Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Maitama, Abuja has reversed an order he gave directing the Senior Registrar of the Court, to release the international passport of Edidiong Idiong to him, “to enable him undertake his proposed overseas trips”.
Idiong is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for an alleged N2 billion fraud involving the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, under Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), then National Security Adviser.
He was to be arraigned on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering offence. He allegedly received the said sum from the ONSA using his companies – Moortown Global Investment Limited and African Cable Television Limited.
While the matter was under investigation, however, Justice M.A. Nasir granted Idiong bail with the condition that his international passport be deposited with the Court. But, after the charges were filed by the EFCC, and vacation of judicial workers began, Idiong, on July 12, 2016 through his counsel, filed the motion seeking for the release of his passport.
On July 19, 2016 Justice Adeniyi, a vacation judge, in the absence of the prosecution, heard Idiong’s application and granted it.
The EFCC, subsequently petitioned the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court. The anti-graft agency argued that “the said application was yet to be heard, when the Commission received an order ex parte purportedly issued in chambers by Honourable Justice Adeniyi on oral application of the suspect’s counsel” directing that Idiong’s passport be released to him “forthwith to enable him undertake overseas trips”.
Following the petition, on July 26, 2016 Justice Adeniyi reversed his earlier order for the release of Idiong’s passport.
The trial judge averred that: “It is trite that a Court has inherent powers to vacate or set aside its own orders or judgement in legally accepted circumstances, part of which where the order on its face is a nullity.”
According to the trial judge, “the entire proceedings of the said July 19, 2016 with respect to the said application, together with the ruling delivered by this Court on the same date are hereby set aside”.