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Emefiele : Court orders final forfeiture of buildings, land, others worth N12.18bn

 

In a significant legal development, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has issued a final forfeiture order for properties valued at over N12.18 billion allegedly linked to Godwin Emefiele, the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor.


Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke finalized the forfeiture after considering a motion presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), represented by counsel Chineye Okezie.


The properties, valued at N11.14 billion and N1.04 billion respectively, were initially subject to an interim forfeiture order granted on June 5, 2024, following allegations that Emefiele acquired them through fraudulent means.


The EFCC had alleged that Emefiele utilized proxies to purchase these properties using proceeds from illicit activities. The court named two current CBN staff and one former staff as alleged accomplices in the scheme.


These properties, primarily situated in upscale areas of Abuja, include shops, apartments, lands, and other real estate assets. Justice Aneke further ordered the EFCC to publish the forfeiture order in a national newspaper to notify any interested parties to contest the decision.


During subsequent hearings, no parties contested the interim order, leading to the EFCC’s motion for permanent forfeiture being granted by Justice Aneke. The court’s decision was based on detailed evidence presented, including a 41-paragraph affidavit, 19 exhibits, and a written address by EFCC’s counsel. The properties were listed under Schedule A and B, encompassing various real estate holdings.


In his ruling, Justice Aneke stated, “Having carefully considered the application and submission of counsel, it is hereby ordered that a final forfeiture order of this honourable court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule A and B herein which were traced and reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”


(DAILY TRUST)

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