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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the interim freezing of 45 bank accounts belonging to three companies for alleged smuggling of rice into the country.
The companies with the 45 bank accounts in 10 banks are Sun Sam A1 International Limited, Sun Sam International Limited and Sunchrist O. Trans Nigeria Limited.
The court’s freezing order followed an ex parte application by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which said it was conducting wider investigation of the companies.
Ruling on the application moved by the apex bank’s lawyer, Nosike Nicholas, on Monday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed directed 10 banks housing the affected accounts to stop transactions on the accounts for 45 days.
The judge said the period for the freezing of the accounts was to allow for the inquiry and investigation of the companies.
The CBN had applied to the court to freeze the accounts for 90 days, but the Judge granted the apex bank permission to freeze the accounts for only 45 days.
But the judge said the freezing order for 45 days was subject to renewal for more period upon an application by the CBN, should the applicant not be able to conclude its investigations within the first 45 days.
Nosike had told the judge on Monday that continued transactions on the accounts could cause significant financial loss to the rice industries in particular and the Nigeria economy in general.
He had anchored the apex bank’s application for the interim freezing order on section 60, Paragraph (B) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 1991 as amended.
Justice Mohammed adjourned proceedings to December 12