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Court orders final forfeiture of over N12.18bn properties linked to Emefiele

The court had initially granted a temporary forfeiture of the properties on June 5, 2024, based on a motion filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo...

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Court orders final forfeiture of over N12.18bn properties linked to Emefiele

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday ordered the final forfeiture of properties valued at over N12.18 billion linked to the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, to the Federal Government.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke issued the order after hearing an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), represented by counsel Chineye Okezie.

The court had initially granted a temporary forfeiture of the properties on June 5, 2024, based on a motion filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo. The EFCC alleged that Emefiele acquired the properties using proceeds of fraud, purchasing them through proxies.

According to the EFCC, two current CBN staff members, Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo, along with a former staff member, Olubunmi Makinde, were accomplices in the fraud.

READ ALSO: Court orders Emefiele to forfeit another set of properties worth N11bn

The properties, located in high-end areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were listed in two schedules. Schedule A included shops and apartments in Cadastral Zone Maitama and Wuse, while Schedule B contained lands and apartments totaling N1.04 billion, paid for on behalf of Oluwaseun.

The EFCC’s affidavit detailed how Oluwaseun and Adebayo, with Makinde’s assistance, used their positions at the CBN to secure foreign exchange for various companies in exchange for kickbacks.

Justice Aneke’s order followed the publication of the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper, inviting interested parties to contest the final forfeiture. With no objections raised, the court proceeded to grant the EFCC’s application.

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

Justice Aneke similarly ruled for Schedule B: “That a final forfeiture order of this Honourable Court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule B herein which properties were traced to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

The EFCC’s affidavit revealed that Oluwaseun and Adebayo exploited their access to CBN’s bidding processes and data for personal gain, facilitated by Makinde, who coordinated with companies applying for foreign exchange.

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