Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diverted $16.5 Million, ₦127 Million From NIMASA

Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of $16.5 million and ₦127 million, which were illicitly diverted from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to the federal government.

This order was granted following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Sulaiman I. Sulaiman. The EFCC stated that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities.

Previously, on May 23, 2024, Justice Ogundare had issued an interim forfeiture order for the funds. This decision was made upon an Exparte motion under the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act and the Nigerian Constitution. The court directed the EFCC to publicize the interim order, which was done on June 6, 2024.

During the final forfeiture hearing, EFCC counsel Suleiman confirmed compliance with the court’s directive to publicize the interim order. The EFCC’s submission included the interim court order and the publication in The Punch newspaper.

Justice Ogundare, after reviewing the submissions, granted the final forfeiture as requested by the EFCC.

The EFCC’s investigation revealed that the funds were initially requested by NIMASA in 2013 for security projects. However, a significant portion of the funds was fraudulently diverted by individuals using various companies. These funds were converted to dollars and used for personal purposes without rendering any service to NIMASA.

The investigation led to the recovery of $16,500 in cash and the agreement by Uche Obilor, one of the key figures involved, to return ₦118 million through drafts made to the EFCC.

Despite the court’s directive for interested parties to come forward, no one contested the forfeiture. Consequently, the court proceeded with the final forfeiture, deeming it in the interest of justice.

The EFCC emphasized that the funds are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and affirmed the court’s authority to order their forfeiture.

The post Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diverted $16.5 Million, ₦127 Million From NIMASA appeared first on Naija News.


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