Court grants ICPC request to freeze ex-Gov. Yari’s accounts

The Federal High Court on Friday ordered the interim forfeiture of a bank account of the immediate-past governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, and those of two other firms linked to him.

The two companies are Kayatawa Nigeria Limited and B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.

The six accounts frozen by the court on Friday were said to be bearing cumulative sums of N24,289,910 and $669,248.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) which obtained the order of interim forfeiture on Friday stated that Yari “siphoned the funds of Zamfara State Government and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria through the 2nd and 3rd respondents (the two companies).”

Justice Taiwo Taiwo made the order on Friday following an ex parte application by ICPC, which Yari and the two companies “are involved in some unlawful activity against the interest of the Zamfara State Government and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The affected accounts included one described as Yari’s salary account as governor of Zamfara State from 2011 to 2019.

The Zenith Bank Plc with number 100138168 was said to be containing N12,912,848.68.

The others included Zenith Bank account 1010757436 belonging to Kayatawa Nigeria Limited in Zenith Bank and containing the sum of N11,159,674.17;  and another Zenith Bank account 1012556798 belonging to B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited with the sum of N217,388.04 in it.

The rest are three separate dollar accounts, one of which is Yari’s  with number  21100000928 at Polaris Bank and bearing the sum of $56,056.78.

The others were two Zenith Bank  accounts, one of which was numbered 5360050304 belonging to Kayatawa Nigeria Limited said to contain the sum of $301,319.99, and the other numbered 5364669609 held in the name of B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited at Zenith Bank Plc said to have $311,872.15.

Justice Taiwo granted the eight specific prayers sought by the ICPC, including “an order restraining any person or persons whether human, juristic or artificial, not to part with, deal eal in or otherwise dispose of such property or any part therof the accounts”.

The judge held that granting the interim order of forfeiture was not in breach of the rights of the respondents.

He ordered ICPC to publish the interim order of forfeiture in PUNCH newspapers within seven days and directed the respondents (Yari, and the two companies) and any other parties interested in the assets, to within 14 days from the date of the publication of the order, file  application showing cause why the order of final forfeiture of the proceeds of the account to the Federal Government should not be made.

In a related development, Justice Taiwo on Friday fixed Monday for ruling on an ex parte application by Yari seeking an order compelling the ICPC and the Attorney-General of the Federation to unseal his house said to have been sealed without court order.

His lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), argued the application, urging the judge to compel the respondents – ICPC and AGF – to act in accordance with the law.

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