Again, Court Orders Forfeiture Of $1.4 Million Linked To Ex-CBN Gov, Emefiele

The Federal High Court in Lagos has once again issued an order for the temporary confiscation of $1.4 million connected to the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

The presiding judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, directed that the money be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The judge has instructed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper, giving interested parties 14 days to appear before the court and provide reasons why the final forfeiture order should not be granted.

Naija News understands that the funds in question are currently held in Donatone Limited’s account at Titan Bank Limited. The court has scheduled a hearing for June 25 to consider the final forfeiture of the money.

It is worth noting that on May 23, Justice Yellim Bogoro of the same court had ordered the interim forfeiture of $4,719,054, N830,875,611, and various properties also linked to Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the former CBN governor.

During today’s proceedings, counsel to the EFCC, Bilikisu Buhari-Bala, stated that the requested orders are in accordance with Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, as well as Section 44 (2)(B) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She further emphasized that the court possesses the legal authority, as outlined in Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006, to grant the relief being sought.

She said, “That the funds sought to be forfeited are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.”

Buhari-Bala also informed the court that the Exparte motion is backed by an affidavit sworn by David Jayeoba, an EFCC investigator.

In the sworn statement, the deponent mentioned that their commission received reliable and specific intelligence that led to the discovery of funds suspected to be proceeds of illegal activities stored in the Donatone Limited (DL) Titan Trust Bank account. These funds are believed to be linked to unlawful activities.

The deponent further explained that during the EFCC’s investigation into the significant fraud committed by the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his associates, a substantial amount of money was found hidden in the Donatone Limited account at Titan Trust Bank.

It was revealed during the investigation that individuals involved in the fraudulent concealment of funds, suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities by Emefiele, include the natural persons associated with Donatone Limited, Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi, who serve as directors at Donatone Limited.

The deponent further stated: “Between 2021 and 2022, when accessibility to Forex in Nigeria was difficult, several international entities operating in Nigeria had to resort to different means to source Forex.

“That Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi used the firm, to collect bribes and gratification on behalf of Godwin Emefiele, to get approval for accessing Forex. And that one of the entities (NP) paid a total sum of $26,552 million USD, into the account of a firm domiciled in Titan Trust account number 2000000500.

“That the said credits came into the account of the firm on November 9, 2021: $6,450,000; November 5, 2021: $6,050,000.00; December 16, 2021: $5,400,000.00; December 23, 2021: $652,000; January 31 2022; $3,000,000.00 and September 21, 2022: $5,000,000.00.

“The investigation traced the funds to having been fixed into interest-yielding accounts, dissipated and laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius, and transported back to Nigeria under disguise.

“That of the total sum of $26, 555, 000.00 US dollars received by the firm, the balance standing in the said account as at today is the sum of $1, 426, 175.14 million USD.

“That it is the balance in the account that the applicant seeks to forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has been traced to be the proceeds of unlawful activities of (GE) and his cronies. And that investigation further revealed that the international entities sourcing for forex were pressured into parting with huge funds to access forex during the period.

“That the signatories to the account warehousing the sum of $1, 426, 175.14 million USD, sought to be forfeited are at large and are making frantic efforts to dissipate the funds electronically. And based on our investigation findings, the funds sought to be forfeited are proceeds of unlawful activities of (GE) and his cronies. And that it is in the interest of justice to grant this application.”

Naija News reported earlier that Justice Yelim Bogoro had issued an order on May 25, 2024, for the interim forfeiture of $4.7m, N830m, and various property assets associated with Emefiele.

The funds that were forfeited to the Federal Government temporarily were reportedly held in First Bank, Titan Bank, and Zenith Bank, under the management of Omoile Anita Joy, Deep Blue Energy Service Limited, Exactquote Bureau De Change Ltd, Lipam Investment Services Limited, Tatler Services Limited, Rosajul Global Resources Ltd, and TIL Communication Nigeria Ltd.

As for the properties that were temporarily forfeited, they include 94 units of an 11-floor building under construction at 2, Otunba Elegushi 2nd Avenue (formerly Club) Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; AM Plaza, an 11-floor office space located at 1E, Otunba Adedoyin Crescent, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, Lagos; Imore Industrial Park 1, Esa Street, Imoore Land purchased with Deep Bive Industrial Town, Oriade LCDA, Amuwo Odofin LGA, Lagos, Mitrewood and Tatler Warehouse (Furniture Plant at Bogije) near Elemoro Lagos, Owolomi Village, Ibeju-Lekki LGA, Lagos, and two properties acquired from Chevron Nigeria, Closed PFA Fund, Block B. Lot twin completed property in Lakes Estate, Lekki, Lagos.

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