Court Orders Forfeiture Of Ibori’s $15m Bribe Money 4 years ago 0

A  Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday granted an interim order forfeiting to the Federal Government $15m said to have been received by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from an undisclosed agent of former Delta State Governor James Ibori in 2007 as a bribe to compromise its investigation.

The money has been kept in the strong room of the Central Bank of Nigeria as an unclaimed property since August 2007.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole upheld the FG’s claim that the said sum, “if left untouched and unspent in the state it was kept in the strong room since April 2007, may eventually be destroyed, defaced, mutilated and become useless.”

Kolawole gave the order after listening to an exparte motion brought by the applicants – the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation and the EFCC.

He fixed September 17, 2012, to hear the motion on notice for the final forfeiture of the $15m.

He said the money would be finally forfeited to the FG as proceed of fraud if nobody laid claim to the money.

While granting the application, Kolawole noted that “Ibori had denied the onwership of the money in question during the Kaduna case.”

He therefore granted the EFCC’s request for “an interim order forfeiting the $15m being an unclaimed property in possession of the CBN to the Federal Government, pending the publication and hearing of the motion on notice for the final forfeiture order of the said property.”

Kolawole also ordered that the interim order should be published in national daily “for anyone who is interested in the property to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

He added, “The commission on 26th April, 2007 deposited the said cash of USD15, 000, 000 into the strong room of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“James Ibori has since denied giving the said cash of USD15, 000, 000 to the commission or any of its officers.”

The CBN was listed as the respondent in the motion, which was filed on behalf of the applicants by EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.

In the motion, the EFCC applied for “an order of forfeiture of an unclaimed property without conviction pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud And Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006.”

The EFCC, in the motion filed by Jacobs and dated July 5, 2012, explained the grounds upon which it asked the court to forfeit the money to the Federal Government. Home Page

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