Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A Federal High Court presided over by Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), United Bank of Africa, (UBA) and Fidelity Bank to jointly pay the Benue State government the sum of N100 million for freezing its accounts last year.
The court also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the EFCC from further freezing Benue State government accounts with financial institutions.
In her judgement in the suit number FHC/MKD/CS/46/2018 filed by the Benue State government challenging the legality of the EFCC freezing its accounts, Justice Olajuwon asked the EFCC to pay the Benue State government the sum of N50 million as damages, while UBA and Fidelity were to pay the sum of N25 million each.
Justice Olajuwon explained that the Benue State government accounts that were frozen do not fall within the classes or categories of accounts liable to be frozen by the EFCC even as she declared the action of the EFCC as illegal, null and void.
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The judge also stated that the order by the EFCC to the two banks to freeze the Benue State accounts was not obtained from a Federal High Court before issuing same.
In his reaction to the judgement, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Benue State, Michael Gusa, described the judgement as sound, adding that the Ortom administration believes in the rule of law and due process, and will not fail to challenge any act of illegality in the State.