BEVERLY HILLS, May 19, (THEWILL) – The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of N449,597,000 found in an abandoned Bureau de Change, BDC shop in Victoria Island, Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Delivering his ruling after listening to an application brought before him by the EFCC, Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered that the funds should be forfeited to the Federal Government as no one came forward to claim it.
The judge had earlier on April 19 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the money and adjourned till today for one Mohammed Tauheed, who was joined as respondent in the suit, and any other interested party to appear and give reasons why the money should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
Counsel for the EFCC, Idris Mohammed, told the judge on Friday 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 or any interested party.
He added that apart from the newspaper publication, Tauheed was also served with the motion on notice.
Mohammed then urged the judge to order the final forfeiture of the money since neither Tauheed nor anyone else came forward to claim it.
Granting the forfeiture application,
Justice Aikawa said, “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.”