A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused a prayer by the Federal Government (FG) for the permanent forfeiture of funds in accounts without commercials banks without Bank Verification Number (BVN).

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in a judgment on Friday, said the prayer could not be granted because the Federal Government has not laid sufficient foundation for the grant of such prayer.

The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/911/2017, filed by the FG and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) against Access Banks, other commercial banks and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The judge said the FG has not met the conditions provided under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, by proving that the funds in the BVN-less accounts are proceeds of crime and that they are unclaimed.

Justice Dimgba said the interim freezing order on the accounts, made by the court on October 17, 2017 but modified on November 15, 2017, still subsists.

The order is: “An interim order of the honourable court stopping all outward payments, operations or outward transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the accounts pending the linking of the accounts to a Bank Verification Number”.

The judge asked the Federal Government to take the necessary steps to fulfil the conditions under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act and ensure compliance with the October 17, 2017 order.

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