JUSTICE Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered the final forfeiture of several properties worth N1.8 billion belonging to Tuoyo Omatsuli, the Executive Director of Projects at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NNDC.
In a statement on Monday, Tony Orilade, the spokesman of the EFCC, said that the ruling on Monday follows an order of interim forfeiture of the same properties to the federal government earlier in May.
The order is following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC, against Omatsuli.
The EFCC, through its counsel, Ekene Iheanacho, had narrated to the court how a contractor with the NDDC, Starline Consultancy Services Limited, was paid over N10 as consultancy fee for levies collected from oil processing companies in the Niger Delta Region, and how over N3.6 billion of the sum was paid as kickback to Omatsuli through a proxy company named Building Associates Limited.
“Some of the funds were used by Building Associates to buy properties in the name of a company, Don Parker Properties Limited, where Omatsuli had a majority shareholding,” Iheanacho further told the court.
The EFCC counsel also narrated how one Francis Momoh was introduced as a shareholder in Don Parker Properties Limited in order to disguise the nature of the crime.
While granting the interim forfeiture order earlier in May, the Judge directed the EFCC to publish the order in any national newspaper notifying the respondents or anyone interested in the properties to appear before the court and show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In October, the respondents filed an application opposing the forfeiture order and claiming ownership of the properties.
However, Justice Obiozor ruled that the properties were acquired through proceeds from kickbacks received by Building Associate Limited operated by Momoh on behalf of Omatsuli, and therefore should be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
The properties include Block 117, Plot 4, Lekki Peninsula Scheme, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Eti-Osa L.G.A, Lagos, measuring 1804.089Sqm and Plots 1-18, Block 43, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Lekki Peninsula, Eti-Osa, Lagos, measuring 10,000Sqm.
Others are Plot 1b, Northern Business District, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, measuring 1000Sqm and Plot 1; Block 25, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme 1, Eti-Osa L.G.A, measuring 2989.10Sqm.