Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday froze some accounts belonging to the Lagos State Government over an alleged N9.9 billion fraud perpetrated under immediate past Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The ex parte order authorising the freezing of the accounts was granted by Justice Chuka Obiozor.
The agency may also invite Ambode for questioning as it discovered suspicious inflows into the account linked to his chief of staff.
The three bank accounts, domiciled in First City Monument Bank, Access Bank, and Zenith Bank, are numbered 5617984012, 0060949275 and 1011691254, respectively.
Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered the “suspension” of the bank accounts following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC had urged the judge to freeze the accounts pending the conclusion of the investigation and possible prosecution of the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Lagos State, Adewale Adesanya, for money laundering.
In an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, a member of the EFCC investigating team, Kungmi Daniel, said the commission discovered “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 former governor Akinwunmi Ambode and operated by Adesanya.
Daniel said the schedule of the FCMB account showed how Adesanya and the other signatories to the account made fraudulent transfers from the accounts of the Lagos State Government and dissipated the funds housed in the said accounts.
“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),” the investigator said.
He said upon the receipt of intelligence, the EFCC analysed it and found it worthy of investigation.
The EFCC prayed the court to grant it 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,” the EFCC said.
After listening to submission by the EFCC lawyer, Mohammed Abbas, Justice Obiozor granted the prayers.
He adjourned further proceedings in the matter till August 9, 2019.