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Court orders de freeze of Peace Corps' Bank accounts


A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered banks to de-freeze 24 bank accounts of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) in a record legal victory over the Nigerian Police.
The accounts were frozen at the instance of the police though an ex-parte order it secured on June 23, 2017. Thereafter, Mr. John Ojogu, on behalf of Peace Corps filed a motion dated July 5, 2017, praying the court to vacate its post-no-debit order freezing its accounts. Also, Peace Corps prayed for an order directing Diamond bank, and Stanbic IBTC to defreeze its accounts.
Delivering a ruling on the motion on notice, the court relied on the sole issue formulated by Mr. James Idachaba, counsel to police on “Whether the ex parte order made by the court on June 23, 2017 is not liable to be discharged or vacated by the court.
Justice John Tsoho described the arguments made by Idachaba, counsel to police in urging court to dismiss the application of Peace Corps as “Great effort without effect”. The court held that the motion ex-parte dated June 13, was filed by police in bad fate and amounted to gross abuse of court process.
The Judge noted that the facts were suppressed and issues misrepresented by police to obtain the ex-parte order that led to freezing of the PCN 24 bank accounts.
“This inconsistent posturing of the police adversely affected the validity of the ex parte order granted by this court on June 23, 2017,” Justice Tsoho said. According to the judge, a magistrate court in Abuja had in February this year made an order on the issue, and was kept away from the court knowledge adding that for the police to suppress facts and misrepresent issues before the Federal High Court; “this amounts to duplication of order”.
In addition, the court agreed with the submissions of counsel to Peace Corps that an “interim order” must be short. “I therefore hold that if the police desired anything more, it should not have come to this court by way of motion ex-parte but through motion on notice seeking an injunction, Justice Tsoho said. In view of this, “The interim order made by this court on June 23, 2017 is hereby discharged; the order is set aside. Prayers one and two of the Peace Corps are hereby granted.”

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