Alleged N3bn fraud: Court freezes Lagos State agency’s account with Zenith Bank
The Federal High Court in Lagos has frozen the Zenith Bank account of the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority over an alleged fraud of N3bn.
Justice Mohammed Idris made the freezing order following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge said the account would remain frozen pending the conclusion of EFCC’s investigations into the alleged N3bn fraud.
The freezing order also affected 32 other bank accounts belonging to companies, which were allegedly used to divert the N3bn from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.
In an affidavit attached to the ex parte application, the EFCC said its preliminary investigations revealed that the funds were diverted while Mr. Folorunsho Coker was the Managing Director of the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.
The companies whose accounts were also frozen included a law firm, Rimi and Partners, which, the EFCC said, had Coker’s wife, Aisha, as the sole proprietor.
Other companies whose accounts were frozen 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 investigator of the EFCC, Olamide Sadiq, who deposed to an affidavit in support of the ex parte application, said the probe into the alleged N3bn fraud was informed by 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 “heavy inflows in excess of N3bn from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority,” into the account.
Sadiq said investigation by the EFCC revealed that Rimi and Partners had 10 bank accounts with the Guaranty Trust Bank.
The investigator said, “Mr. Folorunsho Coker was, as of 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.
“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.
“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.”
“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 Lagos State Agency.”Punch