Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday ordered temporary freezing of three bank accounts allegedly linked to the Lagos State government over an alleged fraud of N9.9bn.
The affected three bank accounts are domiciled in First City Monument Bank (FCMB), 5617984012; Access Bank, 0060949275; and Zenith Bank, 1011691254; respectively.
The court order was as a result of an ex- parte application filed and argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge ordered for the temporary suspension of the bank accounts for the Commission to conduct its investigation on the alleged fraud.
In the application, the EFCC prayed the judge to freeze the accounts pending the conclusion of the investigation and possible prosecution of the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Lagos State, Adewale Adesanya, for money laundering.
In an affidavit filed in support of the ex- parte application, a member of the EFCC investigating team, Kungmi Daniel, said the Commission discovered “a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29” from the state accounts into an FCMB bank account opened on September 17, 2018, during the administration of the former governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and operated by Adesanya.
Daniel said the schedule of the FCMB account showed how Adesanya and the other signatories to the account allegedly made fraudulent transfers from the accounts of the state government and dissipated the funds housed in the said accounts.
“The trend in the account is that the account always witnessed huge inflow from Lagos State Government in the above-scheduled accounts managed by the respondent (Adesanya),” the investigator said.
He said upon receipt of intelligence, the EFCC analysed it and found it worthy of investigation.
The EFCC prayed the court to grant an order to temporarily attach and take over the accounts to enable it to conclude its investigations.
“There have been concerted efforts and attempts to dissipate the contents of the accounts listed in the schedule to this application.
“Without freezing the nominated accounts and temporarily forfeiting the money to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there is no way the fraud being perpetrated using the scheduled accounts can be stopped,” the EFCC said.
After listening to submission by the EFCC lawyer, Mohammed Abbas, Justice Obiozor granted the prayers.
He adjourned further proceedings on the matter till August 9.