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Court orders final forfeiture of over N12.18b properties linked to Emefiele

THE Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday issued a final ruling confiscating properties worth more than N11.14 billion and an additional N1.04 billion linked with former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, to the Federal Government.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the permanent forfeiture following a petition presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and argued by their legal representative Chineye Okezie.

Earlier, on June 5, 2024, the court had upheld the EFCC’s request for a temporary forfeiture of the assets, which were suspected to have been acquired by Emefiele through fraudulent means.

The EFCC also named two current and one former CBN employees as part of Emefiele’s alleged accomplices in the illicit activities.

Court orders final forfeiture of over N12.18b properties linked to Emefiele

The properties, primarily situated in upscale areas of Abuja, were listed in two schedules, A and B.

The court ordered the publication of the interim forfeiture in a national newspaper to allow any interested party to contest the final forfeiture decision.

When the case resumed on June 21, with no opposition to the interim order, the court granted the motion for permanent forfeiture, as requested by Chineye Okezie.

The properties listed in Schedules A and B were confirmed by the judge to have been acquired through unlawful means and were consequently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The judge said: “Having carefully considered the application and submission of counsel, it is hereby ordered as follows: – that a final forfeiture order of this honourable court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule A herein which were traced and reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

For Schedule B, Justice Aneke added: “That a final forfeiture order of this Honourable Court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule B herein which properties were traced to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

These properties comprised various shops, apartments, and lands, some of which were acquired on behalf of individuals associated with the fraud scheme.

According to the affidavit, Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo working with Olubunmi Makinde “used their positions and Influence as CBN staff to secure retail and Special allocation of Foreign Exchange to different companies in exchange for kickbacks.

“That Olubunmi Makinde is the link between Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo and the various companies applying for the purchase of foreign exchange.

“That Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo as staffs of the Central Bank of Nigeria has access to the bidding processes and bidding Data of companies who has applied for the approval of form Ms to the CBN through their various commercial banks.”

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