EFCC Can Freeze State Government’s Accounts – Appeal Court Rules

The judgement handed by the Federal High Court, Makurdi, stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from freezing the Benue State Government account for investigations, without a court order, has been overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division.

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 72hours, for the purpose of investigations, without a court order. The court also set aside the N50million damages awarded against the EFCC by the lower court.

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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