Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

Banks have got a directive to restrict the accounts of some suspects in the alleged N31billion Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) sluch funds.

Affected are some House of Representatives members, some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chiefs and some companies.
Also, some accused persons on trial in connection with the ongoing probe of the ONSA cannot access their accounts.

Ex-National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki and others yesterday perfected their bail conditions. They were awaiting their release last night.

A judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Peter Affen, banned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from re-arresting Dasuki, ex-Minister Bashir Yuguda, ex- ONSA Director of Finance, Shuaibu Salisu, Sagir Attahiru and ex-Governor Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa.

All the banks, where the accounts of those affected are domiciled, have been asked to Post No Bill (PNB).

Those on the restricted list cannot access their accounts and all funds being remitted into them must be reported.

The ban will remain until the trial of most of the accused persons has been concluded.

It was learnt that the anti-graft agency does not want most of the accused persons and beneficiaries from ONSA funds to tamper with what is left in their accounts.

A source in the EFCC said: “The PNB is limited to accounts where the slush funds were deposited and other traceable accounts . In some instances, we obtained court orders to freeze a few accounts.

“We decided to place restriction as part of our ongoing investigation into the scandal. We have informed all relevant banks that we are probing some transactions relating to such accounts.

“Those affected are the accused persons and all those named as having benefited from the disbursement of funds. The list is longer than you have been reading about. On the list are companies, individuals serving as fronts, accused persons, PDP stalwarts, and some serving or former members of the House of Representatives.

“We want to be at an advantage where we can recover looted funds as may be determined by the court,” the source added.

Responding to a question, the source added that the restriction is in line with Section 34(1) (2) of the EFCC Act.

The section reads: “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other enactment or law, the chairman of the commission or any officer authorized by him may, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person is made through the commission of an offence under this Act or any enactments specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of this Act , apply to the Court for ex-parte power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate regulatory agency to issue an order as specified in Form B of the Schedule to this Act, addressed to the manager of the bank or any person in control of the financial institution where the account is or believed by him to be or the head office of the bank or other financial institution to freeze the account.

“The Chairman of the commission or any officer authorised by him may by an order issued under sub-section (1) of this section or by any subsequent order, direct the bank or other financial institution to supply any information and produce books and documents relating to the account and to stop all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the account of the arrested person.

“The manager or any other person in control of the financial institution shall take necessary steps to comply with the requirements of the order made pursuant to subsection(2) of this section.”

Some of those affected confirmed the restriction placed on their accounts.

One of the defence counsel said: “Our clients have been informed about the restriction of access to their accounts. I think the EFCC did so because it is still investigating some transactions.

“The commission also does not want them to withdraw what is left in those accounts.”

A member of the House of Representatives said: “I don’t have access to my account in which my salaries and allowances are being paid into.

“I did not benefit from any campaign funds. The N50million allegedly traced to my account was no slush fund at all; it was payment for a consultancy job, which was awarded through due process after the consideration of the feasibility study. The money for the service was paid after the election. I did not benefit from any campaign fund. I don’t engage in dirty deals. I have a good reputation.”

The order of the court not to arrest the accused persons, followed the granting of the application for bail by counsel to the defendants, including Peter Akper(SAN), Ahmed Raji( SAN), Dr. J. O. Olatoke(SAN), H.O. Afolabi(SAN) and A.U Mustapha.

Justice Affen said: “It is ordered as follows: 1st( Bashir Yuguda), 2nd(Mohammed Sambo Dasuki), 3rd( Shuaibu Salisu), 5th Sagir Attahiru and 6th (Attahiru Bafarawa) defendants are hereby admitted to bail in the sum of N250million only with two sureties in the like sum, one of whom shall be a serving or retired public servant not below the status of a director in the public/ civil service of the Federation or any of the states of the Federation or any of their agencies and shall produce a valid documentation of his/ her status to the Registrar of this court.

“Each surety shall produce two recent passport-sized photographs and depose to an affidavit of means certifying that he has the financial wherewithal to discharge and forfeit the recognisances for the bail herein granted in the event that the Defendant for whom he is surety jumps bail and / or escapes from Justice.

“One of the two sureties shall produce and deposit the original title deeds of a property or properties owned by him and situate within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja which, when evaluated by an estate surveyor duly licensed by the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers( NIESV) shall on the aggregate be worth the sum of N250million being the amount of the consideration for the bail granted herein.

“The sureties shall be resident within the jurisdiction of this Court and their physical residential addresses shall be verified by the Registrar of this Court.

“The sureties shall be resident within the jurisdiction of this Court and their physical residential addresses shall be verified by the Registrar of this Court.

“During the continuance of the bail herein granted, in the event that the personal attendance of the defendants or any of them shall be required by the complainant for purposes of further investigation, they or he shall be required to appear between the hours of 9 o’clock in the forenoon and 6 o’clock in the evening and be allowed to return home the same day.

“In the event that their or his appearance shall be required at any other time outside the period aforesaid, this shall only be on the orders of a Superior Court Record.

“The orders herein contained are hereby expressly made subject to such further order(s) as may become necessary during the continuance of the bail herein granted.

“The 1st( Bashir Yuguda), 2nd(Mohammed Sambo Dasuki), 3rd( Shuaibu Salisu), 5th Sagir Attahiru and 6th (Attahiru Bafarawa)shall in the interim be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Prison Service, FCT Command and shall only be released upon a Release Warrant issued by this Court upon being satisfied that the conditions herein contained have been complied with.

“In the unlikely event that the defendants (or any of them) are still in the custody of the Nigerian Prison Service by reason of inability to comply with or perfect the conditions upon which they are being admitted to bail, they shall be produced before this court on the date(s)fixed for trial.”

Those whose bail terms have been approved are Salisu, Bafarawa and ex-NNPC Executive Director Aminu Babakusa.

Dasuki, Sagir Bafarawa and Yuguda were last night unable to perfect their bail conditions.

They will have to wait till the next working day.

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