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Court seizes $899,600, N150m cash linked to Petroleum Equalisation Fund GM, others

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the request for temporary forfeiture of case and properties allegedly owned by three individuals.

They are the General Manager, Corporate Services, Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board, Goddy Nnadi; ex-Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nicholas Mutu Ebomo and Abdallah Suleiman, who claimed to be involved in aviation related businesses.

Justice Folashhade Giwa-Ogunbanjo granted the orders for interim forfeiture in three motion ex-parte brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In one of the rulings, the Judge ordered the interim forfeiture of a plaza and block of flats, allegedly owned by Nnadi, after listening to EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, who moved the motion.

Iheanacho described the property as a plaza of two storey building, located at Plot C46 5221 Road, Block XXIIC Gwarimpa II Estate, Abuja, while the set of four detached bungalows are located at Plot No 77, 525 Road, A Close, Kubwa Estate, Phase IV Abuja.

He added that the properties are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

In a supporting affidavit, Iheanacho stated that Nnadi received kickbacks from petroleum products dealers and contractors and thereafter acquired the properties to launder the funds received. He further told the court that Nnadi has now voluntarily pledged to forfeit the properties to the federal government and therefore urged the court to grant the application against the properties.

In the second ruling, she ordered the interim forfeiture of N150 million linked to Ebomo.

Iheanacho had, while moving the application for the forfeiture order stated that the money was recovered by the EFCC in the course of investigating contracts awarded by the NDDC.

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He added that NDDC engaged the services of Starline Consultancy Services to recover funds owed it by oil and gas companies and that Starline sought the assistance of the House Committee on NDDC in the recovering of the funds.

The oil companies, he added, eventually paid the debts to Starline, with a total sum of N10 billion being realised.

The lawyer said investigation further revealed that Ebomo received bribe and kickbacks to the tune of over N400 as appreciation for his role in using the office of House Chairman on NDDC to facilitate the recovering of the monies.

Iheanacho said the money the Commission is seeking its forfeiture to the Federal Government is the N150 million refunded by Ebomo.

The third involved $899,600 allegedly belonging to one Abdallah Suleiman, which was forfeited to the federal government.

Iheanacho said the money was established to be proceeds of fraudulent activities by the EFCC.

He said his commission received intelligence bordering on money laundering regarding illicit funds stashed in an apartment, located in Wuse, Abuja.

Iheanacho added that, based on the intelligence, the house was searched and a safe was found that contained the money.

He told the court that investigations revealed that the apartment was secured by a former secretary to the Bauchi State government, Ibrahim Ahmed Dandija to store his valuables, but that all efforts to get him have been futile as he has refused to honour the invitation to explain his connection to the money.

Iheanacho further revealed that one Abdallah Suleiman later came forth to claim the money, stating that he engages in chartering of aircrafts through his company Montes Auri Ltd and that the money was received on behalf of a company.

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