Again, Court Freezes $1.4m Linked To Former CBN Governor Emefiele

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has again, ordered the interim forfeiture of $1.4m allegedly tied to the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos granted the EFCC’s ex-parte application on Wednesday. The order freezes the funds held in the account of Donatone Limited, domiciled at Titan Bank Limited.

READ ALSO: FG Set To Take Over Union Bank, Keystone Bank Allegedly Owned By Emefiele

The EFCC suspects the money to be proceeds of unlawful activities. According to the affidavit filed by the EFCC investigator, David Jayeoba, the investigation suggests the funds may be linked to bribes and gratification received by Emefiele in exchange for facilitating access to foreign exchange (Forex) during a period of scarcity in 2021 and 2022.

He stated, “Between 2021 and 2022, when accessibility to Forex in Nigeria was difficult, several international entities operating in Nigeria had to resort to different means to source Forex.

“That Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi used the firm, to collect bribes and gratification on behalf of Godwin Emefiele, to get approval for accessing Forex. And that one of the entities (NP) paid a total sum of $26,552 million USD, into the account of a firm domiciled in Titan Trust account number 2000000500.

“That the said credits came into the account of firm on November 9, 2021: $6,450,000; November 5, 2021: $6,050,000.00; December 16, 2021: $5,400,000.00; December 23, 2021: $652,000; January 31 2022; $3,000,000.00 and September 21, 2022: $5,000,000.00.

“The investigation traced the funds to having been fixed into interest-yielding accounts, dissipated and laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius, and transported back to Nigeria under disguise.

“That of the total sum of $26, 555, 000.00 US dollars received by the firm, the balance standing in the said account as at today is the sum of $1, 426, 175.14 million USD.

“That it is the balance in the account that the applicant seeks to forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has been traced to be the proceeds of unlawful activities of (GE) and his cronies. And that investigation further revealed that the international entities sourcing for forex were pressured into parting with huge funds to access forex during the period.

“That the signatories to the account warehouse the sum of $1, 426, 175.14 million USD, sought to be forfeited are at large and are making frantic efforts to dissipate the funds electronically. And that based on our investigation findings, the funds sought to be forfeited are proceeds of unlawful activities of (GE) and his cronies. And that it is in the interest of justice to grant this application.”

This is the second such order against Emefiele this month. On May 25, Justice Yellim Bogoro of ordered the interim forfeiture of over $4.7m, N830m, and properties linked to the former CBN governor.

The court has ordered the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper. This allows any interested parties to challenge the order within 14 days. The case is adjourned until June 25, 2024, when the court will hear arguments for the final forfeiture of the funds.

The properties forfeited in the interim include 94 Units of an 11-floor building under Construction at 2, Otunba Elegushi 2nd Avenue (Formerly Club) Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; AM Plaza, 11-floor office space, situate on 1E, Otunba Adedoyin Crescent, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, Lagos; Imore Industrial Park 1, Esa Street, Imoore Land purchased with (Deep Bive Industrial Town, Oriade LCDA, Amuwo Odofin LGA, Lagos, Mitrewood and Tatler Warehouse (Furniture Plant at Bogije) near Elemoro Lagos, Owolomi Village, ibeju-Lekki LGA, Lagos and two properties purchased from Chevron Nigeria, Closed PFA Fund, Block B. Lot twin completed property in Lakes Estate, Lekki, Lagos.

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