Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Court Stops FG From Freezing Onnoghen’s Accounts

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped the federal government from freezing the accounts of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The judge gave the order while ruling on an ex parte application filed by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEAP) against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the AGF and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

In the order, which was given last Friday , the judge ruled: “That the AGF shall first obtain an order of court (ex parte) before freezing the accounts of Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel (in respect of Exhibit B) in compliance with the law if, it was not obtained.

“That where it is shown that the order of court was obtained before the freezing of the accounts contained in Exhibit B, the freezing order shall remain valid.
“That order to be served on the respondents pending the hearing of the motion on notice.
“That the matter is adjourned to 13th day of February 2019 for report/motion on notice.”

Last month, the federal government, through the AGF and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), gave a directive to NFIU to freeze five bank accounts of Onnoghen, pending the final determination of the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

In a letter addressed to the Director of NFIU signed by one Abiodun Aikomo, on behalf of AGF, the justice minister said the request to restrict normal banking operations in the five accounts was in line with the Presidential Executive Order No. 6 of July 5, 2018.

The letter with reference number HAGF/2019/E06/Vol. 1, was titled, ‘Re: Request for freezing of bank accounts subject to investigation and prosecution pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 06 of July 5, 2018, on the preservation of assets connected with corruption.’

Malami’s letter, which was dated January 14, 2019, was also received and acknowledged by the NFIU on the same date.

Part of the letter read, “I am directed by Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to request that you, pursuant to the Presidential Executive Order No. 06 of 2018, forthwith restrict normal banking operations on certain accounts belonging to Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, pending final determination of the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT/ABJ/1/19 – Federal Republic of Nigeria V. Hon. Justice Onnoghen Walter Samuel).”

Share This

0 comments: