Home News EFCC can freeze state government’s accounts – Appeal court rules

EFCC can freeze state government’s accounts – Appeal court rules

by Sandra Nwaokolo

The decision of the Federal High Court in Makurdi prohibiting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from freezing the account of the Benue State Government for the purpose of investigations without a court order has been overruled by the Federal Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division.

On September 22, 2022, Justice M.S. Hassan gave a unanimous decision in which the appellate court ruled that the EFCC has the authority to put any account—including state government accounts—on PND for 72 hours for investigative purposes without obtaining a court order. The court also nullified the N50 million in damages the lower court had granted to the EFCC.

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Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court, Makurdi, had on Tuesday, February 2, 2019 delivered a judgment, holding the EFCC from placing a PND on the account of Benue State government. Dissatisfied with the judgment, the Commission approached the Court of Appeal.

EFCC counsel, Steve Odiase, canvassed strong arguments against the earlier judgment and the appellate court held that the EFCC acted within its powers to freeze the account of Benue State government.

The court also held that banks are legally bound to obey orders from the EFCC on PND.

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