Woman Claims Ownership of Sylva’s Seized House

Woman Claims Ownership of Sylva’s Seized House

Woman Claims Ownership of Sylva’s Seized House

A business woman, Amaba Sam-Ogbuku, on Tuesday, appeared before an Abuja Federal High Court to lay claim to one of the houses which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seized from a former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipreye Sylva.

Sam-Ogbuku, who applied to be joined in the matter, told the court that she was the owner of the property on No. 1, Mubi Close, Plot 766, Cadastral Zone A01, Garki 1, Abuja, which the EFCC listed as one of the property it seized from Sylva.

The Abuja FHC, presided over by Justice A. R. Mohammed, had on December 21, 2012, granted an interim order which empowered the EFCC to take possession of about 48 houses alleged to be owned by the former governor.

The development was tied to the EFCC’s prosecution of the former governor over a six-count of money laundering and advance fee fraud, amounting to N6.4bn, before another Abuja FHC, presided by Justice Adamu Bello.

Sylva had denied ownership of some of the property which the anti-graft agency said belonged to him.

The application was filed on behalf of Sam-Ogbuku by her counsel, Mr. Ajayi Olowo, pursuant to section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, and orders 9 rules 5, 7(1), 15 and 16 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009.

She prayed the court to join her as the 2nd respondent in the suit (Sylva is 1st respondent), and to also discountenance the ex parte motion brought by the EFCC, through which the anti-graft agency seized the property.

Also, Sam-Ogbuku asked for an order of court mandating the EFCC to put her on notice in the matter.

“We want to join because we have seen that our client’s interests will be affected by any action taken in the matter,” Olowo said.

Justice Mohammed noted that the two-week duration of the December 21, 2012 interim order elapsed while he was away, a development which made it impossible for him to hear an application dated January 3, 2013, in which the EFCC sought the extension of the order.

“The order of December 21, 2012 shall extend to the next adjourned date, to hear the respondent’s challenge. The respondent and other parties are to be put on notice,” he said.

“The matter is adjourned to January 24, 2013, to hear all pending applications,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sylva, on Tuesday asked an Abuja Federal High Court to dismiss the charges instituted against him by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency had in a suit number HC/ABJ/CR/23/2012, alleged that Sylva and others now at large had committed the offence between October 2009 and February 2010.

At the continuation of hearing in the matter on Tuesday before the presiding judge, Justice Adamu Bello, Sylva’s lawyer, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, moved an application, asking the court to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the EFCC had no proof of evidence of the charges it brought against the ex-governor.

Bello adjourned to January 20, 2013 to rule on the application.

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