A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government to transmit to the Lagos State Government a sum of N28.5m and houses recovered from the Director of Accounts, Lagos State Public Works Corporation, Mr. Anifowoshe Alade.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa gave the directive shortly after he ordered the permanent forfeiture of the funds and properties which Alade was said to have acquired with funds diverted from the LSPWC.
The forfeiture order was granted in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which filed an application for the forfeiture of Alade’s assets.
The judge said he was left with no other option but to the order Alade to forfeit the properties and the funds, since Alade did not file any counter-affidavit to deny the claim by the EFCC that he acquired his wealth from stolen funds.
The judge held, “The applicant made averments and exhibited documents which have not been contradicted by the respondent in the form of a counter-affidavit. These averments are, therefore, by law deemed admitted.
“I hold that the applicant has met the test for the grant of the application for an order of final forfeiture.”
He noted that the plea by the Lagos State Government that the assets should be forfeited to the state rather than the Federal Government since the funds allegedly diverted belonged to the state.
“I hereby order that the Federal Government shall take such administrative steps and with reasonable dispatch to ensure that the funds and the properties forfeited to the Federal Government are transmitted to the Lagos State government in view of the evidence before me,” the judge ruled.
The EFCC had on December 7, 2017 obtained an ex parte order temporarily forfeiting the N28.5m found in Alade’s bank account and some houses belonging to him to the Federal Government.
Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, told Justice Aikawa that the anti-graft agency investigated Alade for allegedly diverting N28.5m from the Lagos State Public Works Corporation.
The EFCC, in its ex parte application, accused Alade of diverting funds from the Lagos State Public Works Corporation into the bank account of a company, MAJ Anny International Limited, where he is a director.
In an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, an operative of the EFCC, Zayyanu Halliru, said Alade is the sole signatory to the company’s account.
He added that Alade abused his position as “the final authoriser of the Internet banking system of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation.”
The investigator said, “The respondent used his office and position to enrich himself with the funds from Lagos State Public works Corporation to acquire landed properties within Lagos and Ogun states,” adding that the EFCC had recovered the properties.
According to him, the properties include six sets of three-bedroom flats, six sets of two-bedroom flats and six sets of one-bedroom flats on Adewale Osiyeku Street, Offin ille Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Others are four sets of three-bedroom duplexes at No. 6, Tunde Gabby Close, Dopemu Area, Pako Bus Stop, Agege, Lagos State; as well as a semi-detached three bedroom flat and a unit of three-bedroom terrace at Cranbel Court, Citiview Estate Arepo Ogun State.
Also seized was a plot of land at Queen’s Garden Estate off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The investigator said, “That the buildings highlighted above are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities purchase with the stolen funds from the Lagos State Public Works Corporation.
“That the order of this court is needed to forfeit these aforementioned buildings to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”