Court orders forfeiture of N449m found in Lagos BDC shop

by on April 20, 2017
The Federal High Court, Lagos on Wednesday or­dered the interim for­feiture of the sum of N449.750 million found in an abandoned Bu­reau de Change shop in Victoria Island by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The order was made by Justice Rilawan Ai­kawa following an ex-parte application taken before him by the anti-graft agency.
An investigator with the EFCC, Mr. Moses Awolusi, said in the af­fidavit filed before the judge that the shop numbered LS64, located on at Legico Shopping Plaza, at Victoria Island, Lagos had not been opened for two years.
Awolusi claimed that the money was found on April 7, 2017 in sev­eral “Ghana Must Go” sacks, adding that the EFCC recovered the money after investigat­ing intelligence infor­mation received on one Mohammed Tauheed.
According to him, Tauheed allegedly con­spired with the owner of the abandoned shop to launder the money.
Awolusi said that Tauheed had earlier been brought to the EFCC office by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Legico Shopping Plaza, Mr. Sulaiman Daba and Al­haji Ishaq Ayandiran, respectively.
He said that dur­ing the visit, Tauheed told the EFCC that he received the money in cash from a serving gov­ernment official, whose name was not disclosed for security reasons.
He said Tauheed, in the presence of his law­yer, agreed to return the money to the Federal Government, which is the rightful owner of the funds strongly sus­pected to the proceeds of criminal activities of the unnamed serving government official.
The EFCC said that it would be in the interest of justice for the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the money to the Federal Govern­ment.
Consequently, Justice Aikawa ordered that the money should be tem­porarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
He directed the EFCC to advertise the order in a national newspaper and gave 14 days for any interested party to appear in court to give reasons why the money should not be perma­nently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge adjourned the matter till May 19, 2017.
Meanwhile, the Presidency says it will strengthen the whistle­blower policy following breakthroughs in the war against corruption via recent uncovering of unaccounted cash by security agencies.
The Senior Special As­sistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said that the enthusias­tic response of Nigeri­ans to the whistleblower policy has boosted the tempo of the anti-cor­ruption crusade of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He told State House Correspondents yester­day that the government was considering bring­ing the policy under the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PCAC) or any other body to imbue the process with a stra­tegic national purpose.

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