The Federal High Court, Lagos has granted an order of interim forfeiture of the sum of N725 million and a property located in the Banana Island area of Ikoyi allegedly diverted from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Both are to be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Tijjani Ringim gave the order following an exparte application filed and argued by Bilkisu Buhari, a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The application was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006 and Section 44(2b) of the 1999 Constitution.
Buhari told the court that the sum of N725.3 million was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity, while the property, Plot J 37A 218 Close, 2nd Avenue, Banana Island, Ikoyi was also reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity.
The commission linked the money and property to a former NIMASA director-general of NIMASA, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi.
Buhari also prayed for an order directing the EFCC to publish the interim order in a national newspaper “for anyone interested in the properties sought to be forfeited to appear before the honourable court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the said properties should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Granting the application, Justice Ringim said, “I have listened to the submission of counsel and perused the affidavit in support of the application together with exhibits. I find merit in this statutory application and same is granted as prayed.”
Akpobolokemi and some top management staff of NIMASA who served alongside with him are standing multiple trials for alleged illegal diversion of the agency’s funds.