Kogi govt protests forfeiture order on 14 houses

fafb yahaya bello.fw
fafb yahaya bello.fw

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday, got the order of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos to temporarily seize 14 properties and firms in Lagos, Abuja, and the United Arab Emirates linked to alleged fraud by some Kogi State government officials.

But the Kogi State government, in a statement on Wednesday by its Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley  Fanwo, described the development as a campaign of calumny against the state by the Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Following an ex parte application argued by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Justice Nicholas Oweibo ordered that the  the properties be temporarily forfeited.

The judge, in addition, authorised the EFCC to confiscate N400m allegedly recovered from one Aminu Falala in connection with the alleged fraud.

Oyedepo told Justice Oweibo that the application followed EFCC’s probe of “damning intelligence of monumental fraud allegedly perpetrated by some principal officers of Kogi State Government and their cronies.”

He alleged that through the fraud “huge sums of money belonging to the Kogi State Government were fraudulently converted and used to either outright acquire properties or renovate already existing but dilapidated buildings.”

According to the lawyer, the properties were reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activities.


He added that there was reasonable suspicion that the N400m was  “intended to be used for the acquisition of Plot No. 1224 Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.”

The 14 properties affected included “Hotel Apartment Community: Burj Khalifa, Plot 160 Municipality NO 345-7562, Sky View Building No 1, Property No 401, Floor 4, Dubai U.A.E.”

After granting the interim order, the judge directed the EFCC to publish it in a national newspaper within 14 days for any interested party to show cause why the forfeiture order should not be made permanent.

The case was adjourned till March 28, for a report on compliance with the order.

But the Kogi State government, in a statement, asked Nigerians to “ignore EFCC’s forfeiture joke as desperate concoction of confused ‘unintelligent officials’.”

Fanwo said, “It is clear the EFCC has declared a tactless open war against the Kogi State Government, owing mainly to the governor’s unflinching loyalty to the All Progressives Congress and not individuals. We will prove our innocence in court. It is a matter of time.