Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday ordered the freezing of the sum of N9.9bn linked to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.
Mr. Ambode handed over as governor on May 29, 2019, after he was denied a second term by the All Progressives Congress (APC) following a falling-out with former Governor Bola Tinubu.
Bola Tinubu’s loyalists in the APC are reportedly behind his travails, which many believe is responsible for President Muhammadu Buhari not offering him a ministerial position.
The funds frozen by the court are domiciled in First City Monument Bank (FCMB) account number 5617984012, Access Bank account number 0060949275 and Zenith Bank account number 1011691254 respectively.
Justice Chuka Obiozor gave the order, following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
The EFCC had prayed the court to freeze the account pending the conclusion of the investigation and possible prosecution of Adewale Adesanya, the permanent secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The applicant, EFCC, in an affidavit deposed to by Kungmi Daniel, an operative of the Commission, stated that there was “a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29” from the state accounts into an FCMB bank account opened on September 17, 2018, during the administration of the immediate past governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode, and operated by Adesanya.
It was further stated that the schedule of the FCMB account showed how Adesanya and other signatories to the account made a fraudulent transfer from the accounts of the Lagos State Government and dissipated the funds housed in the said accounts.
In his submission, counsel to the EFCC, Mohammed Abbas, said: “The trend in the account is that the account always witnessed huge inflow from Lagos State Government in the above-scheduled accounts managed by the respondent (Adesanya)”.
Abbas, therefore, prayed the court to grant an order to temporarily attach and take over the accounts to enable it to conclude its investigations.
“There have been concerted efforts and attempts to dissipate the contents of the accounts listed in the schedule to this application.
“Without freezing the nominated accounts and temporarily forfeiting the money to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there is no way the fraud being perpetrated using the scheduled accounts can be stopped,” he further told the court.
Consequently, Justice Obiozor granted the prayers of the counsel to the Commission.
The judge adjourned further proceedings to September 9, 2019.