Court orders forfeiture of 14 properties linked to Kogi government

The federal high court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday granted an order of interim forfeiture of 14 properties allegedly linked to the Kogi state government.

The 14 properties are said to be located in Lagos, Abuja, and the United Arab Emirates.

Nicholas Oweibo, the judge, granted the order following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Arguing in favour of the application, Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC counsel, told the court that the properties, including the one in the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE, were “reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity”.

Oyedepo also asked the court to order the forfeiture of N400 million, which he said was reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity.

The amount was said to have been “intended to be used for the acquisition of Plot No. 1224 Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos”.

The N400 million was said to have been recovered from one Aminu Falala.

In his ruling, the judge granted the application and directed the commission to publish the interim order within 14 days for any interested party to show cause why the forfeiture order should not be made in favour of the federal government.

The case was adjourned till March 28, 2023.

Over the past few months, the Kogi state government and EFCC have been at loggerheads over the decision of the anti-graft agency to investigate alleged corruption linked to the government.

The Kogi government had criticised the anti-graft agency, saying EFCC is a “pawn in the hands of political opponents in a bid to satisfy certain political interests”.

On February 8, the EFCC arraigned Rashida, wife of Yahaya Bello, Kogi governor, and four others, including Ali Bello, the governor’s nephew, in an 18-count charge bordering on alleged money laundering to the tune of N3 billion

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