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CBN gets court’s nod to freeze 11 bank accounts

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted an interim order allowing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to direct FCMB to freeze 11 bank accounts linked to an individual and five firms for a period of 45 days pending the outcome of an investigation being carried out by the apex bank. According to a copy of the judge’s ruling posted on CBN’s website yesterday, owners of the affected accounts are Albert Austin Ugochukwu, Belfour Energy & Allied Services, Belfour Oil and Gas Ltd, Circle Flow Integrated Services, Ka-cynaus Realty Nigeria Ltd and Tasmara Integrated Services.

The judge also ruled that on expiration of the order, the regulator could give good reasons to have it renewed. CBN had filed an exparte motion seeking for the accounts to be frozen for a period of 180 days, to enable it carry out its investigation.

There are indications that the owners of the accounts are being suspected of involvement in the manipulation of the foreign exchange market. In its bid to conserve the country’s external reserves and defend naira, CBN had, in the last one year, taken a tough stance against bank customers that flout its forex policies. For instance, in August last year, Justice Ahmed Mohammed also ordered the freezing of 65 bank accounts belonging to 12 firms and a man over alleged manipulation of the country’s foreign exchange market.

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