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HomeTop NewsFormer CBN Governor Emefiele loses over N12 bln in property forfeiture case

Former CBN Governor Emefiele loses over N12 bln in property forfeiture case

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In a significant ruling, the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of properties valued at over N12.18 billion linked to the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, to the Federal Government.

The Judge, Chukwujekwu Aneke made the order on Friday after reviewing an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), represented by counsel Chineye Okezie. This follows a temporary forfeiture order issued on June 5, 2024.

Properties Acquired with Fraud Proceeds

The EFCC, represented initially by Senior Advocate of Nigeria Rotimi Oyedepo, presented evidence suggesting that Emefiele acquired the properties using proceeds from fraudulent activities.

The properties, located primarily in the highbrow areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were allegedly purchased by proxy.

Accomplices and Allegations

The EFCC named two current CBN staff members, Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo, and one former CBN staffer, Olubunmi Makinde, as accomplices in the alleged fraud.

According to the affidavit filed by the EFCC, these individuals used their positions within the CBN to secure favorable foreign exchange allocations for various companies in exchange for kickbacks.

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Court Proceedings

The properties were listed in two schedules, A and B. The court ordered the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper, allowing interested parties to contest the final forfeiture. However, no parties appeared in court to challenge the interim order.

On June 21, after reviewing a 41-paragraph affidavit by EFCC Investigating Officer Michael John Idoko, along with 19 exhibits and a written address by Okezie, Justice Aneke granted the final forfeiture order.

Details of Forfeited Properties

  • Schedule A: Includes shops and apartments in Cadastral Zones Maitama and Wuse.
  • Schedule B: Encompasses lands and apartments purchased on behalf of Oluwaseun, valued at a total of N1.04 billion.

Justice Aneke’s Order

Justice Aneke stated, “Having carefully considered the application and submission of counsel, it is hereby ordered as follows: – that a final forfeiture order of this honourable court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule A herein which were traced and reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

Regarding Schedule B, the judge added, “That a final forfeiture order of this Honourable Court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule B herein, which properties were traced to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

This ruling underscores the Federal Government’s commitment to combating corruption and recovering assets acquired through fraudulent means.

The EFCC’s successful application for the forfeiture of these properties marks a significant step in holding public officials accountable for their actions.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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