Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has accused former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank Plc) Dr. Erastus Akingbola, of violating an order of court which seized some of his properties at the instance of the commission.
The EFCC made the accusation on Wednesday at a Federal High Court, Lagos even as Justice Binta Nyako said the anti-graft agency ought to apply to the court to appoint a neutral receiver to manage the seized properties since they had not been forfeited
The EFCC counsel, Mr. Godwin Obla, said this while opposing an application by Akingbola asking the court to compel the commission to hands-off the management of the said properties.
The seized properties are Amazing Grace Plaza, Victoria Island, Lagos and those located at Milverton Road, and 2, Bedwell Road, both in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Obla said the order, which was to remain valid until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings initiated against Akingbola, gave the commission the power to manage the properties, adding that the former bank chief was in contempt of court to have gone behind to collect rent on the properties.
“The applicant (Akingbola) has been using his companies to collect rents of the properties. That is in contempt of the court order,” he said.
Referring to section 26(3) of the EFCC Act, Obla insisted that law empowers the commission to take custody of any property seized by a court at its instance.
Akingbola, had in the suit, joined the Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Larmode and the agent appointed by the commission to manage the properties, Chief E.L Etudo (trading under the name Etudo & Co), as the respondents.
His lawyer, Mr. Felix Fagbohungbe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in response to Obla, said the order of attachment did not empower the commission to, by itself, appoint any person to manage the properties.
Fagbohungbe added that it did not also restrain his client from collecting rents on the properties.
“The order does not say my client cannot collect rents. If they want to appoint a receiver for the properties, they ought to come before the court and seek the leave of court,” Fagbohungbe said.
He also sought the court to give an order of injunction restraining the EFCC or its agents from further demanding rent, charges, account, or document regarding the properties pending his trial.
She adjourned the case till June 26 for ruling.
New York Times
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