Invictus Obi: Court orders temporary forfeiture of Obi’s N280 million
A Federal High Court in Lagos Monday ordered the temporary forfeiture of Obinwanne Okeke’s N280,555,010.65 currently in his company’s accounts – Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.
Okeke is currently standing trial in the United States of America over an alleged $11m cyber fraud.
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said that the two firms were owned by Obinwanne Okeke, “a strong leader of a cybercrime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.”
Subsequently, Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sums of N240,250,904.46 and N40,304,106.19 in the two accounts.
EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo said the funds were “reasonably suspected” to be proceeds of cybercrime and urged the judge to order its forfeiture to the Federal Government to prevent Okeke from dissipating same.
In an affidavit filed in support of the application, EFCC investigator, Ariyo Muritala, said the commission assigned him and others to investigate a request for information on Okeke and three others by the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Legal Attache, US Consulate General.
Okeke was arrested in August by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was subsequently charged to court on a 2-count charge of wire and computer fraud.
“There is a probable cause to believe Okeke has conspired with several individuals to access computers without authorisation and using such access to cause the fraudulent wire transfer of funds,” FBI’s special agent Marshall Ward said in an affidavit he deposed to before Justice Lawrence Leonard, in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 2.
United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Okeke and at least six other persons were involved in the crimes.
He pleaded not guilty. The court adjourned the case till February 18, 2020, while he was ordered to be remanded in prison until the trial would continue.
Okeke was the head of Invictus Group, with interests in Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. Forbes magazine named him as one of its top African entrepreneurs under thirty in 2016.