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Court Orders Forfeiture of Buildings Linked to Naval Officers


Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered final forfeiture of three and five-bedroom terrace duplexes, situated at Lekki Gardens Estate Ltd, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Muslim Hassan gave the final orders while ruling on an application for final forfeiture of the property, as filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Joined as respondents in the suit are two naval officers and a company namely: Capt. Olumuyiwa Morakinyo, Capt. Ebony Aneke, and Lakewood Gardens Ventures Ltd.
The court had on March 28 issued an interim order of forfeiture of the property and had ordered that same be advertised in a national newspaper.
On April 24, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, had informed the court that the interim orders of the court including advertisement and service, had been complied with.
He had told the court that service of the interim order was also effected personally on the respondents, who had filed no opposition to same.
Oyedepo had, therefore, urged the court to grant a final order for forfeiture of the property.
Justice Hassan had then reserved ruling until May 3.
Delivering his ruling on Thursday, Hassan ordered that all the property stated in the application, as well as the sum of N 11.04m recovered, be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, being a proceed of unlawful activities as reasonably suspected by the applicant.
It would be recalled that the commission had sought an order for final forfeiture of three-bedroom terraces duplex, and five-bedroom terraces duplex, located at Lekki in Lagos.
The commission had also sought a final forfeiture of N11.040 million recovered from the third respondent, which sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
It argued that the said property sought to be attached were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
EFCC averred that the said properties were received, concealed and converted by the respondents from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
According to the EFCC, the Federal High Court possesses the statutory powers under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud (419) and other fraud related offences Act, to make the orders.

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