The Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), permission it to freeze an account of the Bauchi State Government domiciled in First City Monument Bank.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo issued the freezing order, on Monday, following an ex parte application moved by the commission’s lawyer, Abubakar Aliyu.
The court ordered the two respondents to the application, Bauchi State Government and FCMB, to show cause why the money should be handed over to them within 21 days.
According to the EFCC, the order was necessary to enhance its probe of some suspects, including the immediate-past governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, for alleged money laundering involving about N19.9bn.
It alleged that the ex-governor was planning to launder the state government’s N11.5bn contained in the account through the issuance of mandates and cheques for the payments of non-executed contracts and fictitious claims to individuals and contractors.
The account is dubbed as the ‘Bauchi State Government Operational Account’, according to the anti-graft agency.
The court while fixing September 3 for hearing, also ordered that the commission must give a progress report of its investigation at the next hearing date.