EFCC secures final forfeiture of Emefiele’s $1.4 million allegedly domiciled in Titan Bank

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secure a final forfeiture order of the Federal High Court Lagos against a $1.4 million allegedly linked to the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

This is coming days after another court sitting in Lagos ordered  final forfeiture of N11,140,000,000.00 worth of properties and N1.04 billion traced to Emefiele by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency stressed that the monies, which allegedly amount to proceeds of crime, are domiciled in Titan Bank to the knowledge of the embattled CBN governor.

The proceeding on Tuesday is amid several lawsuits instituted against Emefiele and the court had approved interim forfeiture order on the monies.

EFCC claims

In the motion exparte filed by counsel to the EFCC, Bilikisu Buhari-Bala, the ex-CBN Governor was accused of contravening Section 44 (2)(B) of the 1999 Constitution.

That section states that no moveable property or any interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily except for the imposition of penalties or forfeiture for breach of any law, whether under civil process or after conviction for an offence.

The lawyer had argued that between 2021 and 2022, when accessibility to foreign exchange in Nigeria was difficult, several international entities operating in Nigeria had to resort to different means to source Forex.

She added that one Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi used a firm, to collect bribes and gratification on behalf of Godwin Emefiele, to get approval for accessing Forex, adding that one of the entities (NP) paid a total sum of USD 26,552 million, into the account of firm domiciled in Titan Trust account number 2000000500.

The lawyer stated,

“The investigation traced the funds to having been fixed into interest-yielding accounts, dissipated and laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius, and transported back to Nigeria under disguise.

On Tuesday, the EFCC urged the court to permanently forfeit the funds.

What the judge said

After hearing the prosecution on Tuesday, Justice Ayokunle Faji ordered the final forfeiture of the money.

Having been satisfied with the application and submission of Counsel, I hereby grant the prayer finally forfeiting the said funds in question,” the judge said, Channels Television reports.

More insights 

Emefiele was suspended from office by President Bola Tinubu paving the way for an investigation into his office as CBN governor and subsequent prosecution.

The suspended governor had also filed a fundamental Human rights suit against his prolonged detention before Justice O. Adeniyi. The application was granted.

Emefiele was arraigned on a two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, on July 25, 2023. The matter was eventually withdrawn by the Attorney General of the federation and struck out by the court.

On November 17, 2023, the EFCC arraigned the former CBN governor before Justice Muazu on a six-count charge bordering on procurement fraud.

Emefiele pleaded “not guilty” to the charge. EFCC later amended the charges before Justice Muazu and re-arraigned Emefiele.

On April 4, 2024, the EFCC arraigned Emefiele before Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Lagos High Court over abuse of office bordering on alleged irregular allocation of billions of US dollars in foreign exchange.

The suspended CBN governor pleaded not guilty, and the case is yet to be concluded.

Justice Yellim Bogoro of another court division had ordered an interim forfeiture of the sums of $4,719,054, N830,875,611, and several multi-million-naira properties linked to Emefiele, following an application by the EFCC.

On Tuesday, Emefiele sought the permission of the FCT High Court Abuja to travel abroad over medical concerns amid the continuation of his trial slated for October.

The court fixed a later date to rule on the application.

Nairametrics reports that the rulings or verdicts of the trial courts can still be tested by the Supreme Court.



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