The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has directed banks to place restrictions on the accounts of some suspects fingered in the alleged mismanagement of $2.1bn meant for the procurement of arms from the office of former National Security Adviser, ONSA, Sambo Dasuki.
Among those affected are some members of the House of Representatives, some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftains and some companies, The Nation reports.
The report said all the banks, where the accounts of those affected are domiciled, have been directed to Post No Bill, PNB.
It was learnt that the affected persons and company cannot access their accounts and all funds being remitted into them must be reported to the anti-graft agency, as the ban will remain until the trial of most of the accused persons has been concluded.
EFCC is said to have given the directive because it does not want those who benefited of the slush funds from the ONSA to tamper with what is left in their accounts.
A source who spoke with the newspaper said, “The PNB is limited to accounts where the slush funds were deposited and other traceable accounts . In some instances, we obtained court orders to freeze a few accounts.
“We decided to place restriction as part of our ongoing investigation into the scandal. We have informed all relevant banks that we are probing some transactions relating to such accounts.
“Those affected are the accused persons and all those named as having benefited from the disbursement of funds. The list is longer than you have been reading about. On the list are companies, individuals serving as fronts, accused persons, PDP stalwarts, and some serving or former members of the House of Representatives.
“We want to be at an advantage where we can recover looted funds as may be determined by the court,” the source added.
The source noted that the restriction is in line with Section 34(1) (2) of the EFCC Act, which reads, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other enactment or law, the chairman of the commission or any officer authorized by him may, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person is made through the commission of an offence under this Act or any enactments specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of this Act , apply to the Court for ex-parte power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate regulatory agency to issue an order as specified in Form B of the Schedule to this Act, addressed to the manager of the bank or any person in control of the financial institution where the account is or believed by him to be or the head office of the bank or other financial institution to freeze the account.
“The Chairman of the commission or any officer authorised by him may by an order issued under sub-section (1) of this section or by any subsequent order, direct the bank or other financial institution to supply any information and produce books and documents relating to the account and to stop all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the account of the arrested person.
“The manager or any other person in control of the financial institution shall take necessary steps to comply with the requirements of the order made pursuant to subsection(2) of this section.”
Confirming the restriction on the banks accounts, one of the defence counsel was quoted as saying, “Our clients have been informed about the restriction of access to their accounts. I think the EFCC did so because it is still investigating some transactions.
“The commission also does not want them to withdraw what is left in those accounts.”
Also, a member of the House of Representatives said: “I don’t have access to my account in which my salaries and allowances are being paid into.”