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Government gets forfeited N6.4 billion, 23 properties

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Kola Aluko

• ICPC goes after Obono-Obla, court rules on Kalu Dec 2
The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the forfeiture of three landed properties belonging to Kola Aluko, an ally of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) valued the seized items located in Abuja and Lagos as $73 million and N350 million.

The anti-graft agency said the funds used to procure the properties were “reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.”

Following an ex parte application yesterday, Justice Mohammed Liman ordered that the assets be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.

EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the judge that Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act No. 14 2016 empowered the court to make such a forfeiture order.

An operative of the agency, Sambo Mayana, said Aluko’s investigation followed a “damning petition” from the Executive Chairman of the Coalition against Corrupt Leaders, Debo Adeniran.

After granting the forfeiture order, the judge directed the EFCC to publish it in a national newspaper before adjourning till November 12, 2019 for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited to government.

In a related development, the Federal High Court, Abuja has granted an order of interim forfeiture of 23 landed properties belonging to erstwhile chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina and his associates.

Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo gave the order after hearing an ex parte application filed by the EFCC.

The court also directed that the publication of the order be made in a national newspaper for any person(s) or body (ies) interested in the assets to show cause within 14 days to show cause why a final order of forfeiture should not be made.

The motion was moved by M.S. Abubakar, averring that the “accounts linked to Maina had a cumulative turnover of over N2.7 billion, 95 per cent of which was deposited into fraudulent accounts and fictitious names.”

This comes as the anti-graft organisation indicated intention to arraign him on Friday, October 25, 2019 before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering.

Besides, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) has declared the suspended chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, wanted for spurning its summons.

The announcement was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa.

Also yesterday, the Federal High Court in Lagos fixed December 2, 2019 for judgment in the trial of ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State and two others for an alleged f N7.1 billion fraud.

Justice Mohammed Idris spoke after the prosecution and defence adopted their written addresses and canvassed final arguments in the 12-year-old case.

Standing trial alongside Kalu are his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure as governor.


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