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Court orders forfeiture of N8.8bn ‘unclaimed’ properties to FG

An FCT High Court, Maitama has granted an order of interim forfeiture of 29 properties in different locations in Abuja said to be worth about N8.8billion. The Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), had applied for the interim forfeiture of the properties through an ex-parte motion. ADV

Twenty seven respondents were listed on the motion including Shehu Yaradua Foundation, while others are companies. Moving the motion before the court yesterday, ICPC counsel, Osuobeni Akponimisingha said the twenty seven respondents had denied ownership of the properties, in order to evade tax liabilities on the properties. He added that the properties were alleged to have been acquired with proceeds of crime.

He also said “the immovable properties have been confirmed unclaimed by preliminary investigation activities conducted by the applicant,” adding that the respondents may likely sell off the properties to unsuspecting members of the public if the court does not order the temporary forfeiture.

In an affidavit attached to the motion deposed to by one Iliya Markus, an official of ICPC, the court was told that the commission received a petition from the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) about unclaimed properties allegedly acquired in the names of the respondents.

He said the petition had contained an initial 31 immovable properties but upon publication of notice on two national newspapers regarding the properties, two companies came forward to claim two of the properties.

Upon hearing the motion, the presiding judge, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf held that the court was satisfied with the argument of the ICPC counsel. He then ordered that “an interim forfeiture order is hereby made.” The judge thereafter fixed September 23 as return date.

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Source: By Clement A. Oloyede  

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