Appeal Court validates EFCC’s freezing order on state governments’ accounts Get Whole Detail

Appeal Court validates EFCC’s freezing order on state governments’ accounts
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The Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division, has validated the facility of the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) to direct banks, with out the backing of a courtroom order, to freeze the accounts of state governments for the aim of investigations.

The choice of the courtroom delivered on Thursday overturned the sooner judgement of the Federal Excessive Court in Makurdi which had barred the anti-graft company from inserting a Publish-No-Debit (PND) order on the Benue State authorities’s accounts.

“In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice M.S. Hassan on Thursday, September 22, 2022, the appellate courtroom held that, the EFCC has powers to position any account, (state governments’ accounts inclusive) on PND for 72hours, for the aim of investigations, and not using a courtroom order.

“The courtroom additionally put aside the N50 million damages awarded in opposition to the EFCC by the decrease courtroom,” the assertion learn partly.

A PND is often issued by the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) and anti-graft companies by way of letters to banks to dam sure prospects from finishing up debit transactions on their financial institution accounts being investigated.

The PND order lasts for 72 hours, and the requesting physique is predicted to acquire a courtroom order for the restrictions on the accounts to proceed.

Background

The Benue State Authorities had stated in August 2018 that its financial institution accounts with funds meant to pay the salaries of staff and pensioners had been frozen on the behest of EFCC.

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“Accounts of the Benue State Authorities have been frozen by EFCC,” Terver Akase, a spokesperson for Governor Samuel Ortom, stated in an announcement.

“It’s a part of the political witch-hunt in opposition to Governor Samuel Ortom. The motion of EFCC is already having destructive influence on the operating of presidency in Benue State. It’s a transfer that can have an effect on salaries, pensions and different sundry funds,” Mr Akase stated.

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His affirmation got here a day after it was reported that not less than three financial institution accounts which the state held with GTBank, First Financial institution and Constancy Financial institution had been blocked by the anti-graft workplace as a part of a corruption probe.

Media reviews had instructed that the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, was being investigated for misappropriation of safety funds.

The governor denied the allegations, saying the probe was a part of a witch-hunt triggered by his then latest defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Social gathering (PDP).

The state authorities had then approached the Federal Excessive Court in Makurdi to position a PND on its accounts and not using a courtroom order.

Within the judgement delivered on 2 February 2019, the choose, Mobolaji Olajuwon, barred the EFCC from inserting a PND on the account of Benue State authorities.

Dissatisfied with the judgement, the EFCC filed an enchantment in opposition to it on the Court of Appeal in Makurdi, with its lawyer, Steve Odiase, arguing that it’s inside its powers to freeze the account of Benue State authorities.

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The courtroom, in its judgement, in line with EFCC, held that that banks are legally sure to obey the PND orders from the EFCC.


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