By OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
Justice Rilawan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of N449,597,000, found in possession of one Mohammed Tauheed at the Legico Shopping Plaza by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Rilawan Aikawa ordered the money discovered in an abandoned Bureau de Change shop be forfeited to the Federal Government after hearing and granting an application to that effect brought by the EFCC.
The judge ordered that the funds should be forfeited to the Federal Government as no one came forward to claim it.
It will be recalled that the judge had on April 19 this year ordered the temporary forfeiture of the money and fixed Friday for Mohammed Tauheed, who was joined as respondent in the suit, and any other interested party to appear before him to give reasons why the money should be permanently forfeited to the government.
But at Friday proceedings no one came forward to claim the money.
The EFCC counsel, Idris Mohammed informed the court that the interim order of April 19 had been advertised in the newspaper on May 11, so as to bring the case to the notice of Tauheed and any other interested party.
Idris also said that apart from the newspaper publication, Tauheed was also served with the motion on notice.
The Lawyer therefore urged the judge to order the final forfeiture of the money since neither Tauheed nor anyone else came forward to claim it.
Justice Aikawa, in a short ruling, held, “This court ordered, among others, the respondent (Tauheed) and any other interested party to show cause, within 14 days, why the interim forfeiture of N449,597,000 should not be made final. As far as my record shows, neither the respondent nor any other interested party has filed any affidavit or any other process to show cause why the interim order should not be made final.
“In the instant case, the respondent has, additionally, not filed any process in response to the motion on notice. In the circumstances, I have no option but to grant the application as prayed.