The N449, 597,000 uncovered in an abandoned Bureau de Change shop in Victoria Island, Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has finally been forfeited to the Federal Government.
The order for its final forfeiture was made by the Lagos Federal High Court presided over by Justice Rilawan Aikawa.
Justice Aikawa’s order came after no one came up to lay claim to the discovered millions of money.
The EFCC had in a motion asked the court to order a forfeiture of the money believed to be proceeds of crime to the Federal Government.
But the judge on April 19, held that the money be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
He had adjourned the matter till Friday May 19, for one Mohammed Tauheed, who was joined as respondent in the suit, and any other interested party to appear before him to give reasons why the money should be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
When the case came up on Friday, counsel for the EFCC, Idris Mohammed, told the judge that the interim order of April 19 had been advertised in the newspaper on May 11, so as to bring the case to the notice of Tauheed and any other interested party.
He further said that outside the newspaper publication, that Tauheed was also served with the motion on notice.
Mohammed therefore prayed the court to order the permanent forfeiture of the money since neither Tauheed nor anyone else came forward to claim it.
Justice Aikawa, granting the application by the EFCC lawyer held, “This court ordered, among others, the respondent (Tauheed) and any other interested party to show cause, within 14 days, why the interim forfeiture of N449,597,000 should not be made final. As far as my record shows, neither the respondent nor any other interested party has filed any affidavit or any other process to show cause why the interim order should not be made final.
“In the instant case, the respondent has, additionally, not filed any process in response to the motion on notice. In the circumstances, I have no option but to grant the application as prayed.
“Accordingly, I hereby ordered that the sum of N449, 597,000 found in possession of the respondent, which sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful activity, be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.”
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