Court refuses to release money seized from Bankers Warehouse

A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital, has refused to grant a request to release $2.8 million seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In December, operatives of the anti-graft agency in Enugu intercepted $2.8m (N1.02bn) at Akanu Ibiam International Airport. The money was found with Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel.

Bankers Warehouse subsequently said those arrested were its employees who were carrying out legitimate business of cash movement for one of its banker clients.

The EFCC went ahead to get an order for the interim forfeiture of the money.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, Charles Ajuya, a senior advocate who appeared for the respondents, prayed the court to vacate the interim order.

But, AT Mohammed, the justice who presided over the case, refused the prayer.

In a statement on Sunday, Tony Orilade, EFCC spokesman said Anasoh Onyedikachi Henry, EFCC counsel who filed eight paragraphs affidavits of facts, had disclosed the progress made by the commission in the investigation.

“While filing application for interim forfeiture on December 24, 2018, the Commission had also filed an affidavit of urgency for the matter to be heard before a vacation Judge sitting in Port Harcourt,” the statement read.

“The EFCC counsel further argued that the defence was wrong to have asked for vacation of the court order since the Exparte is still subsisting.

According to Orilade, the judge upheld the arguments of the prosecution and noted that since the publication of the interim forfeiture order was public knowledge, the defence should be prepared to prove its case rather than come to court seeking for the vacation of the order.

He, however, directed that since the period of court vacation ended on January 4, 2019, “the case file is hereby transferred to Enugu Division for continuation of the case”.

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