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Nigerian Federal High Court refuses to vacate interim forfeiture order of $2.8 million

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The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has refused to vacate the interim forfeiture order granted on 28 December 2018, in respect of $2.8 million, seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Enugu Zonal Office.

The EFCC on 20 December 2018 seized the money from two persons at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. The carriers were Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel, who were suspected to be money launderers.

While filing application for interim forfeiture on 24 December 2018, the Commission also filed an affidavit of urgency for the matter to be heard before a vacation Judge sitting in Port Harcourt.

Justice A.T. Mohammed on 28 December 2018 ruled in favour of the Commission, as the court granted the order of interim forfeiture, pending the determination of the case.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, 4 January 2019, Charles Ajuya, SAN, appeared for the respondents and prayed the court to vacate the interim order.

But the EFCC counsel, Anasoh Onyedikachi Henry, who filed an eight-paragraphed Affidavit of facts, stated the progress made by the commission in the investigation.

He also presented before the court, the newspaper publication in respect of the court order.

The EFCC counsel further argued that the defence was wrong to have asked for vacation of the court order since the Ex parte is still subsisting.

In his ruling, the judge upheld the arguments of the prosecution and said that since the publication of the interim forfeiture order was a public knowledge, the defence should be prepared to prove their case rather than come to court seeking for the vacation of the order.

He, however, directed that the case file be transferred to the Enugu Division for continuation of the case, since the court vacation ended on 4 January 2019.

The suspects confessed during interrogation that they had been in the business of moving cash for “some notable banks”, for over six years and were in the process of doing same for Union Bank Plc, located at New Market, Onitsha, Anambra State, before their arrest.

They also claimed to be working for Bankers Warehouse Limited.


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