From Mike Ojo, Lagos
The Federal High Court in Lagos has frozen the Zenith Bank account of the Lagos State Number Plate Production Authority over alleged fraud of N3billion.
Justice Mohammed Idris gave the order following an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Idris said that the account would remain frozen pending the conclusion of EFCCa��s investigation into the fraud.
The freezing order also affected 32 other bank accounts belonging to companies, which were allegedly used to divert the N3billion from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.
In an affidavit attached to the ex-parte application, the EFCC said that its preliminary investigation revealed that the funds were diverted while Mr. Folorunsho Coker was the Managing Director of the agency.
The companies which accounts were frozen by the court include a law firm, Rimi and Partners, which, the EFCC said, has Cokera��s wife, Mrs. Aisha Rimi, as the sole proprietor.
Others 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 EFCC investigator, Olamide Sadiq, who deposed to the affidavit in support of the ex-parte application, said that the probe into the alleged N3billon fraud was informed by an intelligence received sometime in 2017 by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
According to him, the intelligence was to the effect that there were suspicious transactions on the account of Rimi and Partners, as there were a�?heavy inflows in excess of N3billion from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority,a�? into the account.
Sadiq said that investigation by the EFCC revealed that Rimi and Partners had 10 bank accounts with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
He said: a�?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.
a�?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.
a�?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.
a�?From preliminary investigations by the commission, the 2nd and 3rd respondents 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 agency,a�? he said.
From Mike Ojo, Lagos