Court orders banks to unfreeze corps’ accounts
FNH workers petition EFCC over alleged fraud
The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday ordered banks to unfreeze the 24 accounts belonging to the Peace Corps of Nigeria. They were frozen at the instance of the police through an ex-parte motion granted on June 23 this year.
Following the development, the corps, through John Ojogu, filed a motion on notice dated July 5 praying the court to vacate the post-no-debit order freezing its accounts.
It also prayed for an order directing Diamond Bank and Stanbic IBTC to unfreeze its accounts.Delivering judgment, the court relied on the sole issue formulated by James Idachaba, counsel to the complainant/respondent (police).
The issue was whether the ex-parte order made by the court on June 23 was not liable to be discharged or vacated by the court.Justice John Tsoho described the arguments by Idachaba for dismissal of the application “great effort without effect.The court held that the ex-parte motion of June 13 was filed in bad faith and amounted to gross abuse of court process.
It further noted that the police did not controvert the affidavit evidence of the corps, and that facts were suppressed and issues misrepresented by the force to obtain the ex-parte order.
Justice Tsoho noted that the affidavit in support of the ex-parte motion was deposed to by one Sergeant Philip Tumba from the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, whereas the charge against the corps was filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
Also, the court held that counsel to the police failed to show in his affidavit how the AGF authorised him to act on his behalf.“This inconsistent posturing of the Police adversely affected the validity of the ex-parte order granted by this court on June 23,” Justice Tsoho said.
According to the judge, the Magistrate’s Court had made an order on the issue – that the police suppressed facts and misrepresent issues before the Federal High Court.
“This amounts to duplication of order,” he added.Furthermore, the court agreed with the submissions by counsel to the corps that an “interim order” must be short.
Justice Tsoho ruled: “In view of this, the interim order made by this court on June 23 has been discharged. The order is set aside. Prayers one and two of the defendant/applicant are hereby granted.”
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