Court Orders Forfeiture of $1.4m Linked To Emefiele

May 29, 2024
Emefiele for terrorism financing

By Adedapo Adesanya

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has again ordered the interim forfeiture of the sum of $1.4 million linked to the embattled, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Ayokunle Faji ordered the forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government of Nigeria and adjourned the matter to June 25 for a hearing of the final forfeiture of the money.

The judge ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper for anyone interested in the money sought to be forfeited to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the said sum should not be made.

The court made the above orders while granting an ex parte application moved by the counsel to the EFCC, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari-Bala.

The money forfeited in the interim is said to be in Donatone Limited’s account and domiciled in Titan Bank Limited.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, Mrs Buhari-Bala told the court that the orders sought are pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, and Section 44 (2)(B) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She also said that the court had the statutory powers under the provisions of section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 to grant the reliefs being sought.

“That the funds sought to be forfeited are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities,” she said.

Mrs Buhari-Bala also told the court that the motion Exparte is supported by an affidavit deposed to by one David Jayeoba, an investigator with the EFCC.

In the affidavit, the deponent stated that his commission received credible and directed intelligence which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities warehoused in the Donatone Limited (DL) Titan Trust Bank account, which funds are reasonably suspected to be part of proceeds of unlawful activities.

The deponent stated that the EFCC whilst investigating the alleged monumental fraud carried out by Mr Emefiele and his cronies, discovered a huge amount of money warehoused and concealed in the account of Donatone Limited, domiciled in Titan Trust Bank.

He stated that investigation revealed that some of the brains behind the fraudulent concealment of funds reasonably suspected to have been proceeds of unlawful activities of Emefiele are the natural persons behind Donatone Limited, Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi, who are directors at Donatone Limited.

The deponent further stated the following “Between 2021 and 2022, when accessibility to Forex in Nigeria was difficult, several international entities operating in Nigeria had to resort to different means to source Forex.

“That Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi used the firm, to collect bribes and gratification on behalf of Godwin Emefiele, to get approval for accessing Forex. And that one of the entities (NP) paid a total sum of $26,552 million, into the account of a firm domiciled in Titan Trust account number 2000000500.

“That the said credits came into the account of the firm on November 9, 2021: $6,450,000; November 5, 2021: $6,050,000.00; December 16, 2021: $5,400,000.00; December 23, 2021: $652,000; January 31 2022; $3,000,000.00 and September 21, 2022: $5,000,000.00.

“The investigation traced the funds to having been fixed into interest-yielding accounts, dissipated and laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius, and transported back to Nigeria under disguise.

“That of the total sum of $26, 555, 000.00 US Dollars received by the firm, the balance standing in the said account as at today is the sum of $1, 426, 175.14 million.

“That it is the balance in the account that the applicant seeks to forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has been traced to be the proceeds of unlawful activities of (GE) and his cronies. That investigation further revealed that the international entities sourcing for forex were pressured into parting with huge funds to access forex during the period.

“That the signatories to the account warehousing the sum of $1, 426, 175.14 million USD, sought to be forfeited are at large and are making frantic efforts to dissipate the funds electronically. And based on our investigation findings, the funds sought to be forfeited are proceeds of unlawful activities of (GE) and his cronies. And that it is in the interest of justice to grant this application.”

It would be recalled that Justice Yelim Bogoro had on May 25, 2024, ordered an interim forfeiture of $4.7m, N830m, and some property assets linked to Emefiele

The monies forfeited to the federal government in the interim were said to be warehoused in First Bank; Titan Bank and Zenith Bank, being operated by Omoile Anita Joy, Deep Blue Energy Service Limited, Exactquote Bureau De Change Ltd; Lipam Investment Services Limited, Tatler Services Limited, Rosajul Global Resources Ltd and TIL Communication Nigeria Ltd.

While the properties forfeited in the interim are: His properties forfeited to the Federal Government include 94 Units of an 11-floor building under Construction at 2, Otunba Elegushi 2nd Avenue (Formerly Club) Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; AM Plaza, 11-floor office space, situate on 1E, Otunba Adedoyin Crescent, and Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, Lagos.

Others are Imore Industrial Park 1, Esa Street, Imoore Land purchased with (Deep Bive Industrial Town, Oriade LCDA, Amuwo Odofin LGA, Lagos, Mitrewood and Tatler Warehouse (Furniture Plant at Bogije) near Elemoro Lagos, Owolomi Village, Ibeju-Lekki LGA, Lagos and two properties purchased from Chevron Nigeria, Closed PFA Fund, Block B. Lot twin completed property in Lakes Estate, Lekki, Lagos.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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