The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an order of interim forfeiture of 14 properties and firms in Lagos, Abuja, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) allegedly linked to fraud by some Kogi State government officials.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted the order sequel to an ex parte motion filed and argued by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN.
Justice Oweibo also authorised the EFCC to confiscate N400 million recovered from one Aminu Falala in connection with the alleged fraud.
Oyedepo told the judge that the application followed the EFCC’s probe of “damning intelligence of monumental fraud allegedly perpetrated by some principal officers of Kogi State Government and their cronies.”
The senior lawyer alleged that through the fraud “huge sums of money belonging to the Kogi State Government were fraudulently converted and used to either outrightly acquire properties or renovate already existing but dilapidated buildings” within and outside Nigeria.
He informed the judge in suit FHC/L/CS/301/2023 that the properties, including the one in the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE, were reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity.
The judge directed the (EFCC) to publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days for any interested party to show cause why the forfeiture order should not be made permanent.
He adjourned till March 28 for a report on compliance with the order.
The EFCC’s motion ex-parte dated February 17, 2023, sought a “preservation order of properties reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity pursuant to sections 9 and 10 of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 and Section 44(2)B of the 1999 Constitution.