Court orders final forfeiture of Lagos Director’s N28.5m, other properties to FG

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government the sum of N28.5 million and other property belonging to Jamiu Anifowose, a Director in the Public Works Department of Lagos State. Justice Mohammed Aikawa gave the order while ruling on an application filed by the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought against the director. The court ordered the forfeiture of the sum for being proceeds of unlawful activities.

Newsmen report that among the property ordered to be forfeited are six flats of three-bedroom, another six flats of two-bedroom and six flats of one-bedroom located at Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin-Ile in Igbogbo-Ikorodu, Lagos State. Others include four flats of three-bedroom duplex located at 6, Tunde Gabby Close in Dopemu area of Lagos.

Justice Aikawa also ordered a final forfeiture of a semi-detached three-bedroom flat and one unit of three-bedroom terrace at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate, Arepo in Ogun. Also to be forfeited was a plot of land situated at Queen’s Garden Estate, off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The judge had earlier granted an interim order forfeiting the money and the properties to the Federal Government.

Justice Aikawa also directed the Federal government to take administrative step to ensure that both the money and the properties were transferred to the Lagos State Government in view of the affidavit before the court. The judge said Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act empowered the court to grant an order of forfeiture of properties reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. The judge said that the respondent in this case did not file any counter-affidavit to challenge the plaintiff’s averment.

The judge said he was only represented by a counsel who made oral application asking the court to set aside its earlier order of interim forfeiture. Aikawa added that while making his submissions, counsel to the respondent, had said the onus of proof was on the applicant (EFCC). On the side of Lagos State Government which filed an application for joinder, the judge said the state filed an application to show cause that the money belonged to it. He held that the court had inherent powers to vary its order despite the provisions of Section 17 of Advanced Fee Fraud Act.

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