Tuesday, 6 June 2017

At Last: Court orders final forfeiture of Ikoyi’s $43.4m, £27,800, N23.2m to FG

Justice Hassan of the Federal High Court has ordered final forfeiture of the $43.4m, £27,800, N23.2m discovered in an air-conditioned flat in Osborne, Ikoyi to the Federal Government.

The loot

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had stormed a residential building in the 7th Floor of a four – bedroom apartment at Osborne Towers located at 16, Osborne road Ikoyi, Lagos back in April where a humongous find of foreign currencies and Naira notes to the tune of $43.4m, £27,800 and N23.2m was uncovered.

Ikoyi $43.4m, £27,800, N23.2m
The building
The operation followed a whistle blower’s confidential alert received by the Commission’s Lagos office regarding noticed suspicious movement of bags in and out of a particular apartment in the building.
According to the source, the movers of the bags made believe that they were bringing in bags of clothes. A woman was said to usually appear on a different occasion with Ghana Must Go bags.
Inquiries from the guards at the building explained that nobody resides in the apartment, but some persons come in and out once in a while.
In compliance with the magisterial order contained in the warrant, the EFCC used minimum force to gain entrance into the apartment.
Monies were found in two of the four bedroom apartment. A further probe of the wardrobe by operatives in one of the rooms was found to be warehousing three fireproof cabinets disguisedly hidden behind wooden panels of the wardrobe.

Ikoyi $43.4m, £27,800, N23.2m

EFCC operative sweating as he counts the loot
Upon assessing the content of the cabinets, neatly arranged were US dollars, British pound sterlings, and some naira notes in sealed wrappers.
The facility is said to be owned by Osborne Towers Resident Association.
Controversy surrounding the ownership of the N13bn ($43.4m, N23m and £27,000) took a dramatic turn much later when Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the National Intelligence Agency claimed ownership of the money.
NIA reportedly explained that the money was approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan for covert operations and security projects covering a period of years.
The money was said to have been released in bits during the tenure of a former NIA director-general and that the cash was approved before the advent of the Treasury Single Account.
While Wike alleged that the immediate past governor of Rivers state and the current Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, kept the money in the apartment.
That the $43m was part of the proceeds from the sale of a gas turbine by the immediate past administration, adding that the gas turbine was initially built by the Peter Odili administration.

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