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Court orders EFCC to unfreeze more bank accounts

An FCT High Court, Maitama, on Monday ordered First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Sterling Bank to unfreeze the accounts of a man accused of fraud.

Ishaq Bashir was charged with alleged swindling of an investment company of $1 million.

Mr. Bashir, alongside his three companies, Leda Green-power Consortium, Leda Green-power Nigeria Ltd and Leda Consortium Ltd., were arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on cheating.

The judge, Justice Sunday Aladetoyinbo, gave the order after Mr. Bashir’s counsel, Ben Anachebe, informed the court that his client did not have access to his account.

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has completed its investigation that is why the matter is charged to court,” he said.

Mr. Anachebe said the three banks refused to unfreeze his client’s accounts and the EFCC refused to release his international passport since they had granted him an administrative bail.

He said his client needed money and his passport to seek for medical attention because he had been ill for some time.

Reacting, the prosecuting counsel, Rimamsonte Ezekiel, informed the court that he was hearing the claim for the first time Monday morning.

He said the EFCC was not in the habit of doing things without proper documentation.

He said the order directing the three banks to freeze Mr. Bashir’s accounts was given by a competent court and it expired after 60 days — that is between October 6 and December 6.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that the prosecution had alleged that the defendant on March 12, 2013, obtained one million dollars from one Althani Investments Company Ltd by false pretence.

The offence contravened Section 1(1)(a)(b)(c)(2)(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Fraud Related Offences Act, 2005.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the allegation and was granted bail in the sum of N2million with a surety in like sum.

The case was adjourned till May 17 for hearing.

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