The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says an investigation is ongoing on the seized $2.8 million at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

A 54-year-old man, on Monday, sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) over an alleged unlawful freezing of his thirteen bank accounts.

Mr Nze Chukwumezie, Managing Director, Soka Comfortainment Limited, who is from Anambra, also sued the United Bank for Africa (UBA), First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), ECOBANK, Diamond Bank, Union Bank, Zenith Bank and Sterling Bank as 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th respondents.

Newsmen report that while EFCC is the 1st respondent, NCAC is the 9th respondent.

Twelve of the bank accounts have his name as account name while the Sterling Bank account 0003242109 has the name of his company as the account name.

The case was first instituted in June before Justice I. L. Ojukwu of Court 8.

Chukwumezie, through his Counsel, Jideofor Ukachukwu, in a motion with file number: FHC/ABJ/CS/499/2019, sought a declaration that his detention by the 1st respondent on Jan. 30, 2018 was unlawful and a breach of his fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom of movement “as guaranteed under Sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

“A declaration that the detention of the applicant by the 6th respondent on Sept. 17, 2018 is unlawful/wrongful, same being a breach/violation of his Fundamental Right to Personal Liberty and Freedom of Movement as guaranteed under Sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“A declaration that freezing and/or placing any form of restriction on the various bank accounts of the applicant by the 2nd to 8th respondents on the instructions of the 1st respondent without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction is unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, unlawful and a violation of the applicant’s Fundamental Right to own immovable property as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),” he said.

The lawyer also urged Justice Maha to give an order, directing the 1st respondent to pay the sum of N10 million to “the applicant as damages/compensation against his illegal detention on Jan. 30 to Jan. 31, 2018.

“An Order of court directing the 6’“ respondent to pay the sum of N5 million to the applicant as damages/compensation against his illegal detention on Sept. 17, 2018.

“An Order of Court mandating the 1st respondent to pay the sum of N20 million to the applicant for issuing an illegal directive to the 2nd to 8th respondents to freeze and/or place restriction on the applicant’ s bank accounts.

“An Order of court mandating the 2nd respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N30 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his 3 bank accounts domiciled in its bank.

“An Order of court mandating the 3rd respondent to pay to the Applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

“An order of count mandating the 4th Respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N40 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his 4 bank accounts domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 5th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 6th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 7th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 8th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N20 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his 2 bank accounts domiciled in its bank.

“The sum of N50 million against all the respondents jointly and severally as aggravated and exemplary damages.

“The sum of N1 billion as cost of this suit.

“And for such further Order(s) that this court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

Counsel to the applicant argued that the reliefs were sought based on the fact that “the 1st and 6th respondents illegally and unlawfully detained the applicant and thereby violated his rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement as guaranteed under Sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“The 1st respondent without a valid order of court directed/caused the 2nd to 8th respondents to freeze and/or place restrictions on the various bank accounts of the applicant and thereby breached/violated the Fundamental Right of the Applicant to ownership of immovable property as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“The 2nd to 8th respondents without a valid order of court froze and/or placed restrictions on the bank accounts of the Applicant in violation of the Applicant’s ownership of immovable property as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

According to him, the actions of the respondents amount to self-help and abuse of power which is unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal and unlawful.

The lawyer said that the respondents had acted without regard to the extant laws of the land and fundamental rights of the applicant.

However, all the counsel to the respondents were in the court on Monday except the 1st respondent (EFCC)’s counsel.

Justice Maha, who expressed concern that counsel to the EFCC was not in court despite service of hearing, observed that the case ruling might not be ready within the vacation period.

The judge, therefore, sent the matter back to Court 8 and adjourned the matter until Oct. 17 for further hearing.

Get more stories like this on Twitter

AD: To get thousands of free final year project topics and other project materials sorted by subject to help with your research [click here]


More Stories