FEDERAL Government through
the Attorney General of the
Federation, Abubakar Malami,
has alleged that the opposition
of the 19 commercial banks to an
order of the Federal High Court
in Abuja on the Bank Verification
Number, BVN, was a sign that
the banks were working against
the anti-corruption policy of the
current administration.
The court last month ordered
the banks to freeze all accounts
without Bank Verification
Number but the federal
government, in a response to
an application by the banks
challenging the jurisdiction of
the court to make the freezing
order of October 17, disclosed
that the banks also refused to
comply with the court order
directing them to disclose
the accounts in their custody
without BVN.
A counter-affidavit deposed
to by Usman Dakas, on behalf
of the federal government and
the AGF, stated, “The applicants
(he banks) do not wish to
comply with the interim order
of this court and disclose the
accounts without BVN and their
holders in order to frustrate
the plaintiffs’ anti-corruption
policies that would benefit the
entire nation.”
The government’s lawyer,
Danjuma Tyoden, also
canvassed similar argument in
his written address filed along
with the counter-affidavit.
He argued that the banks
were not only frustrating
government’s constitutional
responsibility to abolish
corrupt practices, but were
also opposing the court’s order
so that they could continue to
keep the funds in the accounts
without BVN, trade with funds
and at the end declare fat profits
for their various shareholders.
“In fact, if the defendants/
applicants have nothing to hide,
why are they refusing to file the
affidavit of disclosure as ordered
by this court?
“The funds in the accounts
not covered by BVN is not
their (banks) property, why are
they now scared of forfeiture
and crying more than the
bereaved, when the law allows
opportunity to be given to the
account holders to show cause
after publication, before a final
forfeiture order is made?”
The government also faulted
the banks’ contention that the
government’s suit filed under
Section 17 (1) of the Advance
Fee Fraud Act could only be
prosecuted by the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission.
The AGF and the federal
government argued that the
law did not bar them and
other government agencies,
taxed with the responsibility of
fighting corruption, from suing
under the said law.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had
on October 17, upon an ex parte
application by the AGF and the
federal government, ordered
the CBN and the 19 commercial
banks in the country to disclose
all accounts without BVN in
their custody and the balances
in such accounts.
Justice Dimbga adjourned until
December 11 for the hearing of
all pending applications before
the court.

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