Justice Rilwan Mohammed Aikawa of a Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of N28.5million and several houses allegedly belonging to a Director of Accounts under the Lagos State Ministry of Public Works Corporation, Anifowoshe Mohammed Jamiu Alade, to the Federal Government.
The judge also directed the temporary forfeiture of many houses suspected to have been acquired by the civil servants through proceeds of crime to government.
The forfeited property are, “Six flats of three bedroom, six flats of two bedroom and six flats of 1 bedroom at Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin-Ile Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
“Four flats of three bedroom duplex at No. 6, Tunde Gabby Close, Dopemu Area, Pako Bus Stop Agege, Lagos State.
“1 plot of land at Queen’s Garden Estate off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and a semi-detached three bedroom flat and 1 unit of three bedroom Terrance at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate Arepo, Ogun State
The order was sequel to the granting of an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking temporary forfeiture of the fund and property for allegedly being proceeds of unlawful activities.
The application was filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act No. 14, 2006 and Section 44 (2)(b) of the Constitution.
Arguing the application, EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the court is empowered to grant the reliefs sought by the commission.
He argued that the money and property sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities, stolen, diverted and retained by Alade from the Public works Corporation, Lagos State.
After listening to Oyedepo’s submissions, Justice Aikawa ordered the temporary forfeiture of N28, 500, 000 recovered by the EFCC from Alade to the Federal Government.
The judge also directed the EFCC to notify the respondent in whose possession the property sought to be forfeited are found and recovered to appear before him and show cause within 14 days why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In addition, Justice Aikawa also directed the anti-graft agency to publicize the order in a national daily to allow the respondent or anyone who is interested in the property sought to be forfeited to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the property should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.
In an affidavit in support of the application deposed to by an EFCC operative, Zayyanu Halliru, it was averred that as a Director of Account, the respondent (Alade), was custodian initiator, first authorizer and final authorizer of the internet banking system.
The deponent averred that the respondent whilst being a Director of Finance, incorporated a company called MAJ Anny International Limited.
He was said to be a Director at the company and the sole signatory to its account.
He further averred that the respondent used his position and company’s account to divert public fund meant for Public Work Corporation, Lagos State.
“I know as a fact that we traced to the respondent, the sum of N106,095,960.00 (One Hundred and Six Million, Ninety Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty Naira) which sums he fraudulently stole from Public Works Corporation, Lagos State, to his personal Account No. 0015893001, domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank and converted same to his personal use.
“I know as a fact that we traced to the respondent, the sum of N223,373,475.00 (Two Hundred and Twenty Three Million, Three Hundred and Seventy Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Seventy Five Naira) which sums he fraudulently stole from Public Works Corporation, Lagos State to MAJ ANNY International Limited, being his company account domicile in Zenith Bank.
“The respondent used part of the proceeds of crime allegedly stolen from Public Work Corporation, Lagos State, to purchase and acquire the following property:
“Six flats of three bedroom, six flats of 2 bedroom and 6 flats of 1 bedroom at Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin ille Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
“Four flats of 3 bedroom duplex at No. 6 Tunde Gabby close, Dopemu Area Pako Bus Stop Agege, Lagos State.
“One plot of land at Queen’s Garden Estate off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“Semi-detached 3 bedroom flat and 1 unit of 3 bedroom Terrace at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate Arepo Ogun State.
“Out of the stolen funds highlighted above, the respondent purchased two property from a company called Property Mart Real Estate Investment Limited in the sum of N37,740,000.00 (Thirty Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Fourty Thousand Naira)”, the deponent averred.
The deponent further averred that N28, 500, 000 have so far been recovered from the respondent.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to January 16, 2018.