FORMER Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode is facing the prospect of prosecution by anti-graft authorities after a Lagos federal high court ordered the freezing of N9.9bn ($27.3m) belonging to the state government that was amassed under his watch.
Ruling in an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the freezing of the account. In its application, the EFCC had asked the court to freeze the account pending the conclusion of investigations and the possible prosecution of Adewale Adesanya, the permanent secretary in the office of the chief of staff to Governor Ambode.
In an affidavit tendered by one of its operatives Kungmi Daniel, the EFCC stated that there was a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29 from the state accounts into an FCMB bank account opened on September 17, 2018 during the administration of Governor Ambode and operated by Mr Adesanya. It further stated that the schedule of the FCMB account showed how Mr Adesanya and other signatories to the account made fraudulent transfers from the accounts of the Lagos State Government and dissipated the funds.
EFCC counsel Mohammed Abbas, said: “The trend is that the account always witnessed huge inflow from the Lagos State Government in the above scheduled accounts managed by the respondent Mr Adesanya. There have been concerted efforts and attempts to dissipate the contents of the accounts listed in the schedule to this application.
“Without freezing the nominated accounts and temporarily forfeiting the money to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there is no way the fraud being perpetrated using the scheduled accounts can be stopped.”
He prayed that the court grant an order to temporarily attach and take over the accounts to enable the EFCC conclude its investigations. Consequently, Justice Obiozor granted the prayers of the counsel to the commission and adjourned further proceedings until September 9.