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EFCC seeks final forfeiture of Emefiele’s properties, $1.4m allegedly domiciled in Titan Bank 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seeking a final forfeiture order of the Federal High Court Lagos against a $1.4 million allegedly linked to the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, including his multi-million-naira properties. 

The anti-graft agency maintains that the monies, which allegedly amount to proceeds of crime, are domiciled in Titan Bank to the knowledge of the embattled CBN governor. 

This proceeding on Wednesday is one of the several lawsuits instituted by the EFCC against Emefiele. 

EFCC claims 

  • In the motion exparte filed by counsel to the EFCC, Bilikisu Buhari-Bala, she accused the ex-governor of contravening Section 44 (2)(B) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Channels Television reports. 
  • That section states that no moveable property or any interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily except for the imposition of penalties or forfeiture for breach of any law, whether under civil process or after conviction for an offence.  
  • The lawyer argued that between 2021 and 2022, when accessibility to foreign exchange in Nigeria was difficult, several international entities operating in Nigeria had to resort to different means to source Forex. 

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

The lawyer stated,  

“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 of 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.

“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.” 

The lawyer contended that the motion should be granted in the interim so that the funds would be preserved till the conclusion of the case. 

What the judge said 

  • After hearing the prosecution on Wednesday, Justice Ayokunle Faji ordered the interim forfeiture of the money. 
  • The judge directed the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper so that any interested party could show cause why the funds should not be finally forfeited to the federal government. 
  • The judge subsequently fixed June 25 for a hearing on final forfeiture. 

More insights  

 Emefiele was suspended from office by President Bola Tinubu paving the way for an investigation into his office as CBN governor and subsequent prosecution. 

The suspended governor had also filed a fundamental Human rights suit against his prolonged detention before Justice O. Adeniyi. The application was granted. 

Emefiele was arraigned on a two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, on July 25, 2023. The matter was eventually withdrawn by the Attorney General of the federation and struck out by the court. 

On November 17, 2023, the EFCC arraigned the former CBN governor before Justice Muazu on a six-count charge bordering on procurement fraud. 

Emefiele pleaded “not guilty.” To the charge. EFCC later amended the charges before Justice Muazu and re-arraigned Emefiele. 

 

On April 4, 2024, the EFCC arraigned Emefiele before Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Lagos High Court over abuse of office bordering on alleged irregular allocation of billions of US dollars in foreign exchange. 

 

The suspended CBN governor pleaded not guilty, and the case is yet to be concluded. 

Justice Yellim Bogoro of another court division had ordered an interim forfeiture of the sums of $4,719,054, N830,875,611, and several multi-million-naira properties linked to Emefiele, following an application by the EFCC. 

 


Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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