Benue Drags EFCC, Banks to Court, Demands N30 billion for Freezing Accounts

Benue Drags EFCC, Banks to Court, Demands N30 billion for Freezing Accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is in trouble for freezing the accounts of the Benue State Government.

If found guilty, the commission and two commercial banks, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Fidelity Bank, may be forced to pay N30 billion as damages to the state.

Already, a Federal High Court, Makurdi division has summoned the anti-graft agency and the two banks to appear before it on October 8.

The court is asking the parties to come and explain why the accounts of the state were frozen.

The order is contained in a writ of summons issued to the EFCC and the two banks, following a suit filed by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr. Michael Gusa.

In the suit filed by Mr. Gusa, the government is praying the court to declare that the EFCC acted against the law by ordering the two financial institutions to suspend the state’s accounts.

The government is also seeking a declaration to the effect that by freezing the state’s accounts, the EFCC denied the government the right to operate and carry out transactions in the affected accounts.

Other reliefs sought by the government include a declaration that the state government accounts maintained in the affected banks do not fall within the class of bank accounts liable to be frozen by the EFCC.

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Apart from demanding N30 billion damages, Benue State is also seeking a perpetual injunction, restraining the anti-graft agency and its agents from freezing any of its accounts in the banks.

The NEXT EDITION had reported how the EFCC ordered the accounts of Benue State to be frozen on August 7, shortly after the Governor, Samuel Ortom, defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The accounts of Akwa Ibom State Government were also suspended for days by the anti-graft body.

The action sparked an outrage across the country as Nigerians from all walks of life condemned it.

Prominent Nigerians and civil society groups had also prevailed on the Federal Government to call the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to order.

Faced with a deafening public outcry, Mr. Magu, through the commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, denied the accounts of the state were frozen and immediately rescinded the action.

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