The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asserted that the recent freezing of the bank accounts of suspects under investigation is backed by law.
The Head, Media and Public Relations, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, stated this on Monday in response to the interest generated by the action of the Commission in freezing the accounts of suspects that were investigated or are currently being investigated.
Uwujaren said that some commentators have tended to ascribe vindictive motives to the action, adding that clarification is needed to prevent misinformation, and explain the reason behind the Commission’s actions in this regard.
According to him, “Freezing of accounts suspected of being used for commission of financial crimes is a mandatory investigative step backed by law.”
Indeed, he said, Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 empowers the Commission to free any account suspected of being used for financial crimes.
The EFCC spokesman said that the “section stipulates that the Chairman of the Commission or any officer authorized by him may, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person is made through the commission of an offence under this Act or any enactment specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of this Act, apply to the Court ex-parte for power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate authority to freeze the account”.
Similarly, he said, the provisions in the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2012 (as amended) also empowers the EFCC Chairman or his representative to place a stop order on any account or transaction suspected to be involved in any crime.