The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered that the accounts of Bamboo Systems Technology Limited and Bamboo Systems Tech. Ltd to be unfrozen temporarily to enable them to pay salaries and rent.
Recall, three weeks ago, that the Central Bank of Nigeria had frozen the accounts of fintech companies Bamboo, Risevest, Trove, and Chaka. The CBN alleged that all four companies were complicit in operating without a license as asset management companies and utilizing FX sourced from the Nigerian FX market for purchasing foreign bonds/shares in contravention of the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/012, dated July 01, 2015.
In an ex-parte motion filed by Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, on behalf of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the apex bank called for a scrutiny of the financial activities of the four fintech companies and pushed for immediate temporary freezing of their accounts. The court granted the order to temporarily freeze the bank accounts of Bamboo, Risevest, Chaka, and Trove, for 180 days (6 months).
To lift the order, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited and Bamboo Systems Tech. Ltd filed an application praying for a variation because they needed funds to pay rent and salaries of their staff. Chiezohu Okpoko, counsel to the two firms, told the court on Tuesday that his clients were also seeking an amicable resolution of the matter.
Chief Michael Aondoakaa, SAN, counsel to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), did not stand against the application for variation. “They want a partial variation to allow them access funds to pay rent and workers’ salaries; they also want an amicable settlement,” he said. He added that the Central Bank was open to an amicable agreement and that all it wants is that fintech companies, such as Bamboo, operate within the guidelines of the law.
Ruling on the application, the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohamed granted the prayer for partial variation of the order and ordered the accounts of the companies to be unfrozen.“An order is hereby made varying the freezing order of this court made on August 17, as it affects the 2nd and 3rd respondents,” he said.“This is to allow the companies to pay rent on the property they are occupying, pay salaries of workers and allow for an amicable settlement,” he added.
The court adjourned the matter to February 17, 2022, which is after the initial 180 days period ends. The Central Bank had said that it would investigate “illegal” foreign exchange transactions of all the companies during the six months.