Court orders temporary forfeitures N28.5m, houses linked to Lagos Director

..As Congolese surrenders $700,000 to FG

From: Lukman Olabiyi

Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered that the sum of N28.5 million, found in the account of a Director of Account, Lagos State Ministry of Public Works Corporation, Anifowoshe Muhammed Jamiu Alade, to be temporary forfeited to the Federal Government,  for being proceeds of unlawful activities.

Apart from the said N28.5 million, Justice Idris, also ordered that six flats of three bedroom, another six flats of two bedroom, and six flats of 1 bedroom, located at Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin-Ile Igbogbo-Ikorodu, and four flats of three Bedroom duplex, located at 6, Tunde Gabby Close, Dopemu Area, Pako Bus Stop Agege, linked  to the director  be temporary forfeited as well.

The court  made the order while granting an Ex-parte application filed  by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, and argued by Muhammad Idris, lawyers to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), against the director.

The court also ordered interim  forfeiture a semi-detached three bedroom flat, and one unit of three bedroom terrance at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate Arepo, Ogun State, and a  plot of land situated at Queen’s Garden Estate off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, to the Federal Government of Nigeria, for also being proceeds of unlawful activities.

Justice Idris, however, ordered the EFCC to  publish the order granted in a National newspaper notifying the respondent in whose possession the properties sought to be forfeited, are found and recovered to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be forfeited to FG.

The EFCC in an affidavit deposed to by one of its investigators, Zayyanu Halliru, stated that the respondent is a Director of Accounts under the Ministry of Public Works Corporation, Lagos State, who is also a custodian initiator, first authorizer and final authorizer of the internet banking system of Public Work Corporation, the State.

The deponent averred that the respondent while as Director of Finance Incorporated a company called, Maj Anny International Limited, which he is one of the Director of the company and sole signatory to the company’s account, and  used his position to divert public fund meant for Public Work Corporation,  the state.

The matter has been adjourned till January 16, 2018 for hearing”.

In a related development,  Justice   Rilwan Mohammed Aikawa of the same court has also ordered that a Congolese  businessman, Ani Paulinus Onyeka, should forfeit $700,000 out of the $1, 909,140 he allegedly laundered to FG

Onyeka who was accused of laundering $1, 909,140 has entered into a plea bargain arrangement with EFCC.

The judge had on October 25, ordered Onyeka’s arrest for refusing to show up in court to answer to a money laundering charge slammed on him by the anti-graft agency.

The commission also filed a two count-charge against the businessman over his failure to declare the sum of $1, 909,140, which he allegedly laundered from the Republic of Congo to the men of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

However, at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday the accused person owned up to the alleged offence after entering into a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC.

Reviewing the fact of the case after Onyeka’s guilty plea, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the defendant was handed over to the commission following his arrest on February 23, 2014 with $1, 909,140 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport by men of NCS.

He said the defendant who claimed to be a Congolese, disclosed in his statement that the money was given to him by one, Ikechukwu Frank, for delivery to one, Jude Okoye.

The lawyer added that the businessman was arrested by men of the NCS while attempting to deliver the money without going through any financial institution.

Oyedepo also displayed a letter from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showing that the money is in its custody. He also revealed that the commission had signed a plea bargain agreement dated December 4, 2017, with the accused person.

He subsequently urged the court to convict the defendant in view of his plea and overwhelming evidences against him.

Sentencing the accused person, Justice Aikawa ordered that the businessman should forfeit $700, 000 to the Federal Government out of the seized money.

A breakdown of the money to be forfeited by the defendant showed that he was given an option of fine of $50, 000 while he is also to forfeit $650, 000 to the Federal Government.

According to the judge, the money which is to be paid from the recovered $1, 909,140, that was kept in the safe custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to be credited to the consolidated fund of the federation.

“The remaining sum of $1, 209, 140 should be released to the defendant through a designated financial institution in strict compliance with the provisions of Section 1 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as amended.

“The defendant shall within seven days after the payment of the fine imposed by the court, enter into a bond with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) never to be involved in economic and financial crimes within and outside the shores of Nigeria”, Justice Aikawa held.

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Author: Segun Adio