Lagos – A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered the temporary forfeiture of a parcel of land in Lekki Peninsula to the Federal Government, pending determination of case on alleged fraud.
The vacation Judge, justice Muslim Hassan granted the interim orders, following an ex parte (without notice) application brought before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
EFCC joined as first to third respondents in the suit: Akintayo Oloko, Macbosh Properties Ltd, and Safetrust Mortgage Bank.
The Commission sought an interim order, forfeiting the property measuring 5027.14 square metres, located at Lekki Peninsula Scheme at Block 116 plot three, Ikate ancient city in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos.
Counsel to the anti-graft Agency, Mr Anana Nkereuwem, told the court that the property is reasonably suspected and traceable to be connected to economic and financial crimes.
He, therefore, moved the application for the property to be temporarily attached, pending conclusion of investigations and prosecution of the case.
In a supporting affidavit attached to the motion, deposed to by Mr Isaac Gong, an investigating officer of the EFCC, the commission said that it received a petition from one Mr Kunle Ogunmefun against the respondents.
He said that consequent investigations revealed that the third respondent, Safetrust Mortgage Bank, proposed to construct three high rise buildings within a construction and delivery period of 24 months.
He said that the third respondent thereafter, offered to sell one of the buildings to the victim, at an agreed sum of N710 million while a “non disclosure agreement” was then executed between the victim and the second respondent, Macbosh properties Ltd.
The commission said that the agreement was made on the understanding that Macbosh was an agent of the bank, with the first respondent, Akintayo as its Managing Director.
He said that the victim then deposited a sum of N550 million in the respondents’ account with Sterling Bank, with the understanding that the property will be delivered within the specified period of 24 months from date of execution of memorandum of understanding.
The deponent stated that after the victim made the said payment, the third respondent has till date, refused to deliver the said property as agreed.
According to the commission, further investigations then revealed that the third respondent was indebted to Sterling Bank, and so, obtained the sum from the victim, to settle the debt.
He said that immediately the sum was deposited by the victim, it was deducted by the bank as settlement of the third respondent’s indebtedness to it.
The commission, therefore, sought an interim order of the Court, for forfeiture of the said property, pending prosecution of the case.
According to the Agency, transactions of this nature have negative impact on the economy, adding that it is in the best interest of Justice to make the interim orders.
After listening to the submissions of counsel, the court granted the interim order sought by the EFCC. (NAN)