A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court Wednesday ordered the final forfeiture of N2.7 billion recovered from former Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosu, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Mojisola Olatoregun, the judge, made the order following application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in June 2018.
The court had earlier granted an interim order of forfeiture to the total sum of N2.2 billion recovered by the EFCC from Mr Amosu, an air marshal, which it suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
The judge had also granted an order for the forfeiture of N190 million recovered from a former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Director of Finance and Budget, Olugbenga Gbadebo, an air commodore.
Mrs Olatoregun further ordered the forfeiture of N101 million recovered from Solomon Enterprises, a company linked to Mr Amosu.
She had directed the EFCC to publish the interim order in The Nation and Punch newspapers so that the respondents or anyone interested can show cause as to why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.
Mr Amosu and an interested party, Bolaji Adigun, an air vice marshal, had filed counter-affidavits arguing that the funds were proceeds of their personal businesses and not from illegal activity.
On Wednesday, the judge dismissed the counter-affidavits, stating that they had failed to provide any facts as to the level of probability to ascertain if the funds were obtained unlawfully.
“Upon examination of the two applications asking the interim orders to be set aside, dated July 28, 2018. from the first respondent and the interested party, I found nothing to set aside the order, and the applications are hereby dismissed.
“The only conclusion I can reach is that these funds are proceeds of an unlawful activity.
“The court has an inherent power to vary or discharge an interim order given, the affidavits filed disclosed no reason why the order of final forfeiture should not be made.
“I hereby order the final forfeiture of these sums to the Federal Government of Nigeria: N2,244,500,000, N190,828,978.15 and N101 million.
“The funds should be paid into the nominated GTB treasury single account of the Federal Government and an affidavit of compliance filed within 14 days.” Mrs Olatoregun said.
Messrs Amosu, Gbadebo and Jacob, a former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting Air Vice Marshal are also on trial before Justice Mohammed Idris of the same court before he was elevated to the court of Appeal.
The trial is expected to resume afresh before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.
The EFCC accused them of converting N21 billion from NAF through various companies, namely Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd, Timsegg Investment Ltd and Solomon Health Care Ltd.
Messrs Amosu and Adigun were said to have, between July 17 and Sept. 16, 2014, allegedly removed over N663.4million from the Nigerian Air Force accounts to purchase properties at 50-52 Tenterden Grove, London (NW4 1TH) and at 93B Shirehall Park, LondonNW4 2QU, United Kingdom.
They were accused of buying 40A, Bourdillon, Ikoyi, with N900million, and a property at Sinari Daranijo in Victoria Island with N1.5billion.
The EFCC said they also bought a property named Cappadol Mall at Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II Abuja, for N750million, as well as a property worth over N1.7billion at Agobogba Street, Parkview, Ikoyi Lagos, using the airforce’s money.
Other properties they allegedly bought using Air Force’s funds include one at Salt Lake Street, Maitama, Abuja; one at Agadez Street off Aminu Kano Crescent, Abuja; 61A, Lake Chad Street, Maitama, Abuja; and one at 1, River Street, Wuse II Abuja using alleged stolen funds.
The defendants allegedly used N428,139,539.00 removed from NAF accounts to renovate and purchase medical equipment for Solomon HealthCare Ltd situate at 24th Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja Lagos.