Soni Daniel, Abuja
Justice Fadima Murtala Aminu of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State has ordered the interim forfeiture of eleven landed properties, in Damaturu metropolis, belonging to Alhaji Idris Yahaya, the Auditor General of all the Local Government Areas, LGAs, of Yobe State.
She gave the order on Wednesday following an ex parte application filed by the Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seeking an interim forfeiture of the properties.
EFCC counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, told the court that Yahaya had some landed properties suspected to be proceeds of crime, owing to an alleged criminal diversion of public funds, abuse of office and money laundering reported to the Commission.
A petitioner alleged that the suspect enriched himself by putting ghost workers into the payroll of LGAs in Yobe State and acquired landed properties from the proceeds of the crime.
“Investigation by the EFCC showed that the suspect diverted huge sums of money from the coffers of Yobe LGAs and illegally acquired the following properties: Farsawa Plaza opposite First Bank of Nigeria Limited, along Gashua Road, Damaturu, a mega plaza opposite Central Bank of Nigeria complex, situated along Gujba Road, Damaturu. Others are: 20 units of self-contained, four units of single rooms self-contained and two units of rooms and parlor self-contained apartments, situated opposite the Central Bank of Nigeria Complex, along Gujba Road, Damaturu.
Also identified by the commission are: four units of rooms and parlor self-contained apartment, a fenced plot of land, three bedroom flats and BB shopping complex, all situated opposite the Central Bank of Nigeria complex, along Gujba Road, Damaturu. The rest are properties situated at plot number C300 at 440 Housing Estate, Gujba Road and BB Lounge, beside Nishadi Kilishi, along Maiduguri Road, Damaturu, Yobe State.
Ahmed prayed the court to order the interim forfeiture of the properties to the Federal Government and equally submitted that the suspect is living above his means as a civil servant.Consequently, Justice Aminu granted the application as prayed and ordered the interim forfeiture of the eleven landed properties. She also directed the publication of the order in any national newspaper, for the respondent or anyone having legal claims to the properties to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why a final order of forfeiture should not be made.