An Abuja High Court has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against tampering with property belonging to former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva. Justice M.M. Kolo of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory gave the order on 27 December 2012 in Motion No FCT/HC/CV/1360/12.
Sylva had on 24 December 2012 filed a suit at the court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights. Joined in the suit as respondents were Attorney General of the Federation, Chairman of the EFCC, and the EFCC.
Specifically, the former governor approached the court for “an interim order of court for the service of the originating process on the respondent to serve as a stay of all actions in respect of the properties – plot no 262, Cadastral Zone A02, Wuse 1, District, Abuja, plot 3192, located within Cadastral zone A06 Maitama District, Abuja, plot 232, Cadastral Zone A07,(No. 8 Mistrata Street; Wuse II, Abuja) – by the respondents, their agents, privies, representative or any other person deriving his/her authority from them; either by sealing off, confiscating, ejecting any person from the properties, trespassing into the properties or doing any other thing however so described relating to the said properties pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
The application was granted as requested.
In an affidavit in support of his application, Sylva affirmed that the said all the property were acquired before his election as Governor of Bayelsa State. He described as “unconstitutional, oppressive, null and void” EFCC’s attempt to seal or seize property duly declared in his Assets Declaration Form at the assumption of office in 2007.
Media Adviser to Sylva, Doifie Ola, said few people in the present political dispensation have seen more persecution by state institutions than Chief Timipre Sylva. “Since leaving office in January 2012, and denied a right to re-election by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mandarins, Sylva has faced persistent state persecution. Even his family, friends and associates have not been spared from molestation and intimidation by the EFCC”, Ola stated on Sunday.
“In the name of a corruption prosecution, EFCC is being used to pursue Sylva’s happiness, to try to incapacitate him and render him incapable of pursuing a decent living. Just on the eve of Christmas, when the world readied to mark the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to save humanity from wickedness and hypocrisy, EFCC agents perfected a shady plot to seize Sylva’s properties, including his current Abuja residence. The same EFCC had on 10 December 2012 invaded a property where his wife uses as an office, and arrested the manager. And before then, the EFCC had arrested and detained Sylva’s brother-in-law, Mr. Tommy Richie Imoh”.
Ola advised EFCC operatives to “act within the law and not reduce the all-important institution of state to a mere tool for vindictive and political pursuits.”