Monday, January 11, 2016 12:24 pm
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has blocked the bank accounts of the wife and brothers of Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi, former director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration Agency, NIMASA.
The blockade was revealed in court papers filed by Akpobolokemi’s wife, Timi Beauty, seeking a court order to enforce her fundamental human rights and that those of her children.
Akpobolokemi is facing several charges of money laundering and theft of public funds while he was in charge of the government agency.
Timi Beauty’s accounts maintained at United Bank For Africa Plc was one of the accounts blocked while she was invited by the agency to report at their office on 5 November,2015.
Also blocked were the Ecobank and Diamond bank accounts of Julius Akpobolokemi, a brother of the ex-NIMASA boss. The First Bank account of another brother, Victor Akpolobokemi was also frozen.
Timi Beauty, leading the brothers of her husband, is now at the Federal High Court to get the accounts unfrozen.
In her affidavit, she said has never been a staff of NIMASA and has never impeded the investigation of her husband. Hearing in the case will begin 4 February.
When the case was mentioned today, her counsel Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) who announced his appearance for the applicants, told the court that the EFCC may not be aware that the case has been transferred from Justice Ofili Ajumogbobia’s court where the case was formerly pending, to the court presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu.
On November 19 last year when the case was first mentioned before Justice Rita Ofili Ajumogobia, the judge said “for personal reasons she was handing off the case consequently,the case file will be returned to the chief Judge for re-assigment”
In the said fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed before the court,
the co-applicants alongside Mrs Akpobolokemi are Clement Akpobolokemi,Stephen Akpobolokemi,Julius Akpobolokemi,Victor Akpobolokemi. They are all brothers of the former NIMASA boss.
In an affidavit sworn to by Stephen Akpobolokemi and filed before the court by Dr Joseph Nwobike, Stephen averred that,on 31st July last year, 25 fully armed operatives of EFCC stormed the residence of the former NIMASA boss at 6, Ondo Street,Banana Island,Lagos State.
Mr Stephen Akpobolokemi averred further that without any search warrant,the EFCC operatives harassed them and coerced Mrs Akpobolokemi to write incriminating statement against her husband on account of his stewardship and without the order of the court blocked the woman’s account maintained at United Bank For Africa Plc while she was invited by the Agency to report at their office on 5th November,2015
The four brothers also alleged that they have been under constant threats of arrest and detention by EFCC on the account of being the brothers of Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi.
Mr stephen also contended that by the actions of the anti-graft Agency their fundamental rights to liberty have been breached.
Consequently,the applicants while claiming damages in the sum of N100Million against the EFCC for the irreparable emotional,and psychological damages jointly and severally suffered are urging the court to declare that the harassment and intimidation and the threat of their arrest and detention on account of their affinity with Dr Patrick Akpolokemi are unconstitutional,illegal and unlawful.
Two of the applicants whose accounts have been frozen are also urging the court to declare the freezing of their accounts illegal while the court should also unfreeze the said accounts.
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