Court Grants Forfeiture Of N387.7m  Recovered From Ex- INEC Officials

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has granted a final forfeiture of the sum of N387,672,252.00 (Three Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty Two Million Naira) only found and recovered from four retired officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The order was given by Justice I.N.Oweibo on Monday,  May 6, 2019.

The retired INEC officials are: Victor Chukwuani, Okesiji Jacob Adeniran, Gabriel Adebayo Oke and Torgba Nyitse.

Justice M.S. Hassan of the same court had, on July 23, 2018, granted an interim forfeiture of the various sums of money to the Federal Government, following an ex-parte application filed by the Commission.

Justice Hassan had also directed the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper for the respondents or anyone interested in the funds to show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Following the publication of the interim forfeiture order, the EFCC had applied to the court seeking the final forfeiture of the various sums of money recovered from each of the respondents.

The respondents were said to have received the sums of money out of the $115,010,000.00( N23,249,920,000.00) stashed in Fidelity Bank Plc and distributed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, for the campaigns and successful prosecution of the Goodluck/Sambo 2015 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  presidential election.

In an affidavit deposed to by Usman Zakari, an investigator with the EFCC, in support of the application for the final forfeiture of funds, the applicant stated that the respondents and some others had conspired and formed a non-governmental organisation, NGO, West Africa Network of Observers, WANEO, with the primary objective of ensuring victory of the PDP candidate in the election.

The applicant also revealed the identity of the WANEO’s National Coordinator as Prof. Maurice Iwu,  a former INEC Chairman.

The second respondent, Adeniran, was the coordinator of WANEO in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo , Osun and Ekiti States respectively .

The sums of N366,672,252.00 (Three Hundred and Sixty-six Million, Six Hundred and Seven Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty-two Naira) as well as N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) were found and recovered by the Commission from the first and second  respondents, respectively.

Also, the sums of N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira) and N6,000,000 (Six Million Naira) were found and recovered from the third and fourth respondents respectively.

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