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FX crisis: Court permits EFCC to freeze 1,146 individuals, companies’ accounts

A Federal High Court, Abuja has granted an interim order sought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to freeze at least 1,146 bank accounts belonging to individuals and companies over allegations bordering on unauthorised dealing in foreign exchange, among others.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other offences being investigated by the EFCC bordered on money laundering and terrorism financing.Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the anti-graft agency, Ekele Iheanacho, also granted the commission’s application to conclude the investigation within 90 days.Justice Nwite said: “It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That the applicant’s application is hereby granted as prayed.

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made freezing the bank accounts stated in the schedule below, which accounts are owned by various individuals who are currently being investigated in a case involving the offences of unauthorised dealing in foreign exchange, money laundering, and terrorism financing, to the extent that the investigation will be for a period of 90 (ninety) days.”

The motion

NAN reports that though the ruling was delivered on April 24, its certified true copy was sighted on Monday.

The EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/543/2024 dated and filed April 24 by Iheanacho, was heard by the judge same day in the interest of national interest.

The motion was brought pursuant to Section 44(2) and (K) of the 1999 Constitution; Section 34 of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004; Section 7(8) of the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022; and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

The agency had sought the order freezing the bank accounts stated in the schedule attached to the motion pending the conclusion of the investigation.Giving three grounds upon which the reliefs were sought, it said: “The bank accounts in respect of which the reliefs are sought are subject matters of investigation by the EFCC in relation to money laundering and terrorism financing.“That preliminary investigation conducted thus far reveals that the bank accounts are linked to persons who take advantage of the virtual cryptocurrency exchange platforms to illegally manipulate the value of Naira and launder proceeds of unlawful activities.

“That there is a need to preserve the funds in the identified bank accounts pending the conclusion of investigation and possible prosecution.”

Justice Nwite consequently adjourned the matter until July 23 for mention.


On March 18, Justice Nwite equally ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide EFCC with the comprehensive data or information of all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

The judge granted the interim order on Feb. 29 to enable the anti-graft agency unravel the alleged money laundering and terrorism financing on Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

The commission had told the judge that its investigation team uncovered users who had been using the platform for price discovery, confirmation, and market manipulation, which had caused tremendous distortions in the market, resulting in the Naira losing its value against other currencies.

It said that the information afforded to the team by Binance showed that the total trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone stood at $21.6 billion.

NAN reports that while EFCC is currently prosecuting Binance and two of its executives on alleged money laundering charge, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is prosecuting the company on alleged tax evasion offences. (NAN)


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