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‘N333m loan’: Court unfreezes Benue salary accounts

‘N333m loan’: Court unfreezes Benue salary accounts
November 06
17:47 2021

A federal high court sitting in Abuja has ordered that the salary accounts of Benue state be unfrozen, following a plea by the government over inability to pay workers’ salaries.

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Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, gave the order on Friday after an application was moved by Terkura Pepe, counsel to the state government.

The salary accounts to be unfrozen are domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Access Bank Plc.

The court had, on October 27, made an interim order freezing the bank accounts of the Benue state government over its involvement in securing a “N333 million loan” in 2008.

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The order was given following an ex-parte motion brought by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The judge had also directed that the bank accounts of HPPS Multilink Services Ltd, a firm, be frozen pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive suit.

While AMCON is the claimant, the company and the state government are first and second respondents, respectively.

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The ex-parte motion, in suit number: FHC/ABJ/AMC/74/2021 dated and filed on September 30, was moved by Darlington Ozurumba, counsel to AMCON.

In the affidavits in support of the suit, AMCON told the court that the first respondent (the firm), which has its office in Kaduna state, had collected a N333 million loan facility from Bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank Ltd) on January 31, 2008 “for the purpose of purchasing 5,000 pieces of motorcycles to the 2nd defendant and its workers through the Nigeria Labour Congress of its state vide an irrevocable standing payment order (ISPO)”.

But at the court session on Thursday, Terkura Pepe, counsel to the Benue government, asked for the interim order to be set aside because it has “incapacitated” the state.

According to NAN, at the resumed sitting on Friday, the judge granted the reliefs sought by Benue government, and directed that the order should be complied with within 14 days, after which a refreezing order would be issued if the matter has not been resolved by the parties involved in the suit.

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Ekwo also directed the applicant to engage AMCON with a view to resolving the matter.

The matter has been adjourned till November 22 for mention.

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