bank accounts

.Fined N10m alongside three others for rights violation

A Federal High Court, Abuja has granted an interim order sought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to freeze at least 1,146 bank accounts belonging to individuals and companies over allegations bordering on unauthorised dealing in foreign exchange, among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other offences being investigated by the anti-graft agency revolve around money laundering and terrorism financing. Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on the ex-parte motion, moved by counsel to the applicant, Ekele Iheanacho, also granted the commission’s application to conclude the investigation within 90 days. The judge said: “It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That the applicant’s application is hereby granted as prayed.
“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made freezing the bank accounts stated in the schedule below, which accounts are owned by various individuals who are currently being investigated in a case involving the offences of unauthorised dealing in foreign exchange, money laundering, and terrorism financing, to the extent that the investigation will be for 90 days.” Justice Nwite consequently adjourned the matter until July 23 for mention.

The EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked:FHC/ABJ/CS/543/2024 was filed on April 24 and heard by the judge same day in the interest of national interest.

The motion was brought under Section 44(2) and (K) of the 1999 Constitution; Section 34 of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004; Section 7(8) of the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022; and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

Also yesterday, a Federal Capital Territory High Court slammed a N10 million fine on the anti-corruption body and three others for fundamental rights violation.

Other respondents in the suit are former EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, an officer with the agency, Calistus, and Fidelity Bank Plc.

Justice Peter Kekemeke pronounced the cost on the respondents when he delivered judgment in a suit filed by Mr. Michael Kundera for enforcement of his fundamental rights.

The presiding judge held that the respondents violated the applicant’s fundamental rights by arresting and detaining him from May 15 to May 16, 2023, without charging him to court or releasing him on bail.

He added that a 75-year-old man should not be subjected to such treatment.

“I hereby declare that the arrest and detention of the applicant from May 15 to May 16, 2023, was unlawful and violated the applicant’s fundamental rights.

“The harassment of the applicant in a matter already decided by the court is a violation of his right, and the 1st to 3rd respondents exceeded their bounds.

“The case of the applicant succeeds, and the respondents are ordered to pay the sum of N10 million severally or jointly to the applicant for violation of his fundamental rights,” he held.

The judge also ordered the respondents to pay the sum of N2 million as a cost for the action.

Kundera, through his counsel, Dr O. Orji, in suit no: CV/6258/23, told the court that he was invited, detained and refused administrative bail in a matter decided already by an FCT High Court.

He said the subject matter was a plot of land at the Foreign Affairs Quarters, Gwarinpa, which lawfully belonged to him.

According to the applicant’s counsel, the matter is also pending at the Court of Appeal in a suit marked CA/ABJ/CV/533/2021.





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