Monday, 19 April, 2021

EFCC gets court’s nod to freeze Bauchi govt account

A Federal High Court Abuja has granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) its prayer to freeze the operational account of the Bauchi State government. The EFCC, through its Counsel, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, in an Exparte Order with file number: FHC/ABJ/CS/858/2019, sought the order of the court to freeze the account pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by the commission. ADVERTISEMENT The state government presently has about N11 billion (N11,500,000 000 00) in the bank account. ADVERTISEMENT Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered the EFCC to, within 21 days, notify the respondents; the Bauchi State government and the FCMB about the court’s decision. The judge, however, adjourned further hearing until Sept. 3. Earlier, counsel to the EFCC told the judge that the commission was investigating a money laundering case in which the account featured prominently. He said many non-existent companies were used to transfer funds from the account. “My Lord, about N19.8 billion cheques were raised on the eve of transferring power to the new government for purportedly non-existent contracts and other grants,” he said. He told Justice Taiwo that the amount was beyond the N11 billion in the account. According to him, the Accountant General is still a signatory to the account and they are still trying to access the money. When the judge asked if freezing the account would not affect the operation of the state government, Aliyu said the action would not affect the government’s operation because the account was not the one linked to Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). “They have other accounts and we have tagged this as exhibit 22 and 23,” he said. Responding to the judge’s question on how long the investigation would take, the counsel said: “My Lord, investigation is like a pregnant activity. If My Lord will give us 21 days, we will be grateful.” “I have patiently listened to the counsel’s prayer. I therefore grant the order sought by the applicant as prayed,” Justice Taiwo held. “This honourable court has the jurisdiction to grant this order and it is in the best interest at justice to grant this application.”

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