…. As NDLEA moves to appeal judgement
Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, presided over by Justice Mohammed Yunusa has ordered the re-opening of a bank account containing fifty eight million, five hundred thousand (N58,500,000) naira suspected drug proceeds frozen by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The account was frozen with the consent of the Attorney General through the Solicitor General in accordance with the NDLEA Act.
In his ruling on a fundamental right application against the NDLEA, Justice Yunusa ordered the re-opening of the account on the ground that there is no Attorney General at the moment.
In his reaction, the chairman/chief executive of the anti-narcotic Agency, Ahmadu Giade described the ruling as unacceptable and promised to go on appeal.
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 organizations 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.
This is a case involving a suspected drug baron, Mr. Chukwunwendu Sylvester Ikejiakwu aka Blessed of Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State charged to court by the NDLEA on a 13 count charges involving manufacturing and production of methamphetamine as well as exportation of narcotic drugs, forming and operating a drug trafficking organisation among others.
The Agency took a proactive step in freezing his bank accounts and also securing interim forfeiture on his traced assets. While still in prison custody, Chukwunwendu arranged with his wife, Mrs. Ikejiakwu Chizoba Christiana in opening a bank account in the name of the wife’s younger sister, Ifeoma Chika Odili.
They also connived in collecting five years rent on one of the buildings the Agency had secured an interim forfeiture order on and lodged the money in the new bank account opened in the name of the younger sister to the wife.
Three days after the account was opened, the sister applied to the bank making wife of Chukwunwendu a signatory to the account. NDLEA got wind of the secret move and promptly froze the account with the consent of the Attorney General through the Solicitor General.
Interestingly, the bail application of Chukwunwendu had suffered a setback at the Federal High Court Awka where he is currently standing trial after the Agency discovered that the defense tendered fake medical documents in a desperate move to release him on bail.
Investigation by NDLEA revealed that the suspect shuttles between his country home in Ozubulu, Nnewi and his Ajao Estate home Isolo, Lagos where he resides. Chukwunwendu Sylvester Ikejiakwu is the group managing director of Blessed Group of Companies and hides under the cover of motorcycle parts business in running a drug cell that has international affiliation.
His companies include Blessed Benita Global Limited, Ideal Motorcycle Company Limited and God’s Special Enterprise Limited. He specializes in recruiting and sponsoring drug couriers to China, Malaysia, Turkey and Italy. He also pays his couriers an average of $5,000 dollars per trip. Investigation further revealed that Mr. Chukwunwendu unlawfully operates a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory in his premises located in Nnewi, Anambra State.