- Tauheed says money belongs to a serving government official
Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos wednesday ordered temporary forfeiture of the sum of N449.7million found in possession of one Mohammed Tauheed at the Legico Shopping Plaza in Victoria Island in Lagos to the federal government.
Justice Aikawa’s order was sequel to an ex-parte application filed and argued before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa.
The EFCC in an affidavit sworn to by one of its operatives, Moses Awolusi, averred that the commission received an intelligence report on April 7, 2017, that money in several Ghana must go bags was in a warehouse in one of the shops located at Legico Shopping Plaza, in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The intelligence report, according to the EFCC, was analysed and found worthy of investigation against one Mohammed Tauheed.
The deponent also stated that the investigation revealed that on April 7, 2017, the shop with number LS64 at Legico Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, was searched and a whopping sum of N449,750 million was found in different bags.
He also stated that inquiries on the ownership of the shop where the exhibit was recovered indicated that the shop had not been opened for close to two years. EFCC added that both the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the plaza, Mr. Sulaiman Mukthar Daba and Alhaji Ishaq Ayandiran, could not trace the identity of the owner of the shop, but came to EFCC’s office with the said Tauheed, who claimed ownership of the money and informed the EFCC that he received the money in cash from a serving government official whose name he will not disclose for security reasons.
The deponent further stated that thereafter, Tauheed in the presence of his lawyer, agreed to return the money back to the federal government which is the rightful owner of the money.
He contended that the said money recovered was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime fraudulently diverted from the federal government.
Iseoluwa also stated that the said Tauheed who was arrested in connection with the money criminally conspired with the owner of the aforementioned shop now at large to launder the said funds.
He said it would be in the interest of justice if the court can in the interim, make an order of forfeiture to the federal government and allow Tauheed to put on notice and appear before the court within 14 days to show cause why the money found in their possession should not be forfeited to the federal government.
The presiding judge, Justice Aikawa, after listening to the submission of the EFCC lawyer granted the order of temporary forfeiture of the money to the federal government.
The court also ordered EFCC to advertise the order of the court within 14 days for any interested party to come before the court to convince the court while the money should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.
The matter has been adjourned till May 19, 2017.