Money laundering: Court orders NDLEA to unfreeze suspect’s account
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to unfreeze the bank account of a drug suspect, Chukwunwendu Sylvester Ikejiakwu, which the agency had frozen over alleged money laundering, soon after the suspect’s arrest.
Ikejiakwu was arraigned in court by the NDLEA on a 13-count charge, including manufacturing and production of a banned drug (methamphetamine), exportation of narcotic drugs and forming and operating a drug trafficking organisation, among others.
His bank account was said to have been frozen with the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation through the Solicitor-General of the Federation in accordance with the NDLEA Act.
The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, ordered the unfreezing of the account containing N58.5 million suspected by the NDLEA to be proceeds of illicit drug trade.
In his ruling on a fundamental right application brought by the accused against the NDLEA, Justice Yunusa ordered the re-opening of the account on the ground that there was no Attorney-General of the Federation at the moment.
NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mitchel Ofoyeju who confirmed the development, said the Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Ahmadu Giade, described the ruling as unacceptable and promised to appeal it.
According to Giade, “the ruling is unacceptable and we are going on appeal. NDLEA will continue to fight tenaciously in preventing suspected members of drug trafficking organisations from enjoying proceeds of narcotic trade. The true position is that narcotic investigations are incomplete until criminal wealth is traced and confiscated.”
The NDLEA boss added that the support of the judiciary and other stakeholders remain vital to a successful anti-money laundering campaign.