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Court orders banks to unfreeze Peace Corps’ accounts

Court orders banks to unfreeze Peace Corps’ accountsJustice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday ordered banks to unfreeze the 24 accounts of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.

The accounts were frozen at the instance of the Police though an ex-parte order it secured on June 23.

John Ojogu, on behalf of Peace Corps, filed a motion on notice, dated July 5, praying the court to vacate its post-no-debit order freezing its accounts.

Also, Peace Corps prayed for an order directing Diamond Bank, and Stanbic IBTC to unfreeze its accounts.

Delivering ruling on the applicant’s motion on notice, the court relied on the sole issue formulated by James Idachaba, counsel to the Police.

The issue was: “Whether the ex-parte order made by the court on June 23, 2017 is not liable to be discharged or vacated by the court.’’

Justice Tsoho described the arguments of Mr. Idachaba, counsel to Police, in urging the court to dismiss the application of Peace Corps as “great effort without effect.”

The court held that the motion ex-parte dated June 13, was filed in bad fate and amounted to gross abuse of court process.

The judge noted that the police did not controvert the affidavit evidence of Peace Corps that facts were suppressed and issues misrepresented by the Police to obtain the ex-parte order.

The judge held that the police suppressed facts and misrepresented issues before securing the ex-parte order.

He said the police lawyer failed to show in his affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte how the Attorney-General of the Federation authorised him to act on his behalf.

“This inconsistent posturing of the Police adversely affected the validity of the ex- parte order granted by this court on June 23, 2017,” Mr. Tsoho said.

In addition, the court agreed with the submissions of counsel to Peace Corps that an “interim order” must be short.

“I therefore hold that if the Police desired anything more, it should not have come to this court by way of motion ex-parte, but through motion on notice, seeking an injunction,” Mr. Tsoho added.

In view of this, “the interim order made by this court on June 23, 2017 has been discharged; the order is set aside.’’(NAN)

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