Court Orders Interim Forfeiture of N400m, Multi-Billion Naira Assets in Lagos, Dubai Linked To Kogi Government Officials
14 properties located in Lagos, Abuja, and the United Arab Emirates that areconnected to the Kogi State Government have been ordered temporarily forfeited by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos (EFCC).
Following an ex parte motion by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted the temporary forfeiture order on Wednesday.
Additionally, Justice Oweibo gave the EFCC permission to seize N400 million that had been taken from one Aminu Falala in connection with the suspected fraud.
The application was a result of the EFCC's investigation into "damning intelligence of mammoth fraud allegedly perpetrated by several prominent executives of Kogi State Government and their associates," EFCC prosecutor Oyedepo told the judge. "Huge sums of money belonging to the Kogi State Government were fraudulently converted and used to either outright acquire properties or refurbish already existing but decaying buildings," the senior attorney claimed through the fraud.
He disclosed to the judge in case FHC/L/CS/301/2023 that it was a reasonable suspicion that the properties came from illegal activities.
Oyedepo further informed the court that the N400 million was "planned to be utilized for the acquisition of Plot No. 1224 Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos" and that there was a reasonable suspicion that it had come from illegal activities The forfeiture order must be published in a national newspaper by the (EFCC) within 14 days for any interested parties to provide justification for why it should not be made permanent.
He postponed the report on order compliance until March 28.
The EFCC requested 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" in its motion ex-parte dated February 17, 2023.
Block 'D', Manzini Street, Wuse Zone 4 Abuja; Plot A 02/176 Block 488B, Lome Street, Wuse 1 Abuja; Fair Plus International Limited at No. 2 Kubwa Resettlement Area Cadastral Zone E1 Abuja; Fair Plus International Limited at No. 41 Ikorodu Road, Jibowu, Mushin, Lagos State; and Plot No. 1160 within Cadastral Zone CO3, Gwarimpa II District, Abuja
Burj Khalifa, Plot 160, Municipality No. 345-7562, Sky View Building No. 1, Property No. 401, Floor 4, Dubai is the name of the UAE property. U.A.E.
Others include Plot No. 2934A, Cadastral Zone A06, commonly known as No. 1 Ikogosi Spring Close, Maitama District, Abuja; Plot No. 1058, measuring approximately 1450.77 square meters in Cadastral Zone AO8, Wuse 2; Plot No. 1981, Maitama District; and the purported N400 million recovered from Falala.
Adekunbi Mojibola, an EFCC officer who was a member of the team that investigated the issue, testified in an affidavit that the Kogi State government opened account number 1010662710 with Zenith Bank Plc under the name Kogi State Government House Admin.
In her affidavit, she claimed that between February 2016 and September 3, 2021, the account's owner hired Abdulsalam Hudu to extract N46,039,579,919.38 (billion) in cash.
The deponent asserted that between March 23, 2016, and April 30, 2018, one Comfort Olufunke was "equally procured to make a cash withdrawal of N2,402,533,621.00 (billion) from the same account."
According to her, between August 6 and September 29, 2019, Hudu "withdrew the total sum of N612,650,000 (million) in cash while fraudulently working in concert with his syndicate from an account known as Kogi State House Administration (operation) with account number 0793190623 domiciled in Access Bank."
She claimed that between February 2016 and October 22, 2021, "Hudu made a cash withdrawal of N34,206,890,170.50 (billion) from the account known as Government House Admin Lokoja with account number 1003889575 domiciled in United Bank for Africa in a desperate attempt to conceal the proceeds of the several unlawful activities while working in concert with other principal officers of the state" (UBA PLC).
A look at the registers, according to the deponent, "has revealed that about N7,900,000,000 (Billion) from the cash withdrawals made by Abdulsalam Hudu and his friends from the account of Kogi State Government were concealed in the care and custody of Murtala Maigari and his colleagues."