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Court orders Emefiele to forfeit $1.4m bribery proceeds



Court Orders Emefiele To Forfeit $1.4m Bribery Proceeds

On Tuesday, June 25, the Federal High Court in Lagos mandated the ultimate forfeiture of the sum of $1,426,175.14 claimed to be bribery proceeds connected to former Central Bank of Nigeria governor Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Ayokunle Faji directed the money to be permanently turned over to the Federal Government.

The last forfeiture directive was applied on Tuesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Earlier on May 29, 2014, the anti-graft bureau obtained an interim ruling momentarily depriving the money.

To enable anyone interested in the money to demonstrate cause why it should not be permanently forfeited, the judge decided to publish the court order in the newspapers.

Mrs. Bilkisu Buhari-Bala, counsel for the EFCC, stated at the Tuesday hearing that no one had come forward to claim the money and the commission had followed the publication order. She further pointed out that Emefiele’s money came from illegal activity.

According to Buhari-Bala, EFCC investigations showed that the former governor of CBN got the money as kick-backs for authorizing foreign exchange distribution to international companies amid the national FX crisis.

Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-related Offences Act, the EFCC counsel claimed, enabled the court to decide on the forfeiture order.

The $1.4 million on Tuesday comes just a few days after the same court said Emefiele should permanently relinquish choice properties valued N12.18 billion.

David Jayeoba, an EFCC investigator, stated in an affidavit supporting the Tuesday forfeiture motion that the anti-graft agency found the money using reliable, direct intelligence.

The affidavit reads: “Part of the said funds, which represent the proceeds of Godwin Emefiele and his cronies’ unlawful activities, are retained in the accounts now sought to be forfeited.

“Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi were procured by Godwin Emefiele and used to conceal, retain and disguise funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

“Between 2021 and 2022, when accessibility to forex in Nigeria was difficult, several international entities operating in Nigeria had to resort to different means to source forex.

“Both Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi used to collect bribes and gratification on behalf of Godwin Emefiele to get approval for accessing forex.

“One of the entities paid a total sum of $26,552,000.00 into the account domiciled in Titan Trust account number 2000000500.

“The said credits came into the account on the 9th of November 2021: $6,450,000; 15th of November 2021: $6,050,000.00; 16th of December 2021: $5,400,000.00; 23rd of December 2021: $652,000, 31th January 2022: $3,000,000.00 and on the 21st September 2022: $5,000,000.00.

“The investigation traced the funds to having been fixed into interest-yielding accounts, dissipated and laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius, and transported back to Nigeria under disguise.

“Of the total sum of $26, 555, 000.00 received by Donatus Limited, the balance standing in the said account as of today is $1,426, 175. 14.

“It is the balance in the account that the applicant seeks to forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has been traced to be the proceeds of unlawful activities of Godwin Emefiele and his cronies.

“That investigation further revealed that the international entities sourcing for forex were pressured into parting with huge funds to access forex during the period. And that the signatories to the account warehousing the sum of $1,426, 175.14) sought to be forfeited are at large and are making frantic efforts to dissipate the funds electronically.”

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