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How ICPC forfeited $919,202.07 criminally hidden by court officials since 2014

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AS part of its mandate, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Monday says it has secured an interim order to forfeit a sum of $919,202.07 fraudulently kept in a bank by some officials of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.

The sum which is about 450 million Naira was discovered after the Commission received a petition against the suspected officials.

According to the ICPC, its investigators at the Rivers State Office traced the money to an interest yielding account kept secretly since 2014.

Upon discovery, the Commission stated that its lawyer, Dr. Agada Akogwu filed an Ex-parte Motion for an Interim Order of Forfeiture of the money.

The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Sani of the FHC in Port Harcourt, however, granted the Commission’s prayers for interim forfeiture of the disclosed sum pending the final hearing on the matter.

Part of the ruling by judge says “the interim forfeiture shall be published in any daily newspaper within 14 working days for any person interested in the said property sought to be forfeited to appear before the court.”

Whoever claims responsibility, according to the ruling should be willing to prove to the court why the final forfeiture orders should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.

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The matter was adjourned to December 14, 2020 for reports and final forfeiture hearing.

Meanwhile, the above incident is one of similar discoveries made by the anti-graft agency.

The most recent was the case of the Acting Director-General (DG) of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), accused of allegedly defrauding the federal government of N400 million.

ICPC intelligence-led investigation revealed the money, which the Acting DG claimed to be an intervention fund for the biotechnology agency was diverted into private pockets.

The unnamed professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology was alleged to have shared the huge sum with some other top management staff of the agency.

He was therefore arrested by operatives of the Commission to answer questions on how the said amount belonging to the government could disappear under his watch. The Acting DG is also facing questions bordering on conspiracy and abuse of office.

The commission says the Prof’s actions are contrary to and punishable under sections 19 and 26 of the ICPC Act, 2000.

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“Further investigations into the Acting DG’s alleged fraudulent activities are still ongoing and the Commission will take appropriate action once they are concluded.”

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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