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Court orders permanent forfeiture of N1.44b syphoned from Governor’s forum account to FG

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A Feddral High Court in Lagos, yesterday, ordered the permanent forfeiture of a total of N1.44billion found in the bank accounts of three firms, which allegedly impersonated the consultants engaged by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to analyse the Paris/London Club loan refunds due to the states.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which obtained the forfeiture order, claimed that the defendants obtained N3.5billion from the NGF by making false claims.

Listed as defendants in the final forfeiture application filed before the court were Melrose General Services Limited, WASP Networks Limited and Thebe Wellness Services.

The firms were accused of impersonating the NGF’s consortium of consulting firms engaged by the Forum for the “verification, reconciliation and recovery of over-deductions on Paris and London Club loans on the accounts of states and local governments between 1995 and 2002.”

The EFCC said the original firms engaged by the Forum were GSCL Consulting and Bizplus Consulting Services Limited.

But an investigator with the EFCC, Usman Zakari, said the alter ego of the first defendant, Melrose General Services Limited, Robert Mbonu, made a false representation to the Forum, causing it to pay N3.5billion to his company on December 14, 2016.

Zakari said the money was credited into the Access Bank Plc account of Melrose General Services Limited, adding that the respondents dissipated and laundered about N2.3billion out of the money between December 15, 2016 and January 20, last year, leaving a balance of N1.2billion.

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