Court Grants EFCC’s Request To Freeze 1146 Bank Accounts

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Court Grants EFCC’s Request To Freeze 1146 Bank Accounts [DETAILS]

Amid FX crisis, An Abuja Court has granted the request of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission to freeze at least 1,146 bank accounts belonging to individuals and companies over allegations of unauthorized dealing in foreign exchange.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had alleged that many Nigerians are involved in Foreign Exchange racketeering leading to instability in the Foreign exchange in Nigeria.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the anti-graft agency, Ekele Iheanacho, also granted the commission’s application to conclude the investigation within 90 days.

Justice Nwite 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 extant that the investigation will be for a period of 90 (Ninety) days.”

NAN reports that though the ruling was delivered on April 24, its certified true copy was sighted on Monday.

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

The motion was brought pursuant to 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.

The agency had sought the order freezing the bank accounts stated in the schedule attached to the motion pending the conclusion of the investigation.

Giving three grounds upon which the reliefs were sought, it said: “The bank accounts in respect of which the reliefs are sought are subject matters of investigation by the EFCC in relation to money laundering and terrorism financing.

“That preliminary investigation conducted thus far reveals that the bank accounts are linked to persons who take advantage of the virtual cryptocurrency exchange platforms to illegally manipulate the value of Naira and launder proceeds of unlawful activities.

“That there is a need to preserve the funds in the identified bank accounts pending the conclusion of the investigation and possible prosecution.”

Justice Nwite consequently adjourned the matter until July 23 for mention.

Some of the account names mentioned in the attached schedule are Akitoye Adeyemi Ayomide with GTBank account number; 0165110025; Clyp Trading Ltd, Titan Trust Bank account number: 0000331101; Clyp Consulting Ltd, Providous account number: 9401374554; and Toyetech Platforms Ltd, Titan Trust Bank account number: 0000134962.

They also include Winx International Platforms Ltd, Titan Trust Bank account number: 0000135055; Shutterscore Trading Platforms Ltd, Access Bank account number: 1532363954; Tradecillion Trading Ltd, Stanbic IBTC account number: 0045672922; and Nsofor Donald Nmamdi, GTBank account number: 0449088666

They equally include Kora Payments Network Ltd-Operations, UBA account number: 1022242089; Renderstack Technologies Ltd, Zenith Bank account number: 1210355120; Korex Payments Ltd, Globus account number: 5000007837; and Awe Microfinance Bank Ltd, Providous account number: 5400760781; and Victor Samuel Asuquo, Opay Digital Services Ltd account number: 9020132068.

Others are Akingbade Sabit Juwon, ECONANK account number: 3442053006; Nsofor Donald Nmamdi, Union Bank account number: 0140460572; Asuquo Victor Samuel, First Bank account number: 3153199542; Oty Ugochukwu Stanley, FCMB account number: 4039304011; Oty & Sons Global Concepts, Fidelity Bank account number: 6060410145; and Pelumi Ayandoye, Wema Bank account number: 0234852277; and David George Ajala, Fidelity Bank account number: 5090680780, among others.

NAN had, on March 18, reported that Justice Nwite equally ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide EFCC with the comprehensive data or information of all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

The judge granted the interim order on Feb. 29 to enable the anti-graft agency to unravel the alleged money laundering and terrorism financing on Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

The commission had told the judge that its investigation team uncovered users who had been using the platform for price discovery, confirmation and market manipulation which had caused tremendous distortions in the market, resulting in the Naira losing its value against other currencies.

It said that the information afforded to the team by Binance showed that the total trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone stood at $21.6 billion.

NAN reports that while EFCC is currently prosecuting Binance and two of its executives on an alleged money laundering charge, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), is prosecuting the company on alleged tax evasion offences.(NAN)

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By Abia ThinkTank

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