Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday ordered a temporary forfeiture of some properties worth N1.8 billion allegedly belonging to Tuoyo Omatsuli, Executive Director, Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, NNDC, to the federal government.
Justice Obiozor gave the order following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The counsel to the applicant, Ekele Iheanacho, in the application, prayed the court for the forfeiture of these properties belonging to Omatsuli: Block 117, Plot 4, Lekki Peninsula Scheme, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Eti-Osa L.G.A, Lagos, measuring 1804.089Sqm and Plots 1-18, Block 43, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Lekki Peninsula, Eti-Osa, Lagos, measuring 10,000Sqm.
Others are: Plot 1b, Northern Business District, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, measuring 1000Sqm and Plot 1, Block 25, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme 1, Eti-Osa L.G.A, measuring 2989.10Sqm.
Moving the application today, Mr Iheanacho also referred to paragraph four of the affidavit, detailing how a contractor with the NDDC, Starline Consultancy Services Limited, was paid N10.2 billion as consultancy fee for levies collected from oil processing companies in the Niger Delta Region.
He further said that out of the money paid to Starline, N3.6 billion was paid as kickback to Omatsuli through a company named Building Associates Limited.
“Some of the funds were used by Building Associates to buy properties in the name of a company, Don Parker Properties Limited, where Omatsuli had majority shareholding,” he added.
Mr Iheanacho also told the court that one Francis Momoh, who is described as the majority shareholder in Building Associates Limited, was introduced as a shareholder in Don Parker Properties Limited so as to disguise the nature of the crime.
After hearing the submissions as well as the application, Justice Obiozor granted all the reliefs sought by the applicant and ordered the forfeiture of the properties to the federal government.
The judge further directed the commission to publish the order in any national newspaper within 14 days, notifying the respondents or anyone interested in the properties to appear before the court and show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Obiozor adjourned the case to June 19, 2018.