Thursday, 4 October 2018

Federal High Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of N204.2m Ikoyi Property


Justice Chuka A. Obiozor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, ordered the final forfeiture of a property worth the sum of N204, 200,000 recovered from one Joy Obiageli Oti by the EFCC to the Federal Government.

The judge had, on April 25, 2018, ordered the interim forfeiture of the property, which is located at 20, Cameron Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, following an ex-parte application filed by the Commission.

The respondent, Oti, was said to have sold 3.02 hectares of land belonging to a company, Industrial Support Services Limited, to P.S. Investment Limited in the sum of N300, 000,000.00. Also, the respondent, in the bid to cover up the fraud, had opened an account domiciled in First Bank Plc in the name of Industrial Support Services, where she made herself the sole signatory to the account.

Consequently, the Chairman, P. S. Investment Limited, Patrick Sule Ugboma, issued a Zenith Bank manager cheque in favour of Industrial Support Services on October 22, 2007. The respondent, upon maturity of the cheque, allegedly bought the said property from the proceeds of the crime.

In his ruling on April 25, 2016, Justice Obiozor had ordered an interim forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government. The judge had further directed the Commission to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper within 14 days from the day of ruling for the respondent or anyone who is interested in the property to show cause why it should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The applicant, through its counsel, Idris Muhammed, subsequently filed a motion for the final forfeiture of the property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities. However, the respondent filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

In his ruling today, Justice Obiozor dismissed the preliminary objection and ordered the final forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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