By Soni Daniel, Abuja
Justice Mohammed Sani of the Federal High Court has ordered the forfeiture of the sum of $919,000 said to have been hidden away in an interest-yielding account by some officials, to the government.
The judge gave the order of interim forfeiture based on a submission by the Independent Corrupt Practices commission for the seizure of the huge fund acting on a petition Acting on a petition instituted against some officials of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt for alleged corrupt practices.
The Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, confirmed the seizure of the money in a statement made available to Vanguard in Abuja on Monday.
The statement said: “Acting on a petition, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has obtained an Interim Forfeiture Order on the sum of USD919,202.07 (approximately N450 million) fraudulently hidden in a bank account.
“Investigators in the Rivers State office of the Commission traced the money that had been hidden in an interest- yielding account by officials of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt since 2014.
“On discovery of the hidden money, the ICPC through its lawyer, Dr. Agada Akogwu filed an Ex-parte Motion for an Interim Order of Forfeiture of the money. In his ruling, Justice Mohammed Sani of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt granted the Commission’s prayers for interim forfeiture of the said sum pending the final hearing on the matter.
“The judge further ruled that the ‘’orders of the court directing the interim forfeiture shall be published in any daily newspaper within 14 working days for any person interested in the said property sought to be forfeited to appear before the court to show cause why the final forfeiture orders be not made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.’’
“The matter was adjourned to 14th December 2020 for reports and final forfeiture hearing,” ICPC said.