…gets forfeiture order for N397 million pension cash in 2 banks
By Soni Daniel
Abuja – Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday confiscated gold worth N211 million at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
This came on a day an Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ordered the interim forfeiture to the Federal Government of the sum of N397.6 million suspected to be pension funds illegally hidden away in two commercial banks.
According to the EFCC, the gold was being illegally transport through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos en route Dubai, United Arab Emirate.
A statement by the Acting Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, said, “Following intelligence report, the operatives on November 9, 2018 uncovered the gold weighing about 35kg just at the point of departure of a suspect currently in the EFCC’s custody.
“Investigation is ongoing to unravel his accomplice behind the illegal movement of the goods. Meanwhile, the suspect is cooperating with operatives.
It will be recalled that the EFCC also in March 2017 intercepted bags containing a total of N49 million being illegally transported out of the country through the Kaduna International Airport.
Meanwhile, the two banks, which hold the huge cash suspected to have been stashed there by pension thieves, have not given the names of those who lodged the cash, which comprises local and foreign currencies.
The breakdown of the cash is: N357,206,311.15, $91,955.38 (N33, 411, 987.32) and £15,050 (N7, 040 , 841.5).
But apparently frustrated by the inability of the two holding banks to name the owners of the cash and make them to come forward and claim the money, the EFCC approached the court and sought the forfeiture of the money to the federal government in line with its mandate.
The judge had on October 26, 2018 issued the order of interim forfeiture for the monies domiciled in the two commercial banks following an ex-parte summons by the EFCC dated October 3, 2018 and filed on October 5, 2018. The EFCC had in the course of investigating a pension fraud case, traced to the monies to the accounts of a firm known as ‘Tahir Yusuf and Bitmas Enterprises’.
In preparation for a final forfeiture, the judge has directed that the EFCC publish the notice of the interim forfeiture order in any national daily newspaper and on the EFCC’s website.
Justice Ojukwu held that: “Any such persons or bodies, who may be affected by this order is at liberty within 14 days of the said publication to apply for a Motion on Notice to the Court on such justifiable grounds, to show cause why a final order of forfeiture should not be made.”
The matter has been fixed for November 28, 2018 for “report/hearing of order show cause”.