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Emefiele to forfeit another N11.1bn properties to Nigerian government



The federal high court sitting in Lagos has granted the federal government an order of interim forfeiture of properties valued at N11,140,000,000 linked to Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke issued the order following a motion ex parte filed and argued by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo.

The court’s order mandates the interim forfeiture of these properties to the Federal Government.

Oyedepo informed the court that Emefiele is suspected of purchasing these high-value properties, primarily located in upscale areas of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by proxy, using proceeds from fraud.

The EFCC also implicated three CBN staff members as Emefiele’s accomplices. Makinde Olubunmi, Obayemi Teben and Adebayo Akomolafe allegedly used their positions to secure retail and special allocations of foreign exchange for various companies in exchange for kickbacks.

Justice Aneke has ordered the EFCC to publish the forfeiture order in a newspaper to allow any interested parties to present reasons why a final forfeiture order should not be issued.

The case to June 21 for the hearing of the motion for final forfeiture.

This comes days after a similar the same court granted an interim forfeiture order to the Nigerian government for funds and properties suspected to be linked to corruption and unlawful activities involving close associates of Emefiele.

The order was issued by Justice Y. Bogoro on May 23, 2024, based on an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court papers revealed that the EFCC sought the forfeiture of funds held in various accounts and properties allegedly acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities. These accounts and properties are associated with individuals and entities connected to Emefiele and his allies.

The total amount in the forfeited accounts, both in dollars and naira, sums up to significant figures. Additionally, properties to be forfeited include real estate developments and land parcels across different locations in Nigeria.

The court also ordered the publication of the interim forfeiture order in newspapers to notify interested parties and provide them with an opportunity to contest the forfeiture within 14 days.

In its deposition, the EFCC investigator detailed the findings of the investigation, implicating Emefiele’s close associates in concealing and laundering funds acquired through illegal activities. The investigator highlighted the involvement of individuals and companies, such as Anita Joy Omoile and Lipam Investment Services Limited, in the alleged fraudulent activities.

Anita Joy Omoile, a close relative of Emefiele, was identified as a key figure in the scheme and has been declared wanted by the EFCC after evading arrest and failing to cooperate with the investigation.

The court adjourned the case to July 2, 2024, for further proceedings, while the EFCC continues its efforts to apprehend the suspects and recover the allegedly ill-gotten assets.

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