Court lifts forfeiture order on N725m, properties linked to Akpobolokemi

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Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos has vacated an interim forfeiture order placed on some assets which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) linked to a former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director General, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi.

The judge also dismissed EFCC’s motion on notice for a final forfeiture order.

The court had, on April 3, 2023, ordered the interim forfeiture of a property at Plot J37A Close, 2nd Avenue, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, and N725,345,897.77, while granting a motion ex parte filed by the EFCC.

The properties were said to belong to Boloboloere Properties & Estates Limited, while the N725,345,897.77 is said to belong to Onyeinteke Global Network.

Granting the orders for interim forfeiture, the court ruled that the property “is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity” while the money, it said, “is reasonably suspected to be proceed of unlawful activity”.

But the two firms, through their lawyer, A. Labi-Lawal, challenged the order through a motion on notice, dated April 11, 2023, praying the court to set aside the interim forfeiture.

The lawyer argued that the EFCC concealed material fact that Boloboloere had been discharged on all counts bordering on allegations of money laundering brought against the company in the suit: Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Dr. Parick Ziadeke Apobolokemi and 10 others.

He argued that the EFCC failed to show how Boloboloere’s property was purchased from the proceeds of unlawful activities.

Labi-Lawal prayed the court to grant an order setting aside and/or discharging the interim orders and to restrain the EFCC from advertising the order of interim forfeiture.

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