NIMASA Staff Loses N11.04, Properties To FG

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A Federal High Court, Lagos thursday ordered final forfeiture of N11.040 million, and some properties, belonging to Captain Olotu Olumuyiwa Morakinyo, Captain Ebony Emmanuel Aneke and Lakewood Garden Ventures Limited to the federal government.

The court presided over by Justice Sule Hassan, gave the order of final forfeiture sequel to an application filed and argued by Rotimi Oyedepo, lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court had on March 28, 2018, ordered temporary forfeiture of the said money and properties, following an ex-parte application brought before the court by the EFCC.

Granting the ex-parte application, Justice Hassan had ordered that whoever that has interest in the said money and properties should appear before the court within 14 days, and show cause, why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.

The court had also directed the EFCC to publish the ordered in a national newspaper.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the EFCC’s lawyer, Oyedepo, told the court that the first respondent in the suit, Morakinyo, served as Maritime Guard Commander, NIMASA, from January to September, 2013, while the second respondent, Aneke, served as NIMASA’s Maritime Guard Commander, from September 2013 to December, 2014.

Oyedepo also told the court that the third respondent, Lakewood Garden Ventures, is a company jointly owned by the second respondent and his sister, Jimmie Aneke.

Oyedepo told the court that the EFCC had launched investigation into the activities of the respondents, who were posted to NIMASA as Maritime Guard Commanders between September 2011 and September 2015, after receiving intelligence report of a case of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering against them.

Oyedepo told the court that following the court’s directives that the order of interim forfeiture made on March 28, 2018, be published in a national newspaper on April 24, and that such order have being published in the The Nation newspaper of April 19, 2018, as ordered by the court.

He also informed the court that the first and second respondents had been served the motion on notice and that they acknowledged service.

Oyedepo added that “the respondents were also informed that the case would be going on today. But they made no mention of their supposed absence in court today.”

He therefore urged the court to finally forfeit the said money and properties to the federal government of Nigeria, for being proceeds of unlawful activities.

Justice Hassan after listening to Oyedepo’s submission, granted the application for final forfeiture of the money and the properties.

Granting the final forfeiture of the money and properties, Justice Hassan rules: “It is hereby ordered that all the properties and the sum of N 11,040 million, belonging to Captain Olotu Olumuyiwa Morakinyo, Captain Ebony Emmanuel Aneke and Lakewood Garden Ventures Limited, be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, being a proceed of unlawful activities reasonably suspected by the applicant.”

Justice Hassan said he granted the final order of forfeiture, reiterating that in view of the EFCC’s total compliance with the section 17 of Advanced free fraud and related offences Act, 2004, and all the averment contained in 38 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Idriss Adamu an operative of EFCC which are not controverted by way of counter affidavit.

The EFCC in a 38-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one of its operatives, Idris Adamu, had sought an interim order of the court forfeiting to the federal government a three- bedroom terrace duplex at Lekki Gardens Limited Estate, Phase IV, Lekki-Ajah, Lagos recovered by the commission from the first respondent.

The anti-graft agency had also sought an order forfeiting to the federal government another five-bedroom duplex at Lekki, Lagos State recovered by it from the second respondent. And an order of the court forfeiting to the federal government the sum of N11,040 million, recovered from the third respondent, for being proceeds of unlawful activities.