Court orders Emefiele to forfeit $1.4m bribery proceeds

Court orders Emefiele to forfeit $1.4m bribery proceeds

The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of $1,426,175.14 linked to the immediate-past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Ayokunle Faji ordered the final forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government.

The final forfeiture order followed an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday.

The anti-graft agency had earlier on May 29, 2014, secured an interim order temporarily forfeiting the money.

The judge ordered the publication of the court order in the newspapers to give anyone interested in the funds to appear in court and show cause why it should not be permanently forfeited.

At the Tuesday hearing, counsel for the EFCC, Mrs Bilkisu Buhari-Bala, said the commission had complied with the publication order and no one had come forward to claim the money.

According to her, the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities by Emefiele.

Buhari-Bala said investigation by the EFCC revealed that the ex-CBN governor received the dollars as kick-backs for approving forex allocation to multinational firms during the forex crisis in the country.

The EFCC lawyer said the court was empowered by Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-related Offences Act to make the forfeiture order.

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The forfeiture of the $1.4m on Tuesday comes only days after the same court ordered the permanent forfeiture of choice properties worth N12.18bn from Emefiele.

The forfeiture order was granted by Justice C.J. Aneke.

In an affidavit filed in support of the Tuesday forfeiture application, an EFCC investigator, David Jayeoba, said the anti-graft agency uncovered the money through credible and direct intelligence.

“Part of the said funds, which represent the proceeds of Godwin Emefiele and his cronies’ unlawful activities, are retained in the accounts now sought to be forfeited.

“Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi were procured by Godwin Emefiele and used to conceal, retain and disguise funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities”.

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