The federal high court, Lagos, has ordered that the N449,597,000, found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a Shopping mall located at Victoria Island, Lagos, be permanently forfeited of to the federal government.
The EFCC had on April 8 said it uncovered a large sum of N448,850,000, which is suspected to be proceeds of crime.
It then approached Justice Rilwan Aikawa on April 19, who issued an interim order of forfeiture of the said sum, giving room for any interested party to come forward with evidence why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the government.
However, at the resumed hearing on Friday, counsel to the EFCC, Idris Mohammed, urged the court to issue a permanent forfeiture order of a total sum of N449,597,000.
It is not clear what led to the increase of the said sum by N747,000 given that the EFCC had initially announced the discovery of N448,850,000 but was now asking for the forfeiture of N449,597,000.
Delivering his final ruling, Justice Aikawa said: “I have perused the motion on notice and as far as my records show, neither the respondent nor any other interested party has filed any affidavit or any other process to show course why the interim order should not be granted.
“I have no other option but to grant the motion as prayed.
“I hereby order that the sum of N449,597,000 found in the possession of the respondent which is believed to be proceeds of unlawful activity be finally forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that four days after the discovery, on April 12, the EFCC uncovered another huge amount of money in foreign and local currencies at another highbrow residential building in Ikoyi Lagos.
The money, totaling $43.4 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million has since been claimed by the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, who said it was meant for some “covet” operation the agency was undertaken.
Also, on March 14, the EFCC said it found a total of N49 million abandoned in sacks at the Kaduna Airport.