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N15bn Fraud: Court Reserves June 22 To Rule On Application To De-Freeze Bank Accounts

The Federal High Court on Tuesday in Abuja reserved June 22 to give ruling on an application filed by Abdulaziz Nyako, praying the court to compel EFCC to de-freeze his bank accounts.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole reserved the date after he had listened to arguments from the parties.
The applicant, son of former Adamawa governor Murtala Nyako, is standing trial alongside his father on alleged missing N15 billion belonging to the state.
Arguing, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, counsel to the applicant said the EFCC had frozen the accounts with a valid Court order since 2014.
“My Lord, the anti-graft body has violated sections 28 and 29 of its own Act by not approaching the Court to secure the rights to freeze and size the applicant’s bank accounts and property, respectively.
“Those provisions are creation of the law and if that be the case, we urge the Court to declare the action illegal.
“It is however clear that the EFCC is visiting my client with an alleged act of his father,’’ he said.
However, Mr Abdullahi Ringim, Counsel to EFCC, prayed the Court to discountenance Ogungbeje’s submission, adding that the respondent had a blanket right to freeze bank accounts under investigation.
Ringim said the accounts were constantly been investigated.
The prosecution believed if the application is granted, the purpose of the pending charge yet to be determined would be defeated.
The prosecution added that the son of the ex-governor should not be allowed to profit from the alleged proceeds of fraud.
Abdulaziz, his father and two others, are standing trial over a 37-count charge bordering on corruption and money laundering.
When the charges were read to them, they however, pleaded not guilty.
The anti-graft agency had interrogated them over alleged illicit funds traced to companies in which they had interest.
Specifically, they were asked to explain how over N15 billion belonging to Adamawa was allegedly laundered into the accounts of five companies traced to them.
The companies are Blue Opal Nigeria Limited, Crust Energy Nigeria Limited, Blue Ribbon Multilinks Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Blue Ribbon Bureau De Change.
The funds were allegedly funnelled into the accounts of the five companies from Adamawa state government bank accounts.
The transfer was done by the account officer who incidentally is the manager of the bank and an in-law to former governor Nyako.
The commission said its investigations revealed that from 2007 to 2011, the then governor Nyako directed that all state-owned accounts domiciled in various banks be transferred to the account supervised by his in-law.
The applicant’s company, Blue Opal, was said to own, among other investments in Nigeria, an estate in Abuja, while his father’s company owned several properties and investments scattered around Abuja, Yola and Kano. (NAN)

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