Bank accounts belonging to the Abia State government which are domiciled in about 27 financial institutions have been frozen by a court order.
The order to freeze the accounts was given in an ex-parte order granted on Friday by Justice Bello Kawu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja.
The Judge gave the order while ruling on a suit with number M/6686/2023 which was originated by Mr Uche Eni through his lawyer, Johnmary C. Jideobi against the Accountant-General of Abia State and the Commissioner for Finance.
The Judge also barred all the affected banks from cooperating with the financial aides of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu pending the determination of the motion.
The state government by the order has also been barred from obtaining loans pending the determination of the suit.
The banks include Access Bank Plc, Eco Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), Accountant General of the Federation and 21 financial institutions which were all listed as respondents.
The court thereafter adjourned the matter to April 5, 2023.
The court granted the following Order(s):-
“A Mareva order of this Honourable Court freezing forthwith all the monies belonging to the people and Government of Abia State of Nigeria or controlled by the Defendants and domiciled in any Bank (whatsoever named) operating within Nigeria or domiciled with or in the hands of the 1st to 28th Respondents PENDING the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed herein.
“An order of this honourable court restraining the 1st to 28th Respondents from co-operating with the 1st and 2nd Defendants or any authority and person purporting to be acting on behalf of or in the name of the Government of Abia State of Nigeria (howsoever named or described) in accessing any funds held by the 1st to 28th Respondents for the benefit of the people and Government of Abia State of Nigeria PENDING the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed herein.
“An order of the court granting the Claimant/ Applicant leave to effect a substituted service of all the originating processes in this suit, inclusive of the ex-parte Order of this Court, on the 1st and 2 Defendants at the Abia State Liaison Office, Abia House, Abuja, through any registered post or courier service operating within the Jurisdiction of this honourable Court and for same to be deemed as proper services.
“An order restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants forthwith from Interfering with dealing with, withdrawing or accessing in whatever manner, monies in the hand of the 1 to 28th Respondents belonging to the Government and people of Abia State pending the hearing and disposal of the Motion on Notice filed herein.
“An interim order of this Honourable Court restraining all the Respondents and their privies, whether severally or individually, from extending any loan facility howsoever called or described) to the Government of Abia State PENDING the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed herein.”