Wilson Uwujaren, Head of Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that the freezing of accounts of those being investigated for financial crimes is lawful and not vindictive as speculated, adding that the action was a lawful mandatory investigative step.
“Indeed, Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 empowers the commission to freeze any account suspected of being used for financial crimes,” Uwujaren said.
He said the section empowers the commission’s chairman or any authorised officer to order the freezing of such account if he was satisfied that the money in the account was made fraudulently, adding that the commission by the Act has the power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate authority to freeze such account.
“It is without prejudice to the social standing of the holder of such accounts or whether they are individual, corporate or government accounts.
“Freezing orders are incidental to investigation and doing otherwise will jeopardise the prospects of recovering stolen assets,” the statement said.
The anti-graft agency, EFCC also took to its official facebook page and wrote; “In recent times, a lot of interest has been generated by the action of the Commission in freezing the accounts of suspects that were investigated or are currently being investigated.
“Some commentators have tended to ascribe vindictive motives to this action. In order to prevent misinformation, it is imperative to explain the reason behind the Commission’s actions in this regard.
“Freezing of accounts suspected of being used for commission of financial crimes is a mandatory investigative step backed by law.”