By Onozure Dania
A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has unfrozen the Zenith Bank account of the Delta State branch of the Commercial Motorcycles and Tricycle Association of Nigeria COMTOA, frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Delivering judgment in a suit by COMTOA’s lawyers, Resume Dumebi and Walter Ekele, against the EFCC, Justice T.B Adegoke nullified the order freezing the account of the commercial motorcycles and tricycle association.
Justice Adegoke held that the action of the EFCC breached the commission’s Act and other extant laws, stating that the manner in which COMTOA’s account was frozen fell short of expected standard.
He said an account cannot be frozen without a court order and frowned at Zenith Bank’s inability to report to its Legal Department or external solicitors before obeying and complying with a mere letter from the EFCC to freeze COMTOA’s account and advised banks to always make it a point of duty to consult their legal units for advice before taking actions.
COMTOA’s solicitors described the judgment as sound, saying that prior to the freezing of the account, no formal letter was written to the association.
He explained that an individual had, through his counsel, petitioned the EFCC that the association was money laundering which was baseless, spurious and tainted with a degree of falsehood.
COMTOA’s counsel noted that they approached the court to seek redress to the anomaly which culminated in the suit it filed, adding that the preliminary objection by the EFCC and the bank was considered in June and dismissed in its entirety by the court.