Four banks comply with order freezing Benue’s accounts

Four commercial banks in the country have complied with the order of a Federal Hig Court, Abuja, directing the freezing of all bank accounts of Benue Government.

The four banks include First City Monument Bank Plc, Standard Charterred Bank Ngeria, Suntrust Bank Nigeria Ltd, and Wema Bank Plc.

Counsel to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ogechukwu Okeke, on Tuesday, told the presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, when she presented the report on compliance to court order.

Justice Ekwo had, on Oct. 26, made an interim order, freezing all bank accounts of Benue government maintained in some banks in the country following its inability to pay back N333 million loan borrowed in 2008.

The judge, who gave the order following an ex-parte motion brought by AMCON, also directed that the bank accounts of HPPS Multilink Services Ltd be frozen pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive suit.

 The affected bank accounts for the two respondents are domiciled with Access Bank Plc; Citibank Nigeria Limited; Eco Bank Nigeria Plc; Fidelity Bank Plc; First Bank Nigeria Plc; First City Monument Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Pic.

Others include those in Heritage Bank Plc; Keystone Bank Limited; Polaris Bank Limited; Stanbic IBTC Plc; Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited; Sterling Bank Plc; Suntrust Bank Nigeria Limited; Union Bank of Nigeria Plc; United Bank for Africa Plc; Unity Bank Nigeria Plc; Wema Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

AMCON is the claimant, the company and the state government are 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.

However, in the affidavit to show cause of compliance filed before the court, all the banks were listed as 1st to 18th garnishees.

When the matter was called, Okeke informed that the matter was slated for mention and for the banks to show compliance.

She, however, said that so far, only four banks had been able to show compliance.

“That is the 6th, 12th, 14th and 17th respondents. We are applying that they be discharged from the proceedings,” the lawyer told court.

Justice Ekwo, then, made an order, discharging the four banks.

Okeke, thereafter, applied for a date for hearing the suit and to avail the rest of the banks  another opportunity.

But counsel to the state government, Terkura Pepe, SAN, told the court that though they had not been served with the court processes, he came out of the respect the defence had for the court.

“We saw the publication and because of  the respect we have for the court, we applied for certifed true copy of the processes before the court and before the end of the day, we will file our processes,” he said.

The judge, then, adjourned the matter until Nov. 22 for hearing.