The Supreme Court of England and Wales, yesterday, held that the confiscation order of £1.54 million ordered against Nigerian businessman, Mr Terry Waya be reduced to £392,400.
Lord Walker speaking on behalf of the Supreme Court said in his ruling that confiscation proceedings must be proportionate and that Human Rights considerations must be taken into account when deciding a confiscation order.
He went on to say that confiscation orders are not imposed to act as further punishment but merely to stop those that are seeking to benefit from their crimes.
The effect of this ruling means that Mr. Waya whose London property is worth over one and half million pounds and which has already been forfeited by prosecution authorities should now be returned to Mr. Waya with immediate effect.
Speaking on the ruling, Mr. Jonathan Chike Epelle of CLP Solicitors, London, Mr Waya’s lawyer, said justice had been done and that the court had agreed with the position we had argued right from the beginning.
He went on to applaud the court for the common sense approach that it had taken, stating that it was unfortunate that Mr. Waya had to wait almost three years through one Crown Court, One Court of Appeal and two Supreme Court decisions before Mr. Waya could finally get justice.
He said that in Mr. Waya’s case, there had been no loser, no victim, and any mortgage advance acquired by Mr. Waya had been fully repaid with interest within 18 months, and given that this was the case, it was regrettable that it took the fully constituted 9 Supreme Court judges to change the law relating to benefit in confiscation mortgage frauds for Mr. Waya to get justice.
Speaking at his Abuja residence, Mr Waya said that he was overjoyed that justice had finally be done and wanted to extend his gratitude to the Supreme Court for the decision that they had reached and thanked his lawyers for their tireless efforts.
The Judgement has overturned a great deal of legal precedent in relation to confiscation law.
The Justices had directed a further three-day appeal hearing in this appeal, originally subject of a one-day hearing in May 2011, in order to hear representations on a number of important issues of principle in relation to the Proceeds of Crime Act which were not, or not fully, explored at the original hearing in the Supreme Court.
For the three day hearing, The Attorney General (Advocate to the Court), Secretary of State for the Home Department (Intervener) were represented.