Abuja — The suit filed by Bishop Osadolor Ochei seeking to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, over alleged corruption suffered a setback yesterday as the Federal High Court, Abuja, struck it out.
Ochei, in the suit filed against the EFCC and Oshiomhole, prayed the court to order the anti-graft agency to investigate different petitions that contained allegations of financial recklessness against Oshiomhole.
But Justice Anwuli Chikere, in a ruling on the preliminary objection filed by Oshiomhole, held that the suit was statute barred and subsequently struck it out.
According to the judge, the plaintiff ought to have filed the suit three months from the cause of action.
Upon striking out the suit, the judge held that it would be needless for the court to go into other issues in the suit since it was statute-barred.
Justice Chikere, however, agreed with the plaintiff that by the Act establishing EFCC, the commission is under obligation to investigate and prosecute allegations of financial and economic crime.
Oshiomhole had in his preliminary objection, through his lawyer, Terhemba Gbashima, urged the court to dismiss the suit on the ground that the plaintiff lacked the legal right to institute the action in the first place.
Gbashima, urging the court to dismiss Bishop Ochei’s suit against Oshiomhole and the EFCC, submitted that the suit was not competent by law as it was filed18 months after the cause of action.
He also submitted that Ochei failed to show how the alleged cause of action has affected him more than other indigenes of Edo State and asked the court to dismiss the suit for being incompetent.
In her response, counsel to the plaintiff, Uju Chukwurah, asked the court to discountenance the preliminary objection filed by Oshiomhole.
Chukwurah stated that there was a continuous damage, since the subject matter of the plaintiff’s petition had not been addressed. She added that until the petition was dealt with, the plaintiff’s matter could not be said to be statute-barred.
Chukwurah argued that the plaintiff, being an indigene of Edo State, has the legal right to file the suit.
The anti-graft agency, in its preliminary objections, challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Abuja to compel it to arrest and prosecute Oshiomhole over allegation that he diverted public funds to his personal use while in office as governor.
EFCC admitted that it has received petitions accusing Oshiomhole of complicity in acts of corruption but it was not under any obligation to report or give account of its investigations to any individual or under a timeline within which to carry out its functions.
It therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit.