…Federal High Court
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the ultimate forfeiture of N131.237,800.00 and multi-million Naira property purchased with funds allegedly stolen from the Federal Ministry of Power by seven individuals and two corporations.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo made the order on Wednesday (December 18, 2019) following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The defendants are: Bilikisu Fatolu, Fatolu Shuaib Gbolahan, I. I. Ikwuegbu, Nwachukwu Ogbonna C., Elvic Hotel, Abdullahi Aminu Hamcheta, Shamia Exclusive International Ltd, Abdullahi Abubakar Danburam and Dada Matthew Olugbenga.
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The properties are situated in Abuja, Kaduna, Kogi and Nassarawa States.
They embody: A unit of three bedrooms, two models of outlets, a store in an open area, a plot of land, Elvic Hotel with an occasions corridor, generator home and appurtenances, a bit of land, eight models of outlets and restroom.
Others are: A plot of land, one unit of two bed room indifferent bungalow, two models of outlets, two hectares of land and financial institution drafts and cheques bearing the sum of N131.237,800.00.
The sums and properties had been first forfeited within the interim by Justice Dimgba J on October 19, 2018, pursuant to an ex parte application of September 28, 2018, filed by EFCC counsel O. O Adeola.
Granting his prayer, Justice Dimgba directed the EFCC to trigger to be revealed in The Nation Newspaper in order that any individual or company physique who might have curiosity within the properties and the sum of cash, might inside 14 days of the publication, present trigger why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
But, following Justice Dimgba’s switch to a different jurisdiction, the matter was assigned to Justice Taiwo.
At the hearing of the motion on discover on Dec 16, the EFCC knowledgeable the court that it had complied with the instruction and revealed the mentioned order in The Nation of November 5, 2018 and that the EFCC had succeeded in personally serving all of the defendants.
Granting the anti-graft company’s prayer for ultimate forfeiture, Justice Taiwo mentioned he had established service of the processes towards the defendants as may be seen from the data of the court.
He mentioned: “It implies that not one of the defendants can deny that they don’t seem to be conscious of this suit which has to do with forfeiture of their pursuits in properties, the subject material of this application, collectively or severally.
“I’ve gone by way of the affidavit earlier than me which stay unchallenged and uncontroverted.
“I’ve acknowledged above that the defendants are conscious of this suit. They filed no counter affidavit to indicate that the properties and the massive sum of cash discovered within the accounts of a few of them usually are not proceeds of crime.
“These defendants are mentioned to have stolen cash from the Ministry of Power by fraudulent schemes and that they had been arrested they usually all volunteered written statements.
“They were said to have acquired properties with the stolen money, yet they filed no counter affidavit to these very weighty allegations of criminality. In any case they were said to have admitted during investigation to have stolen the funds from the Ministry of Power.”
The choose famous that he could be failing in his obligation to not act based on the legislation and according to judicial precedent if he didn’t grant the application for ultimate forfeiture.
Justice Taiwo added: “I hereby order ultimate forfeiture of the properties listed within the schedule of property and properties hooked up to the motion on discover to the Federal Government of Nigeria. It implies that this application is meritorious.
“All the orders sought vide the application on notice dated the 19th day of November 2018 are hereby granted as prayed. This is the judgement of the court.”
Federal High Court
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