The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it will appeal against the N100m judgment handed down by Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in favour of Benue State.
The court on Tuesday awarded N50m damages against the commission and N25m each against United Bank for Africa and Fidelity Bank following the freezing of the accounts of the state government with the two banks by the EFCC.
But the anti-graft agency in a statement on Wednesday by its acting spokesman, Tony Orilade, said it would head for the Court of Appeal.
The EFCC said, “It is important that we put to the test the verdict of this court of first instance in a superior court on the grounds that if a verdict such as this is allowed to stand, it may undermine the patriotic efforts of the commission in tackling corruption.
“We also note that it is capable of sending the wrong signal to the judicial system when a matter as serious as what led the EFCC to probe the account of the state government could be decided on technicalities rather than the merit of the action of the commission.”
The statement explained that the temporary freezing of the bank accounts in August last year was meant to limit interferences in the accounts.
It added, “We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that we have, as a commission, taken the action as a necessity, since it is within our mandate, derived from the law. Our lawyers are making arrangements to challenge the verdict as we believe that the judgment is a miscarriage of justice that cannot stand the test of time.”
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A Report Of The Judgement Of The 16 Divisions Of The Court Of Appeal In Nigeria