Court Reverses Order On Accounts Without BVN

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The federal high in Abuja, has revoked the October 17 order which placed an interim forfeiture order on bank accounts without bank verification number (BVN).

Recall, the federal government had on October 17, obtained a court order directing 19 affected commercial banks to freeze accounts without BVN and ultimately forfeit the funds in such accounts to the government.

However, according to Punch reports, Nnamdi Dimgba of the federal high court said the initial order needed modification as some parts of it were causing practical problems in terms of implementation.

He was quoted as saying: “Court engaged with all counsel to understand the practical problems posed by the Order of October 17, 2017, to the extent that it provides in Relief 4, ‘An interim order of the honourable court freezing the said accounts by stopping all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the accounts pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.’

“It was generally agreed that this relief as currently couched creates an awkward and unfortunate result such that even when parties have gone to the banks to undertake their BVN registration, they still will not be able to operate the accounts because doing so will be in violation of the order of court.

Parties agreed that the said Order No 4 should be revised to eliminate this problem, in the interim.

“Having listened to all counsel on record, and with the consent of all parties represented, I hereby revise Relief 4 of the court’s order of October 17, 2017 such that the new Relief 4 shall be: ‘An interim order of the honourable court stopping all outward payments, operations or outward transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the accounts pending the linking of the accounts to a Bank Verification Number.’

“In view of the above agreed compromise revision of Relief 4, I also hereby revoke and set aside Relief 5 of the court’s order of October 17, 2017, which provides for: An interim order of forfeiture of the monies in the said accounts without BVN to the claimants/applicants being accounts with insufficient Know Your Customer guidelines contrary to Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and CBN guidelines the determination of the originating motion on notice.”

Counsel for the 19 commercial banks, Adeniyi Adegbonmire, as well as  Joseph Tobi, who represented Abubakar Malami, attorney general of the federation, were reportedly properly briefed about the new development in the case.

The case has now been adjourned to December 11.

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