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Court refuses Cecilia Ibru’s quest to stop EFCC

By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos,  Friday refused an application by former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank Plc, Mr. Cecilia Ibru, seeking to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  from further seizing her property.

Trial judge in the matter, Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye held that there was no basis for restraining the commission by granting an interim order because the EFCC had completed the execution of an earlier order of the court, ordering it to confiscate Ibru’s assets.

The court held that it lacked the powers to restrain the commission from continuing its investigation of Mrs Ibru and identifying new assets suspected to be owned by her.

The judge also refused to stop EFCC from seizing the newly identified property because the there was no evidence before the court relating to the newly discovered property.

The court last  week granted an order ex-parte, for temporary forfeiture of assets and freezing of Ibru’s accounts.
Ibru counsel had prayed the court for an interim  order, restraining the EFCC from further seizing Ibru’s assets, contending that the application was informed by his realisation that even after he had filed and served the EFCC with an application for stay of execution of the court’s order, the commission was still executing the said order.

Ibru’s counsel urged the court to stop the EFCC from further executing the said order pending the hearing and determination of his two pending applications by either granting an interim order or extracting an undertaking from the commission’s counsel.

But EFCC counsel contended that the court has the power to stop an agency from exercising its statutory powers to investigated and identify asset belonging to an individual being tried for alleged
criminal conducts.

According to the commission,  after the court’s order, empowering EFCC to confiscate Ibru’s assets, the commission had uncovered new set of property belonging to Ibru. Such property, the commission said are No 30A, B, and C Lugard Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, No 1 Ozumba Nbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos and some funds recently transferred to accounts in Dubai.

The court meanwhile adjourned till February 11, 2010 for the adoption of written addresses by parties.


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