parties to it must refrain from taking any action capable of rendering the suit nugatory.
He added that the law allows such an application to be granted in a situation where the applicant would likely face “hardship” between the time of serving processes in the suit on the respondents and hearing and determination of the suit.
Justice Taiwo then directed the applicant to serve the court processes on the six respondents who he also directed to file their response within five days of being served.
He adjourned further hearing till May 23, 2019, when the respondents will have an opportunity to challenge the ex parte order by arguing their objection to Saraki’s motion on notice.