The Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi area of Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of a sum of N28.5million belonging to a Director of Accounts, Lagos State Ministry of Public Works Corporation, Anifowoshe Alade, to the Federal Government.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa who gave the order in a ruling on Wednesday, also held that a number of houses and a piece of land owned by Mr Alade should be finally forfeited to the government.
The order followed an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006 and Section 44 (2)(b) of the Constitution.
According to a statement signed by EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, the properties are six flats of three-bedroom apartment; six flats of two-bedroom apartment and six flats of one-bedroom apartment at Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin-Ile Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Others include four flats of three-bedroom duplex at 6, Tunde Gabby Close, Dopemu Area, Pako Bus Stop Agege, Lagos State; one plot of land at Queen’s Garden Estate, Off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; a semi-detached three-bedroom flat and one unit of three-bedroom Terrance at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate Arepo, Ogun State.
In an affidavit in support of the application deposed to by Zayyanu Halliru, an investigator with the EFCC, the respondent, Alade, while holding the position of Director of Accounts, was said to have incorporated a company called “MAJ Anny International Limited”.
It was further stated that Alade, who is a director in the company and the sole signatory to its account, had used his position and company’s account to divert public funds meant for the Lagos State Public Work Corporation.
The deponent, among other prayers in the affidavit, had also said that: “I know, as a fact, that we traced to the respondent the sum of N106, 095,960.00, which sums he fraudulently stole from Public Works Corporation, Lagos State, to his personal (bank) account and converted same to his personal use.
“I know, as a fact, that we traced to the respondent the sum of N223,373,475.00, which sums he fraudulently stole from Public Works Corporation, Lagos State to Maj Anny International Limited, being his company’s account.”
It was further stated that the sum of N28.5million had been recovered from the respondent.
Earlier on December 7, 2017, Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC moved the application for the temporary forfeiture of the money as well as the property.
“They are stolen, diverted and retained by him (Alade) from the Lagos State Public Works Corporation,” he had said.
In granting the application, Justice Aikawa had ordered a temporary forfeiture of the money, as well as the property.
The judge also ordered the EFCC to notify the respondent to appear before the court within 14 days to show why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The commission was also directed to publish the order in a national newspaper so as to allow the respondent or anyone who was interested in the property to show cause within 14 days, why the final order of forfeiture of the property should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.
While ordering the final forfeiture on Wednesday, Justice Aikawa held that the applicant had shown reasonable cause that the fund and property were proceeds of unlawful activity.
He further held that the Federal Government “should take such administrative steps to ensure that the funds and properties are transmitted to the Lagos State government in view of the evidence before me.”
Both the Federal and Lagos State governments had laid claim to the properties, with the latter stating that Alade was its employee.