The Central Bank of Nigeria, in order to freeze the accounts of the 20 #EndSARS promoters, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the funds in their accounts might have been linked to terrorist activities.
According to a report from Punch, this was contained in a written address in support of a motion ex parte filed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN, however, did not mention that these 20 bank accounts were owned by individuals and organization that were involved in the #EndSARS protests, but told the court that the funds might have emanated from terrorist activities.
The written address partly reads, “My lord, the nature of the transactions undertaken through the defendants’ accounts are of suspected terrorism financing in contravention of Section 13(1)(a) and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a) and (3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013.”
In a supporting affidavit deposed to by one Aondowase Jacob, on behalf of the CBN, it was stated that the Head of the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Governor’s Department, CBN, Joseph Omayuku, had conducted an investigation on the accounts of the defendants and other individuals and entities held with certain banks in Nigeria.
According to the affidavit, the investigation showed that the owners of the accounts may have been involved in terrorist activities.
It added, “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.
“The applicant (CBN Governor) is thus desirous to have the court empower him to direct the freezing of the 20 accounts listed on the annexure to this application and all other bank accounts held by the defendants.
“A freezing order of this honorable court in respect of the defendants’ accounts would also enable the investigation of the activities of the defendants to a logical conclusion, with a view to reporting same to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.”
The apex bank said unless the order was granted, it would not be able to ensure that the money remained intact, while investigations were ongoing.
The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN after they had been flagged for receiving money with the narration #EndSARS, are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
Justice Mohammed froze the accounts for 180 days subject to renewal, but said anyone who was not satisfied with the ruling was free to challenge it.
What you should know
Nairametrics had reported that the CBN had gotten a court order to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS protesters in various banks. The ex parte order to freeze the accounts was sought by the apex bank after it had frozen the accounts.
ICPC Chairman reveals #EndSARS protests was financed with cryptocurrency
ICPC Chairman has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.
The Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.
This is as he said there are strong indications that it could be used to fund Insurgency in the country.
According to a report from Vanguard, this disclosure was made by the ICPC Chairman, during an interactive session with Senate Joint Committee on Banking, ICT, Cybercrime and Capital Market led by Senator Uba Sani on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
The Joint committee was mandated to look at the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban Cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
The ICPC boss while supporting the position of the CBN, said that the nature of operations of Cryptocurrency exposes it to money laundering and terrorism financing.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has said that the agency averted a $3million fraud linked to 20 bank accounts.
Owasanoye further explained that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.
He brought the attention of the Senate to a period in 2018 when a number of globally rated financial institutions said their financial statements had been hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.
ICPC Chairman noted that the CBN as a regulator has the responsibility to ensure sound financial stability and it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the players are anonymous.
While sharing the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it does not know what it is, he urged the Lawmakers to as a matter of urgency, take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the CBN had directed the financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of such persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, warning of severe regulatory sanctions in the event of any breach of the directive.
- The apex bank warned the Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions and other Financial Institutions against doing business in crypto and other digital assets.
- The latest directive is coming after the CBN had in 2018 stated that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and as such are illegal.
#OccupyLekkiTollGate: Lagos Attorney-General explains large police presence at Lekki toll gate
Lagos Attorney-General has stated that the State does not support the abuse of peaceful protesters.
The Lagos State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo says that the reason for large numbers of policemen at the Lekki toll gate during Saturday’s protest was to prevent the protest from getting hijacked by hoodlums.
The Attorney-General of the State disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.
“Our duty is to face the dictate of the law.
“The state does not derive any joy from seeing people brutalized, but we must ensure that we have a society where law and order prevails and where everyone is free and secure to go about their businesses.
“Your right to protests only extends to where the other person’s freedom of association starts,” Onigbanjo said.
He added that the State Government wanted to prevent any problems during the protests, citing Covid-19 regulations preventing the mass gathering of people and hoodlums hijacking the protests.
“I believe that was the desire of the state government yesterday that people can protests, but think about the Covid-19 regulations, the existing laws.
“We cannot afford the sort of vandalism we saw before, the state was genuinely apprehensive that hoodlums might take over a peaceful protest, we have seen this before. And that was why the police came out in large numbers that this did not degenerate the last time,” he added.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported over the weekend that Officers of the Nigerian Police Force arrested #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters at the Lekki toll gate on Saturday morning.
This was confirmed by multiple media images and videos on social media, showing the protesters being arrested and loaded inside police trucks and van, popularly known as Black Maria.
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