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“Release my seized property”, Businessman begs EFCC

Ikeja – Following his acquittal of fraud charges, a businessman, Mr. Alex Ikpeme, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to unfreeze his bank accounts and release his seized property.

Ikpeme acquitted of a six-count charge bordering on stealing and making false statements to officials of the EFCC.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the judgment acquitting Ikpeme was delivered on July 24, 2017, by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court.

Ikpeme, through his lawyer Mr. Chukwuemeka Amaghiro, on Thursday, filed a Motion on Notice at the Ikeja High Court seeking the release of his property following the judgment which has not been appealed by the EFCC.

According to court documents made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ikpeme is seeking five reliefs.

The businessman is seeking two declarations that the EFCC’s refusal to unfreeze his bank accounts at Ecobank and release his property is illegal and unconstitutional.

He seeks an order of the court that the anti-graft commission should release his seized property without delay.
Some of the property include a green Mercedes Benz 320 SUV with registration no. GK694ABC and a black Mercedes Benz 190E belonging to his wife, Mrs. Chidinma Ikpeme marked BM117KRD.

Also, his international passport with no. A01550046, a bag of company document, three original copies of travel tickets and his passport photographs.

Ikpeme is asking the court to order the EFCC to unconditionally unfreeze his four bank accounts (two domiciliary, one current and one savings) at Ecobank Nigeria which were frozen during the initial investigations of the case.

He also wants the court to direct the EFCC to write to notify the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Housing Authority, Accountant-General of the Federation’s Office and the Ministries of Defence and Finance of the 2017 judgment.

According to Ikpeme, this will enable him and his company to resume their normal business with the organizations because the court case had damaged the goodwill he once enjoyed with them.

NAN also reports that the EFCC had in 2011 filed a suit with number -ID/183C/2011 against Ikpeme and his company Annygral Consultants Ltd.

According to the anti-graft commission, Ikpeme and his company had failed to pay N62.7million to Cocheds Agro Industries Ltd for a contract for the supply of fifteen Landrover Station Wagons to the Ministry of Defence.
The EFCC had in the suit claimed that Ikpeme and his company had via their statements during interrogation given false information to officials of the anti-graft commission.

Justice Okunnu, in her judgment acquitting Ikpeme, said the allegations of making false statements to officials of the EFCC were unfounded.

The judge found that and that the claims of theft made by the anti-graft commission lacked merit but rather, it was a contract dispute from a Memorandum of Understanding between Annygral Consultants Ltd and Cocheds Agro Industries Ltd.

“I find, in all circumstances, and with the defendants having discharged the evidential burden of proof on them, that the prosecution has been unable to sustain its case on all six counts in the charge.

“The case, therefore, fails and it is dismissed. Instead, each defendant stands acquitted and is hereby discharged on each of the said counts in the charge,” Okunnu ruled.

Credit: Sundiata

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