The Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the final forfeiture of two different properties and the sum of N 11,040,000 belonging to two Naval officers and their company to the Federal Government.
A statement signed by Mr Wilson Uwujaren, the Head of Media and Publicity at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), revealed that Justice Muslim Hassan gave the order in a ruling on Thursday.
The EFCC had on Tuesday, April 24 moved a motion on notice for an order of a final forfeiture of the properties as well as the money belonging to the respondents – Captain Olotu Morakinyo, Captain Ebony Aneke, and Lakewood Garden Ventures Limited.
The first respondent, Morakinyo, served as Maritime Guard Commander in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), between January and September 2013, while the second respondent, Aneke, served as Maritime Guard Commander in NIMASA between September 2013 and December 2014.
The third respondent, Lakewood, is a company jointly owned by the second respondent and his sister, Jimmie Aneke.
Justice Hassan had in a ruling on Wednesday, March 28, ordered the interim forfeiture of the properties, following a motion ex parte filed by the Commission.
In a 38-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Idris Adamu, an operative of the EFCC, the applicant had prayed for an order of the court forfeiting to the Federal Government a three-bedroom terrace duplex at Lekki Gardens Limited Estate, Phase IV, Lekki-Ajah, Lagos recovered by the Commission from the first respondent.
The EFCC had also prayed for an interim order forfeiting another five-bedroom duplex at Lekki, Lagos State to the Federal Government, recovered by the Commission from the second respondent.
Similarly, the anti-graft agency sought an interim order of the court forfeiting to the Federal Government the sum of N11,040,000 found and recovered by the Commission from the third respondent.
Consequently, the judge granted all the prayers sought by the applicant.
Justice Hassan had further directed the applicant to notify the respondents to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge had also directed the publication in any national newspaper of the interim order for the respondents or anyone interested in the properties and the money to show cause within 14 days why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The EFCC had then moved a motion on notice for the final forfeiture of the properties and the money, having published the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper, as ordered by the court.
At the last adjourned sitting, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that the first and second respondents had been served the notice and that they acknowledged services.
The respondents were, however, absent in court during the last proceedings.
In view of this, Justice Hassan adjourned the case till May 3, 2018, for ruling on the application filed by the EFCC.
Ruling on the matter today (Thursday), he ordered the permanent forfeiture of the properties and the money to the Federal Government.