Judiciary

EFCC wins at Appeal Court against Benue govt

By Martin Iyonguvihi

The Appeal Court, Makurdi Division has nullified a judgment of the Federal High Court, Makurdi that restrained the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) from placing accounts belonging to the  Benue State government on Post No Deposit (PND) without a court order for the purpose of investigation.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice M.S. Hassan on Thursday, September 22, 2022, the appellate court held that, the EFCC has powers to place any account, (state governments’ accounts inclusive) on PND for 72 hours, for the purpose of investigations, without a court order.

The court also set aside the N50 million damages awarded against the EFCC by the lower court.

It could be recalled that Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court, Makurdi, had on Tuesday, February 2, 2019 delivered a judgment, preventing 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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