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    Court Orders Forfeiture of $1.4 Million Linked to Former CBN Governor Emefiele

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    By Milcah Tanimu

    The Federal High Court in Lagos has once again issued an order for the temporary forfeiture of $1.4 million connected to former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele. Presiding over the case, Justice Ayokunle Faji directed that the money be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

    The judge instructed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper, allowing interested parties 14 days to appear in court and explain why the final forfeiture should not be granted. The funds in question are currently held in an account at Titan Bank Limited under Donatone Limited. A hearing to consider the final forfeiture is scheduled for June 25.

    Previously, on May 23, Justice Yellim Bogoro of the same court ordered the interim forfeiture of $4,719,054, N830,875,611, and various properties also linked to Emefiele.

    During the recent proceedings, EFCC counsel Bilikisu Buhari-Bala cited Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, and Section 44 (2)(B) of the 1999 Constitution as the legal basis for the forfeiture request. She asserted that the funds are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities, a claim supported by an affidavit from EFCC investigator David Jayeoba.

    The affidavit detailed that reliable intelligence led to the discovery of the funds in Donatone Limited’s account, which are suspected to be linked to fraudulent activities involving Emefiele and his associates. It was revealed that directors of Donatone Limited, Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi, allegedly used the firm to collect bribes in exchange for forex approvals.

    The investigation uncovered that between 2021 and 2022, significant sums were deposited into Donatone’s account at Titan Trust Bank, including $26.552 million USD. The funds were reportedly laundered through foreign accounts and reintroduced into Nigeria. The balance currently stands at $1,426,175.14, which the EFCC seeks to permanently forfeit to the Federal Government.

    In an earlier case, Justice Yelim Bogoro ordered the interim forfeiture of substantial sums and various properties linked to Emefiele, held in accounts and properties managed by entities such as First Bank, Titan Bank, and Zenith Bank. These properties include an 11-floor building in Ikoyi, Lagos, office spaces in Lekki, and industrial properties in Lagos.

    The ongoing investigation continues to unravel the complex web of financial transactions and asset concealments allegedly orchestrated by Emefiele and his associates.

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