JUSTICE Taiwo Taiwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja as ordered the freezing of an account owned by the Bauchi State Government in First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
The account, with number: 0998552074, with a balance of about N11,500,000,000, is to be frozen pending the conclusion of an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC).
The EFCC in an affidavit stated that it needed to have the account frozen to preserve the funds being held in it.
The EFCC stated in the suit that it was investigating a money laundering case, in which the account featured prominently.
Justice Taiwo gave the order on Monday after EFCC lawyer, Abu-Bakr Aliyu, moved an ex-parte application he filed to that effect.
The Judge ordered the EFCC to, within 21 days, notify the respondents – the Bauchi State Government and the FCMB – about the court’s decision.
He adjourned further hearing until September 3, 2019.
It claimed that the states immediate past government was involved in money laundering for which it deployed the account.
An official of the EFCC, Jakub Sani, stated in a supporting affidavit that “it is a fact that between the 24th and 28th day of May, 2019, the applicant received intelligence that the then outgoing government at Bauchi State initiated a process at overdrawing to launder the sum of N19,897,809,334.08 property of Bauchi State Government.
“The bank account, subject matter of the intelligence, is the Bauchi State Government Operational Account number: 0998552074 domiciled at First City Monument Bunk.
“The actual amount in the said bank account is N11,500,000 000 00 which was paid to the Bauchi State Government by the Federal Government of Nigeria via the Central Bank.
“The process of laundering employed by the suspects includes the issuance of mandates and cheques rose to the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) for the payments of non-executed contracts and fictitious claims to individuals and contractors.
“The Bauchi State Accountant General is one at the signatory that clears the said cheques and mandates for the said suspicious payments and still remains a signatory to the said account under investigation.
“This honourable court has the jurisdiction to grant this order and it is in the best interest of justice to grant this application.”
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