Court adjourns Kogi case against EFCC on asset forfeiture to April 20

Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday fixed April 20, 2023, to rule on a Kogi State Application seeking to vacate an interim order of court freezing 14 properties linked to the Kogi State governor.

The court fixed the date after taking submissions from the Governor’s counsel, Mr Abdulwahab Mohammed SAN and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedopo (SAN).

The court had on February 22, made an interim forfeiture order following an exparte motion to confiscate 14 properties and firms in Lagos, Abuja, and the United Arab Emirates as well as N400m recovered from one Aminu Falala.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, the Kogi state counsel told the court that he had an application dated March 9, 2023, seeking to vacate the order of the court made on February 22.

Mohammed, while moving the application stated that about the third quarter of 2021, EFCC approached the court to freeze Kogi State’s N20bn salary bail-out loan that was allegedly hidden in Sterling bank.

He said that when the Kogi State government called Sterling Bank, the bank denied that such an account existed and that they challenged the freezing order made by Justice Tijjani Ringim that the order was obtained illegally.

Mohammed further stated that EFCC instead of apologizing sent a press release that the money had been returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

According to him, the Kogi State Government approached the state High court, presided over by the present Chief judge justice Majebi who granted an order restraining the EFCC from having anything to do with Kogi State until the substantive matter was determined.

He argued that the order of the Kogi State High Court restraining EFCC from taking any step against Kogi State Government was still subsisting.

“The EFCC in flagrant disregard of the said Order of the Kogi State High Court and her pending appeal at the Court of Appeal Abuja Judicial Division arrested one Ali Bello Nephew of the Applicant herein, who is an associate of the Kogi State Government on the 29th of November, 2022.

“That the EFCC in flagrant disobedience of the subsisting Order of the High Court of Kogi State, interrogated the said Alli Bello and coerced him to oblige them information pertaining to most of the properties listed in the Order of this Honourable Court made on the 22nd of February, 2023.

“That the High Court of Kogi State in a Judgement delivered on the 12” of January, 2023 granted all the reliefs sought by the Applicant and made an Order declaring his arrest, detention and interrogation illegal and unconstitutional and further Order of perpetual injunction restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, their agents, servants, privies or howsoever called from further arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of the said Ali Bello, nephew of the Applicant herein. The Judgement of the High Court of Kogi State delivered on the 12 of January, 2022 is herewith attached and marked “EXHIBIT D”

Oyedepo in his response said that the applicant had brought nothing before the court to convince the court to vacate the order.

He urged the court to dismiss the application of the applicant seeking to vacate the order earlier made by the court.

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