Court Orders Forfeiture Of Cash, Properties, Belonging To Petroleum Equalisation Fund GM, Others

BEVERLY HILLS, November 01, (THEWILL) Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted three separate interim forfeiture applications by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) involving monies and properties.

The first involved the sum of $899,600 (Eight Hundred Ninety-nine Thousand, Six Hundred Dollars), belonging to one Abdallah Suleiman, which was forfeited to the federal government as it was established to be proceeds of fraudulent activities.

The ex parte application for the forfeiture was moved by counsel representing the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, who asserted that the Commission received intelligence bordering on money laundering regarding illicit funds stashed in an apartment, located in Wuse, Abuja. He said that based on the intelligence, the house was searched and a safe was found that contained the money.

He told the court that investigations revealed that the apartment was secured by a former secretary to the Bauchi State Government, Ibrahim Ahmed Dandija to store his valuables but that all efforts to get him have been futile as he has refused to honour the invitation to explain his connection to the money.

However, one Abdallah Suleiman later came forth to claim the money, stating that he engages in chartering of aircraft and that the money was received on behalf of a company. However, according to the EFCC counsel, investigations by the Commission failed to establish Suleiman’s claim.

Similarly, the court also ordered the interim forfeiture of N150 million (One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira), belonging to Nicholas Mutu Ebomo, who was the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

While moving the application for the forfeiture order, Iheanacho stated that the money was recovered by the EFCC in the course of investigating contracts awarded by the NDDC.

According to the prosecutor, Hon Ebomo received bribe and kickbacks to the tune of over N400 million (Four Hundred Million Naira).

In the same vein, the judge also ordered the interim forfeiture of a plaza and block of flats, belonging to Goddy Nnadi, General Manager, Corporate Services, Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board.

The plaza, a two storey building is located at Plot C46 5221 Road, Block XXIIC Gwarimpa II Estate, Abuja, while the set of four detached bungalows are located at Plot No 77, 525 Road, A Close, Kubwa Estate, Phase IV Abuja.

Iheanacho told the court that Nnadi received kickbacks from petroleum products dealers and contractors and thereafter acquired the properties to launder the funds received.

He further told the court that Nnadi has now voluntarily pledged to forfeit the properties to the federal government and therefore urged the court to grant the application against the properties.

Justice Giwa granted the prayers being sought with the previous conditions attached