The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of N329,469,435 found in the bank accounts of the Director of Accounts, Ministry of Public Works Corporation, Lagos State, Anifowoshe Alade.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa made the temporary forfeiture order on Wednesday based on an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Counsel for the anti-graft agency, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the judge that Alade was being investigated for alleged diversion of funds belonging to the Ministry of Public Works Corporation.
The anti-graft agency claimed that Anifowoshe diverted the money into the account of a company, MAJ Anny International Limited, where he is a director.
In an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, an operative of the EFCC, Zayyanu Halliru, said Anifowoshe is the sole signatory to the company’s account.
He added that Anifowoshe abused his position as “the final authoriser of the Internet banking system of the Public Work Corporation, Lagos State.”
The investigator said, “The respondent used his office and position to enrich himself with the funds from Public works Corporation to acquire landed properties within Lagos and Ogun states,” adding that the EFCC had recovered the properties.
According to him, the properties include six sets of three-bedroom flats, six sets of two-bedroom flats and six sets of one-bedroom flats on Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin ille Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Others are four sets of three-bedroom duplexes at No. 6, Tunde Gabby Close, Dopemu Area, Pako Bus Stop, Agege, Lagos State as well as a semi-detached three bedroom flat and a unit of three bedroom terrace at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate, Arepo Ogun State.
Also seized was a plot of land at Queen’s Garden Estate off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The investigator said, “That the buildings highlighted above are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities purchase with the stolen funds from the Public Works Corporation, Lagos State.
“That the order of this court is needed to forfeit these aforementioned buildings to the Federal Government of Nigeria. “That the respondent will not be prejudiced should this application be granted.”
Granting the application on Wednesday, Justice Aikawa held, “I have perused all the processes filed and the submission of learned counsel for the applicant.
“I find merit in the application and same is granted as prayed. “The applicant, the EFCC, is hereby ordered to publish this order to put any interested parties on notice, to come and show cause why these properties should not be permanently forfeited to Federal Government of Nigeria within 14 days from today.
“This case is adjourned till the 16th of January, 2018 for mention.”