Court orders permanent forfeiture of properties worth N12.1 billion linked to ex-CBN governor

By Innocent Raphael

A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the permanent forfeiture of properties valued at N11.14 billion and N1.04 billion, linked to former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to the Federal Government.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the final forfeiture following a motion presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), represented by counsel Chineye Okezie.

The motion had initially been supported on June 5, 2024, by the anti-graft agency’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), for an interim forfeiture of the properties.

The EFCC alleged that Emefiele acquired the properties through proxies using proceeds from fraudulent activities. The commission implicated two current and one former CBN staff as Emefiele’s accomplices: Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben, Akomolafe Adebayo, and former staff Olubunmi Makinde.

These properties, mostly situated in the upscale areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were detailed in schedules A and B presented to the court. Justice Aneke had earlier mandated the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper to allow any interested parties to contest it.

On June 21, 2024, when the court reconvened, no objections were raised, and Okezie moved for the properties’ permanent forfeiture. Justice Aneke, after considering the 41-paragraph affidavit by EFCC Investigating Officer Michael John Idoko and the accompanying 19 exhibits, granted the final forfeiture.

The court’s ruling specifically 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.”

The properties include shops and apartments in the Cadastral Zone of Maitama and Wuse. Lands and apartments acquired for Oluwaseun, valued at N1.04 billion, were also forfeited.

The affidavit detailed that Oluwaseun Teben and Adebayo used their CBN positions to secure foreign exchange allocations for companies in exchange for kickbacks, facilitated by Makinde.

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