Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to unfreeze bank accounts belonging to Senator Abdullaziz Nyako, representing Adamawa South at the Senate.
Justice Babatunde Quadri, who delivered the judgment also directed the anti-graft agency to unfreeze account of a firm, Blue Opal Nigeria Ltd, which was linked to the lawmaker.
In addition, the court equally ordered EFCC to unseal Hillview Estate, Abuja, which belongs to the applicant who is the first son of the former Governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako, retd.
The decision of the followed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the lawmaker to challenge the freezing of his accounts by EFCC.
Nyako joined the anti-graft agency , alongside his associate, Nengiofori Jumbo, and the firm.
The lawmaker and his father, are answering to a 37-count money laundering charge EFCC preferred against them. EFCC alleged that the duo connived with two other accused persons, Zulkifikk Abba and Abubakar Aliyu, and diverted over N29billion from the Adamawa State treasury between January 2011 and December 2014.
Meanwhile, delivering judgment in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/524/15, Justice Quadri held that the action of the anti-graft agency amounted to gross violation of the fundamental rights of the applicants.
The court held that the sealing and forfeiture of the applicants property (Hillview Estate) Abuja by the EFCC was “unlawful and oppressive”, as the action of the Federal Government agency violated the applicants fundamental rights as guaranteed under sections 36, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
“In conclusion, the application has merit, same is hereby granted. The commission is hereby ordered to unfreeze the account of the applicants, unconditionally and forthwith.
“The commission having sealed up the premises of the applicants since July 2014 should unseal it forthwith or better still open up the Hillview Estate immediately” Justice Quadri ordered.
The court however declined to issue an order to restrain EFCC from taking further actions against the applicant. It equally refused to award a cost of N10billion against EFCC to serve as general and exemplary damages for the wrongful sealing and forfeiture of the applicants’ property.