Court to rule on forfeiture of properties linked to Kogi Govt April 20

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed April 20, 2023 to rule on an application filed by Kogi State seeking to vacate an interim order of the court freezing 14 properties linked to the state governor. Justice Nicholas Oweibo fixed the date on Tuesday after taking submissions from the Kogi State Government’s counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, and the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN.

On February 22, the court had granted the interim forfeiture order following an ex parte motion to confiscate 14 properties and firms in Lagos, Abuja, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as N400m, recovered from one Aminu Falala. When the matter came up on Tuesday, the counsel to Kogi State, told the court that he had an application dated March 9, 2023 seeking to vacate the order of the court made on February 22.

Mohammed, while moving the application, stated that about the third quarter of 2021, EFCC approached the court to freeze Kogi State’s N20bn salary bailout loan that was allegedly hidden in Sterling Bank. He said that when the Kogi State Government called Sterling Bank, the bank denied that such account existed, and that they challenged the freezing order made by Justice Tijjani Ringim insisting the order was obtained illegally. Mohammed further stated that EFCC, instead of apologising, sent a press release that the money had been returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to him, the Kogi State Government approached the state High Court, presided over by the present Chief Judge, Justice Josiah Majebi, who granted an order restraining the EFCC from having anything to do with Kogi State until the substantive matter was determined. He argued that the order of the Kogi State High Court restraining EFCC from taking any step against the state government was still subsisting.

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