Nigeria: Court Directs CBN to Freeze 11 Bank Customers' Accounts

8 April 2021

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has obtained a court judgment to freeze 11 accounts belonging to customers of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited for a period of 45 days pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.

The affected bank accounts are owned by Albert Austin Ugochukwu (two accounts); Belfour Energy and Allied Services; Belfour Oil and Gas Limited (three accounts); Circle Flow Integrated Services; Kacynaus Realty Nigeria Limited (three accounts) and Tasmara Integrated Services.

A copy of the court judgment with Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/326/2021, which was delivered on March 30th, 2021, was posted on the central bank's website yesterday.

Though the apex bank did not disclose the reasons for the court action, THISDAY gathered that the companies and individual were under investigation over alleged forex infractions.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, was listed as the plaintiff/applicant and the six individuals and organisations (Albert Austin Ugochukwu; Belfour Energy & Allied Services; Belfour Oil and Gas Limited; Circle Flow Integrated Services; Kacynaus Realty Nigeria Limited and Tasmara Integrated Services), were the respondents.

The courted ordered that "an interim order is made empowering the applicant to direct the head office of FCMB to freeze forthwith all transactions on the bank accounts listed on the motion paper for a period of 45 days only pending the outcome of investigation currently being conducted by the CBN."

The order is, however, renewable on expiration, but only for good reasons shown.

The court also directed the applicant to publish the order on its website within three days from the day the ruling was delivered.

It stated that any person or persons affected by the order "are entitled to approach the court to seek the set to set aside, discharge or have the order reviewed for good reasons shown."

The suit was adjourned till May 17, 2021, for mention.

The CBN had prayed for a mandatory order of the court empowering the plaintiff/applicant to direct FCMB to freeze forthwith all transactions on the bank accounts of the defendants for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the CBN.

"And for such further order or other orders as this court may deem fit in the circumstances. Upon reading the affidavit in support of the application, affidavit of urgency, verifying affidavit and affidavit of non-multiplicity of action all deposed by Oluwatoyosi Suwebat Oladipo, Nigerian, female, adult, Assistant Manager of the CBN, with an exhibit attached and filed at this court registry," it added.

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