Court Orders Temporary Forfeiture of Legico Mall’s N449.7m

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Justice Rilwan Aikawa of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday, ordered temporary forfeiture of the sum of N449,750,000 found in possession of one Mohammed Tauheed, of Legico Shopping Plaza, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Justice Aikawa’s order was sequel to an Ex-parte application filed and argued before the court by Economic and Financial crime Commission’s (EFCC) lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa.

The EFCC in an affidavit sworn to by one of its Operatives,  Moses Awolusi, averred that EFCC received an intelligent report on the April 7, 2017, that money in several Ghana must go bags were warehoused in one of the shops located at Legico shopping Plaza, at Victoria island, Lagos.

The intellegence report according to the EFCC  was analyzed and found worthy of investigation against one Mohammed Tauheed.

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The deponent also stated that the investigation revealed that on the April 7, 2017, the shop with number LS64 at Legico shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way Victoria island
was searched and a whopping sum of N449,750 million was found in different bags popularly known as Ghana must go.

He also stated that upon inquiries on the ownership of the shop where the exhibit was recovered indicated that the shop had not been opened for close to two years. Adding that both the Chairman and vice chairman of the plaza, Mr Sulaiman Mukthar Daba and Alhaji Ishaq Ayandiran, could not trace the identity of the owner of the shop, but came to EFCC’s office with the said Mohammed Tauheed, who claimed the ownership of the money and informed the EFCC that he received the money in cash from a  serving Government official whose name he will not disclose for security reasons.

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The deponent further stated tbat thereafter Mohammed Tauheed in the presence of his lawyer agreed to return the money back to Federal Government of Nigeria who is the rightful owner of the money. And that the said money recovered was reasonably suspected to be proceed of crime fraudulently diverted from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He also stated that the said Mohammed Tauheed who was arrested in connection with the money criminally conspired with the owner of the aforementioned shop now at large to launder the said funds.

Therefore it will be in the interest of Justice if the court can in the interim, make an order of forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and allow Mohammed Tauheed to put on notice and appear before the court within 14 days to show cause why the money found in their possession should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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The presiding judge,Rilwan Aikawa after listening to the submission of Mr Rotimi Oyedepo granted order of temporary forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the court also ordered EFCC to advertise the order of the court within 14 days for any interested party to come before the court to convince the court while the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The matter has been adjourned till May 19, 2017.

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