Politics

Court orders Emefiele to forfeit $1.4m bribery proceeds

The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, ordered the ultimate 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 ultimate forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government.

The closing forfeiture order adopted an utility by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday.

The anti-graft company had earlier on May 29, 2014, secured an interim order briefly forfeiting the cash.

The decide ordered the publication of the court docket order within the newspapers to offer anybody within the funds to seem in court docket and present trigger why it shouldn’t be completely forfeited.

At the Tuesday listening to, counsel for the EFCC, Mrs Bilkisu Buhari-Bala, mentioned the fee had complied with the publication order and nobody had come ahead to say the cash.

According to her, the funds had been proceeds of illegal actions by Emefiele.

Buhari-Bala mentioned investigation by the EFCC revealed that the ex-CBN governor obtained the {dollars} as kick-backs for approving foreign exchange allocation to multinational corporations in the course of the foreign exchange disaster within the nation.

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

The forfeiture of the $1.4m on Tuesday comes solely days after the identical court docket ordered the everlasting forfeiture of selection properties price N12.18bn from Emefiele.

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

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In an affidavit filed in assist of the Tuesday forfeiture utility, an EFCC investigator, David Jayeoba, mentioned the anti-graft company uncovered the cash via credible and direct intelligence.

“Part of the mentioned funds, which characterize the proceeds of Godwin Emefiele and his cronies’ illegal actions, are retained within the accounts now sought to be forfeited.

“Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi had been procured by Godwin Emefiele and used to hide, retain and disguise funds moderately suspected to be proceeds of illegal actions.

“Between 2021 and 2022, when accessibility to foreign exchange in Nigeria was troublesome, a number of worldwide entities working in Nigeria needed to resort to totally different means to supply foreign exchange.

“Both Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi used to gather bribes and gratification on behalf of Godwin Emefiele to get approval for accessing foreign exchange.

“One of the entities paid a complete sum of $26,552,000.00 into the account domiciled in Titan Trust account quantity 2000000500.

“The mentioned credit got here into the account on the ninth of November 2021: $6,450,000; fifteenth of November 2021: $6,050,000.00; sixteenth of December 2021: $5,400,000.00; twenty third of December 2021: $652,000, 31th January 2022: $3,000,000.00 and on the twenty first September 2022: $5,000,000.00.

“The investigation traced the funds to having been mounted into interest-yielding accounts, dissipated and laundered via a international account in Mauritius, and transported again to Nigeria below disguise.

“Of the whole sum of $26, 555, 000.00 obtained by Donatus Limited, the stability standing within the mentioned account as of at present is $1,426, 175. 14.

“It is the stability within the account that the applicant seeks to forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has been traced to be the proceeds of illegal actions of Godwin Emefiele 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. And that the signatories to the account warehousing the sum of $1,426, 175.14) sought to be forfeited are at large and are making frantic efforts to dissipate the funds electronically.”

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