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Court orders final forfeiture of company’s $3,719,855.94 to Nigeria

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Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of $3,719,855.94 found in the account of a company, Enerbett International Ltd, to the Federal Government.

Justice Aneke gave the order, following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The judge had, on June 18, 2021, ordered the interim forfeiture of the money and also directed anyone with lawful interest in the money to show cause why it should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

In granting the interim forfeiture, the judge had also directed the publication of the order in a national newspaper.

In an affidavit in support of the application, the commission, through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that the sum was part of credit inflows of $8,360,444.43 received by the firm and reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful activity.

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Mr Oyedepo also told the court that the sums were surreptitiously transferred to conceal and retain in the account No.4694976024 opened in the name of Enerbett International Ltd domiciled in First City Monument Bank Plc.

He further told the court that the sum of $4,640,398.33 had already been dissipated by suspects in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/586/2021, adding that “As at 31st day of May, 2021, the said account had witnessed credit inflows to the tune of $8,360,444.43, which sums are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

“That before the intelligence was received and acted upon by the commission, the company and its cronies had dissipated the total sum of $4,640,398.33 leaving a balance of $3,720,046.10.

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“That as of 31st day of May, 2021, the balance standing to the credit of the said account was $3,720,046.10.

In his ruling, Justice Aneke held that the application was “meritorious and ought to be granted.

The judge also held that “In light of the above reasons, I hereby order the final forfeiture and the same be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

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