By Innocent Anaba
lagos—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered the final forfeiture of N28.5 million and some properties belonging to Mr. Jamiu Anifowoshe, a Director of Finance in the Public Works Department of Lagos State, to the Federal Government, for being proceeds of unlawful activities.
Property ordered to be forfeited include: six flats of three bedroom, another six flats of two bedroom, andsix flats of one bedroom, located at Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin-Ile Igbogbo-Ikorodu, Lagos: and four flats of three Bedroom duplex, located at 6, Tunde Gabby Close, Dopemu Area, Pako Bus Stop Agege, Lagos.
Trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, also ordered final forfeiture of a semi-detached three bedroom flat and one unit of three bedroom terrance at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate Arepo, Ogun State and a plot of land situated at Queen’s Garden Estate off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, to the Federal Government.
Justice Aikawa granted the orders in his judgment in an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against the director.
The judge had earlier granted an interim order forfeiting the money and the properties to the Federal government.
Justice Aikawa also directed the Federal Government to take administrative step to ensure that both the money and the property were transferred to the Lagos State Government in view of the affidavit before the court.
However, the Director through his lawyer, Wole Okenile said they were appealing the judgment in the next 24 hours.
Particularly, the director said he was appealing against the forfeiture of six flats of three bedroom, another six flats of two bedroom and six flats of 1 bedroom, located at Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin-Ile Igbogbo-Ikorodu, Lagos, which he claimed to have acquired before assuming office of the Director in the Ministry.
After reviewing arguments of counsel, Justice Aikawa said Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offence Act, Number 14, 206, empowers the court to grant an order of forfeiture of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime to the Federal Government.
The judge said that the respondent in the case did not file any counter-affidavit to challenge the plaintiff averrements, but was only represented by a counsel who made oral application asking the court to set aside its earlier order of interim forfeiture, on the ground that the applicant failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the properties in contention were stolen.
Justice Aikawa added that Okeniile, lawyer to the respondent, while making his oral submission said that the onus of prove is on the applicant (EFCC),
On the side of Lagos state Government, which has filed an application for joinder, the judge said that the state filed an application to show course that the money belong to it and that the court has inherent power to vary its order despite the provision of Section 17 of Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences.