Ownership of cash recovered by EFCC sparks controversy
Court orders forfeiture of money to FG
The ownership of the building where huge amounts of cash were recovered in local and foreign currencies on Wednesday was yesterday greeted with controversy as some prominent Nigerians have been mentioned in connection with the money.
As at press time yesterday, three prominent Nigerians had been mentioned as owners of the high rise building and the cash found in it. Former chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, who is also a former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mu’azu, former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Retails (NNPC), Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue and an unnamed daughter of former Chairman Board of Trustees of the PDP, Anthony Anenih have been mentioned.
However, both Muazu and Ogbue had denied ownership of the building and the recovered cash. A statement from Ogbue’s lawyer, Emeka Etiaba said she was shocked as other Nigerians at the EFCC’s discovery. She also commended the commission and the Federal Government’s whistleblower’s policy as yielding positive results.
Neither Anthony Anenih nor his daughter could be reached for comments, but Spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren told The Guardian that the Commission was yet to ascertain ownership of the building and the money adding, “the matter is still under investigation.”
He said investigation was yet to be concluded on the earlier recovered monies just as he confirmed the latest recoveries of $43.4m, £27,800 and N23.2m at a four bedroom apartment on Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the temporary forfeiture of the money recovered by the EFCC in Ikoyi on Wednesday. Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned till May 5, 2017 for anyone interested in the funds to show up with proof why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.
He gave the forfeiture order shortly after entertaining an ex parte application by a counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo. He said that due to security reasons and of the volume of cash, the EFCC could not bring the money to the court but registered it as Exhibit EFCC 04.
Justice Hassan, in his ruling, granted the interim reliefs and prayer of the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in any national newspaper to inform members of the public.
He adjourned till May 5, 2017 for individuals to come forward with proof of ownership or the money would be permanently forfeited to the federal government.