Published On: Wed, Jun 7th, 2017

UPDATED: Court Orders Final Forfeiture of Ikoyi’s N13bn to FG

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday has ordered the permanent forfeiture of Ikoyi’s N13bn
recovered from No 16, Osborne Road, Flat 7B Osborne Towers Ikoyi, and Lagos to the Federal Government.

The anti-graft agency had earlier on April 13, 2017 obtained an interim court order temporarily forfeiting the funds to the Federal Government.

Justice Muslim Hassan, who granted the interim order, had given 14 days for anyone interested in the funds to appear before him to show cause
why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

But on May 5, 2017 when the matter came up, no one came before the judge to claim the money.

However, a private legal practitioner, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, appeared before the judge with an application,
urging the judge to suspend the final forfeiture proceedings pending when a three-man panel
constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in relation to the funds would submit its report.

The panel, headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was to probe the claim and counter-claim of the
Nigeria Intelligence Agency and Rivers State Government to the funds.

But the EFCC had opposed Ogungbeje’s application and urged Justice Hassan to dismiss it and go ahead with the
forfeiture proceedings.

Ruling on Tuesday, Justice Hassan upheld the EFCC’s submission and dismissed Ogungbeje’s application for
lacking in merit.

The Judge described the application as totally strange, noting that having not appealed against the interim
forfeiture order, Ogungbeje had no right to seek a stay of proceedings in the case.

The judge, who noted that Ogungbeje was not a party in the suit filed by the EFCC, described the lawyer as a meddlesome
interloper and a busybody, adding that his application was strange to law.

He advised the lawyer to explore the Freedom of Information Act if he wanted information from the Federal Government on
the findings of Osinbajo’s panel.

Having dismissed Ogungbeje’s application, the judge subsequently made an order permanently forfeiting the funds
to the Federal Government, noting that no one had appeared to show the cause why the permanent forfeiture order should not be made.

Justice Hassan held, ‘’I am in complete agreement with the submission of the learned counsel for the applicant (EFCC)
that the property sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful
activities and that by every standard, this huge sum of money is not expected to be kept without going through a designated financial institution: more so,
nobody has shown cause why the said sum should not be forfeited to the Federal Government. Having regard to the foregoing, I have no other
option than to grant this application as prayed.

‘’For the avoidance of any doubt, I hereby make the following orders: A final order is made forfeiting the sum
of N13bn found in No, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, to the Federal Government.

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