The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday stopped the moves by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission to seize properties belonging to the immediate-past governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a ruling on the former governor’s ex parte application ordered parties to the case to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the main suit.
The defendants in the suit are the ICPC and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The applicant through his lawyer, Mamhud Magaji (SAN), had moved the ex parte application on Friday alleging that the ICPC had sealed off one of his houses and inscribed on it “under investigation” without the backing of any court order.
Ruling on Monday, Justice Taiwo restrained the two respondents from interfering with Yari’s rights under sections 34, 35, 37, 41 and 43 of the Constitution.
Earlier on Friday, Justice Taiwo granted an ex parte application by the ICPC, for the interim forfeiture of six bank accounts belonging to Yari and two other firms linked to him.
The two companies are Kayatawa Nigeria Limited and B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
The judge held on Monday that the Friday’s order of interim forfeiture of the bank accounts was not affected by the Monday’s ruling.
Yari, in Monday’s suit, seeks among others, an order “restraining the respondents from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the assets and properties of the applicant wherever they may be located within Nigeria or anywhere else in the world pending the hearing and determination of the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
He alleged that the ICPC’s move against him was a witch-hunt, adding that he had been a target “of intimidation, arrest, and detention based on spurious allegations by some powerful elements of the All Progressives Congress against him to the agents of the 1st defendant (AGF) and the 2nd defendant ICPC).”
According to him, the individuals thus “decided to carry out a vendetta and revenge against the applicant including instigating the respondents against the applicant upon their spurious conclusion without evidence” that he was guilty of “corrupt practices as a former governor of Zamfara State and was in breach of the Code of Conduct Act.”
“This witch-hunt, is clearly politically motivated, baseless, and has been designed only to discredit and humiliate the applicant in a bid to decimate him politically and this court is statutorily empowered to protect any violation against the applicant’s fundamental rights,” he added.