Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday ordered the permanent forfeiture of some assets said to have been returned by a suspect allegedly linked to the suspended Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.
The order was a sequel to an application for permanent forfeiture by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) M. S. Abubakar.
Oyo-Ita is currently under indefinite suspension pending the outcome of the investigation of allegations against her
At Thursday’s proceedings, Abubakar informed the court that between the last adjournment on June 28, 2019, when the court granted an ex parte application for the interim forfeiture of the assets and till date, no party had come forward to lay claim to the funds.
He added that the unnamed suspect who was served with the order of interim forfeiture did not respond.
According to Abubakar, the funds were voluntarily returned to the commission as proceeds of crime.
Following the failure of any claimant to the funds, the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, therefore, prayed the court to make the order permanent, adding that the money had been paid into an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria immediately it was returned by the suspect.
In a short ruling, Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa subsequently granted the request of the Commission and ordered for the permanent forfeiture of the said assets.
It should be noted that details of the case were not read out in the open court when the judge made the order of final forfeiture of the monetary assets to the Federal Government.
FBI Indictment: EFCC Arrests 28, Recovers N468m
The joint operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on internet fraud has led to the arrest of 28 suspected internet fraudsters and the recovery of N486 million.
The EFCC said yesterday that 80 cases were under investigation in the joint operation, which started in 2018.
The acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said collaboration between the commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has led to the recovery of the sums of $314,000 and N373,000,000.00, respectively from perpetrators of computer-related fraud.
Magu said the money was traced to various commercial banks by the Lagos Zonal office of the commission.
He also disclosed that the recent joint operations coordinated by the commission had yielded 28 arrests, adding that 14 suspects had been charged and convicted.
The EFCC chairman further stated that “nine of the suspects are currently undergoing trial, while five are still under investigations. Over 80 cases are still under investigation from the EFCC-FBI joint operations.”
Speaking through the Lagos Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mohammed Rabo, Magu added that the Lagos zone of the commission, prior to the collaborative efforts with the FBI, had independently launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds.
“From 2018 to date, the EFCC had launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds, which resulted in over 200 arrests, 130 convictions, and recovery of a large number of exotic cars and properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime.
“We had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous Yahoo yahoo boys culminating in various strategic raids and onslaught on their hideouts”, he said, while noting that the “efforts in this regard have recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.”
Magu also called on the media to continue to lend its voice to the fight against corruption and economic and financial crimes, saying that “no one has the monopoly of knowledge of how the fight should be fought and won”.
“All the critical stakeholders, particularly the media, must continue to collaborate and cooperate with us to make the fight a success.
“I urge you to continue to help us sensitize, mobilize and educate all the critical stakeholders to continue to support the fight against economic and financial crimes. We must collectively strive to achieve the Nigeria of our dream”, he said.
Magu said: “It is very critical for you to understand that you owe the youth that social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.”
He also reiterated that the commission would leave no stone unturned towards stamping out corruption and economic and financial crimes from our society.