Premium Times, Nigeria: A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Monday froze a Zenith Bank account belonging to the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority over an alleged ₦3 billion fraud.
Mohammed Idris, the judge, granted the freeze order following an application brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge said the bank account would remain frozen pending the conclusion of EFCC’s investigation into the alleged fraud.
The freezing order also affects 32 other bank accounts belonging to companies which were allegedly used to divert the funds from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.
In an affidavit attached to the ex parte application, the EFCC said its preliminary investigation revealed that the funds were diverted while Folorunsho Coker was the Managing Director of the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.
Mr. Coker was appointed the Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Among the companies whose accounts were also frozen include a law firm, Rimi and Partners, which, the EFCC said, had Mr. Coker’s wife, Aisha Rimi, as the sole proprietor.
Others companies also affected by the freeze order are Ekosina Investment Limited; SW Properties Limited; Imira Trade and Global Services Limited; Lofty Investment Nigeria Limited; Pure Technical Services Limited; and Cablepoint Limited.
An investigator of the EFCC, Olamide Sadiq, who deposed to an affidavit in support of the commission’s ex parte application, said the probe into the alleged N3 billion was informed by an intelligence received sometime in 2017 by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
According to him, the intelligence revealed suspicious transactions on the account of Rimi and Partners, as there were “heavy inflows in excess of ₦3 billion from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority” into the account.
Mr. Sadiq said investigations by the EFCC revealed that Rimi and Partners had 10 bank accounts with Guaranty Trust Bank.
The investigator said, “Mr. Folorunsho Coker was, as at that time, the Managing Director of the 1st respondent (Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority) and also the husband of Aisha Rimi, one of the signatories to the accounts of the 2nd and 3rd respondents – Rimi and Partners and Ekosina Investment Limited, respectively.
“Further to the depositions contained in the paragraph above, I know as a fact derived during my investigations that the said Mr. Folorunsho Coker was also a signatory to the Zenith Bank account number 1011424889 of the 1st respondent.
“Investigations revealed that Aisha Rimi is the major partner in Rimi and Partners and she is also in control of Ekosina Investment Limited, a company seen to have received huge transfers from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.
“From preliminary investigations by the commission, the 2nd and 3rdrespondents were used to divert funds from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority with the influence of Folorunsho Coker, who was the Managing Director of the Lagos State Agency.”