An Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court has ordered the immediate freezing of the bank accounts of 12 former officials of Benue State recently arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in collaboration with the police.
This was made known by the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Mike Gusa, on Thursday.
Gusa, who spoke with our correspondent in Makurdi, the state capital, said those whose accounts were frozen included, a former Commissioner for Finance, Omadachi Oklobia; a former Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Solomon Wombo; a former Permanent Secretary in the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Asen Sambe; the accountant of the bureau, Isaiah Ipevnor, and 12 others indicted by the Justice Margaret Kpojime-led investigative panel that probed the eight-year tenure of former Governor Gabriel Suswam.
The panel had indicted 52 persons for allegedly looting over N107bn belonging to the state government.
Gusa said the court gave the order while ruling on an ex parte motion brought before it by the police detectives in charge of the investigation into the matter.
He said, ‘’Since these people were arrested and investigation is still going on, the police decided to obtain an order from the court to put every transaction around their account on hold pending when the investigation will be completed.”
The commissioner said the order had been served on all the affected banks and expressed the hope that the state government would follow due process in the recovery of the looted funds.
He said when recovered, the funds would be used to fulfil the state government’s obligations including the payment of workers’ salary arrears and building critical infrastructure.
The attorney-general disclosed that so far, over N250m had been recovered from the alleged looters, adding that the state government in collaboration with the anti-graft agencies was making efforts to recover the looted funds.