A court sitting in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, has ordered the final forfeiture of huge sums of money found in an empty apartment in an upscale area of Lagos.
The country’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), reported the seizure of what it described as a ‘humonguos find of foreign currencies,’ in mid-April.
The EFCC through its social media handles said over $43m, £27,800 and 23.2m Naira – all in cash, were seized in a Lagos apartment upon a tip from a whistle blower.
A subsequent media announcement was made asking whoever owned the money to show up but no one has since reported being the owner of having information as to who owns it.
The EFCC, however, told the court last month that wife of the country’s intelligence chief owned the flat according to documents in their possession. The national Intelligence Agency (NIA) boss was suspended by President Buhari pending a report into a vice-presidential probe into claims that the money belonged to the NIA.
Justice Hassan held that “I am in complete agreement with the submission of the learned counsel for the applicant (EFCC) that the property sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and that by every standard this huge sum of money is not expected to be kept without going through a designated financial institution; more so, nobody has shown cause why the said sum should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Having regard to the foregoing, I have no other option but to grant this application as prayed.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, I hereby make the following orders: 1. A final order is made forfeiting the sums of $43,449,947 found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at Flat 7B of No. 16 Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, which sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The judge made the same order in respect of the £27,800 and N23,218,000.
Buhari’s whistleblower policy paying off?
The Muhammadu Buhari-led government announced a whistleblower policy to help recover looted state funds. The government said it will pay a percentage of the recovered loot to the whistleblower.
Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) came to power with the promise to restore security (fight Boko Haram), to revive the economy and to fight corruption.
Most former officials are standing trial for corruption, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have described the prosecutions as a “witch hunt,” the government denies the allegations.