Appeal Court dismisses Yahaya Bello’s contempt lawsuit against EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Olanipekun Olukoyede was the target of a contempt action brought by Kogi State’s immediately former governor, Yahaya Bello, which the Abuja Court of Appeal dismissed.

Bello had foreseen the contempt action before the Kogi State High Court in Lokoja on interim orders previously issued by the court. The High Court then ordered Olukoyede to provide justification for not being jailed for contempt, a ruling the EFCC head appealed.

Among other things, the three-member Court of Appeal bench ruled on Thursday, June 13, that the contempt action was founded on dead interim orders from the Lokoja-based Kogi State High Court.

The Court of Appeal ruled that since the High Court had rendered its decision on Bello’s substantive fundamental human rights enforcement lawsuit, the interim orders upon which the contempt action was founded had expired as of the time Bello filed the case.

It was noted that the interim orders were void as of the start of the contempt case because they were issued pending the outcome of the substantive suit and the substantive suit was decided without the interim orders’ lifetime being extended in the final judgement.

Justice Joseph Oyewole said in the lead decision that the trial judge did not extend the interim orders from September 2, 2024, in its final ruling from April 17, 2024.

Costs of N1 million were imposed on the respondent (Bello) by the court.

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