Justice J.T. Tsoho of the Fed- eral High Court sitting in Lagos State, yesterday vacated the restraining order issued on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, preventing it from arresting and prosecuting Chairman of Bi- Courtney Highways Services, Mr. Wale Babalakin.
In a ruling delivered yes- terday, Justice Tsoho said that the ex-parte order granted Babalakin was intended as a brief intervention to prevent injury and not meant to last a long time. He explained that the order had outlived its lifespan and was no longer valid.
If the applicants had filed their application early, the respondent would have responded appropriately. But this case will be adjourned without an award of cost. An exparte order is meant to be a brief intervention to prevent injury and not meant to last a long time. Therefore, the order has outlived its life span and is hereby discharged, but the respondent should not take any action that will jeopardise this proceeding”.
Before the ruling was deliv- ered, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, prayed the court to discharge the restrain- ing order, which according to him, had been abused by the applicants’ failure to file their application within the five days interval ordered by the court, but instead served same to the respondent at the court premises, which amounted to almost thirty days which ran contrary to the court order. Jacobs fur- ther urged the court to impose a cost on the applicants for failure to serve the motion on notice at the appropriate time.
“My lord, I will begin with this motion on notice for extension of time to file further affidavit and reply on point of law which the applicant served me here in court. I will ask for today’s cost for the applicants failure to serve the process since May 11, 2015, which is more than a month now, when the court only gave five days. I therefore urge the court to discharge the order made 28th April, 2015, restraining the respondents (AGF and EFCC) from arraigning the applicant before any court.
“ My lord, it has taken them more than a month to serve, while the order ex-parte is still there. My lord we are therefore prejudiced by that order, and technically, the order that your Lordship made has elapsed.