Tuesday, 7 November 2017

BVN: Banks Engage Law Firm To Appeal Court Ruling



The ongoing issue around a court order asking the Central Bank of Nigeria and 19 Deposit Money Banks to release the details of all accounts without the Bank Verification Number with a view to seizing the funds in them took a new twist on Monday as indications emerged that the lenders named in the suit had engaged the services of a top law firm to address the matter.

Already, the law firm has approached the court for an extension of time to appeal the court order.

Top bank executives privy to the development told our correspondent that all the affected lenders were ready to appeal the court order and had instructed the law firm to file for an extension of time to
do so.

“All the banks are ready to appeal the court order. We have engaged the services of a law firm to begin that process. The legal firm is expected to have filed the papers for an extension of time at the court. This will help us prepare for the proposed appeal,” a top executive of a tier-1 bank told our correspondent under the condition of anonymity on Monday.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had on October 17 ordered the forfeiture of all monies in bank accounts owned by corporate organisations, government agencies and individuals without the BVN.

The forfeiture order, which was issued by Justice Dimgba Igwe, while ruling on an ex parte application filed by the Federal Government through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, is not final yet.

The accountholders had 14 days to claim ownership of same and show cause why the amounts in them should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The court also ordered the banks to advertise the accounts without the BVN in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to those who might have any interest in them.

The court gave the order on October 17 following an application that was filed on September 28.

Justice Dimgba adjourned until November 16 for the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the sums in the accounts without the BVN.

The judge ordered the banks to file an affidavit of disclosure before the court, showing the names of the affected accounts, the account numbers, outstanding balances, domiciliary accounts and the bank branches where the accounts were domiciled.

The court directed that the order be equally served on the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Our correspondent gathered on Sunday that although the banks had started compiling the lists of accounts without the BVN, they were not in a hurry to publish the details of such accounts, especially before the November 16 scheduled for the substantive hearing on the case.

Meanwhile, the DMBs are also lobbying the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation to back down on the plan by the Federal Government to seize monies in the bank accounts of customers without the Bank Verification Number.


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