Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday ordered the temporary forfeiture of sums of N3,468,933,487.8 and $67, 586.27 found in possession of the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, and 11 others.
Also ordered by the judge to be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government are three petrol stations and a residential building located in Lagos, said to be owned by Abdusalam and others.
According to court papers, the affected residential building is located at No. 5, Sobo Arobiodu Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos; while the three petrol station are located at Faith Bus Stop, Egbeda, Idimu Road, Lagos; Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos; and Alakuko, Lagos, respectively.
Justice Oguntoyinbo said the monies and the landed properties would remain forfeited to the Federal Government pending the outcome of a criminal charge filed against Abdusalam and others by the Federal Government before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the same court.
The judge made the order following an ex parte application moved to that effect by a lawyer from the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Modupe Akinkoye.
Akinkoye had told the judge that the application was brought pursuant to Section 44(2)(k) of the 1999 Constitution and sections 26, 28, 29 and 34(1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.
In a 19-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, an EFCC investigator, Nurudeen Bello, averred that Abdulsalam and six others were already being prosecuted for an alleged fraud of N2.8bn before Justice Kuewumi.
According to him, the defendants were being prosecuted for money laundering and obtaining money by false pretence contrary to and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and Section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012.
The investigator said the trial of the defendants followed a petition written against them to the EFCC by one Tunde Balogun, an aviation stakeholder, alleging that some management staff members of NAMA stole government funds “running into billions of naira through fictitious procurement contracts, fictitious containers clearing contracts and fraudulent cash advancement made to some members of staff.”
Those being tried alongside Abdusalam in the charge marked FHC/L/145c/16, before Justice Kuewumi are the General Manager, Procurement at NAMA, Adegorite Olumuyiwa, and his wife, Joy.
Others are the General Manager, Finance at NAMA, Agbolade Segun; the Director of Finance at NAMA, Clara Aliche; the General Manager, ICT at NAMA, Bolaniran Akinribido; and Abiodun Sessebor.
Also joined as defendants in the charge are three companies where Sessebor is a co-director – Delosa Ltd.; Airsea Delivery Ltd.; and Sea Schedule Systems Ltd.
The EFCC investigator claimed that the funds and properties in respect of which the forfeiture order was sought were proceeds of the defendants criminal activities.
He claimed that it was necessary to obtain the temporary forfeiture order because the EFCC had got winds of the moves by the defendants to dissipate the monies and the assets.
According to schedule filed before the court, the N3,468,933,487.8 and $67, 586.27 traced to the defendants were kept in 25 separate bank accounts.
After listening to Akinkoye on Friday, Justice Oguntoyinbo granted the temporary forfeiture order.