EFCC takes over as court orders forfeiture of Safetower estate
A federal High Court, Lagos has ordered an interim forfeiture of the multi -billion naira Safetowers Estate located at Ikate, Lekki.The project is being promoted by Safetrust Mortgage Bank Limited and Macbosh Properties Limited.
Justice Sule Hassan made the order last week while ruling on the ex-parte application filed by Nkereuwem Anana, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).In the ex-parte originating summons, the anti-graft agency has sought for an interim order forfeiting the parcel of land measuring 50027, 147 square metres, situate, lying and being of Lekki Pennisula Scheme, known and particularly described as Block 116, Plot III, Ikate Ancient City. Etiosa local council Lagos State in Survey Plan No BAS258/2013/130-1, pending the conclusion of investigation and prosecution.
The EFCC has predicated its prayer on the ground that the court has the statutory powers under the provisions of sections 24, 28 of the EFCC Act 2004, Section 44 (2) (k) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court to forfeit property that is a subject of fraud or connected thereto.
According to the EFCC, the property sought to be attached are reasonably suspected and traceable to be connected to economic and financial crimes that is instrument of fraud. The application is supported by a 19 –paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Isaac Gong, an investigative officer of the EFCC
In the affidavit, Gong contended that he was one of the team of operatives of the applicant assigned with the responsibility of conducting investigation on a petition received by the commission showing that the respondents herein are in possession of properties used in defrauding the victim.He averred that upon the receipt of the said petition, same was analysed and found worthy of investigation.
The EFCC contended that the petition itself revealed that Safetrust Mortgage Bank Limited proposed to construct 3 high-rise buildings within a construction and delivery period of 24 months.According to the anti-graft The 3rd respondent thereafter offered to sell one of the high rise building to the victim, Mr. Kunle Ogunmefun at an agreed sum of N710 million.
EFCC also averred that a non-disclosure agreement was thereafter executed between the victim and Macbosh properties Limited on the understanding that Macbosh, the second respondent is an agent of the 3rd respondent.It was also the submission of the EFCC that the victim made a total deposit payment of the sum of N550 million with the understanding that the property will be delivered within the specified period of 24months from the date of the execution of the memorandum of understanding .
The EFCC stressed that after the victim made the payment to the 3rd respondent, the 3rd respondent till date refused to delivery the said property to the victim as agreed.
EFCC’s investigation revealed that after the victim paid the said money to the 3rd respondent up till date, the respondents have refused to deliver the property to the victim. According EFCC, further investigation revealed that the 3rd respondent was indebted to Sterling bank Plc and so obtained from the victim to settle its debt with Sterling Bank Plc.
It stated that immediately, the victim paid the sum of N550 million to account of the 3rd respondent which is domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc., Sterling Bank Plc took the money, as the debt owed her by the 3rd respondent.It was also the contention of the EFCC that the 3rd respondent obtained from the victim, Kunle Ogunmefun by false, pretending that the money was meant for the building of high rise to the victim by indirectly using the said amount of money to settle its indebtedness with the Sterling Bank Plc.
It further stressed that transactions of this nature has contributed to bringing down the economy of the federal government of Nigeria,In the suit, EFCC named Akintayo Oloko, Macbosh Properties Limited and Safetrust Mortgage Bank Limited as respondents.The first respondent is the managing director of the 3rd respondent.Meanwhile, the EFCC has moved to take possession of the project expected to be delivered within a construction time of 24 months and an iconic addition to housing stocks in Lekki axis, before the ugly turn of event.