Court orders forfeiture of N450m found in bureau de change


The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of N449,750,000 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it found in an abandoned bureau de change office on Victoria Island on April 7, 2017.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa gave the forfeiture order after an ex-parte application by the anti-graft agency.

An affidavit filed before the judge by EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, prayed that the huge cash, which is suspected to be proceeds from crimes, be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The commission said it recovered the money after investigating intelligence information received on one Mohammed Tauheed.

Awolusi explained that Tauheed had earlier been brought twice to the EFCC office by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Legico Shopping Plaza, Mr. Sulaiman Daba and Alhaji Ishaq Ayandiran, respectively.

He further disclosed that during the visits, Tauheed revealed to the commission that he received the money in cash from a serving government official, whose name was withdrawn due to security reasons.

The investigator continued that Tauheed, in the presence of his lawyer, agreed to return the money to the rightful owner of the funds, which is the Federal Government.

Awolusi added that Tauheed allegedly conspired to steal the money with the owner of the shop numbered LS64, located on at Legico Shopping Plaza which had been abandoned for two years.

Following the investigator’s affidavit, Justice Aikawa ordered the EFCC to advertise the order in a national newspaper and gave a 14-day ultimatum for anyone claiming ownership of the cash to appear in court with convincing reasons why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the government.

The case was subsequently adjourned till May 19, 2017.