Court Orders Forfeiture Of N37.5m, Hotel Belonging To Convited EX-NIMASA Boss

Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered that the sum of N37.5 million warehouse in Diamond Bank Plc be temporarily forfeited the federal government.

Justice Saidu also ordered the initial forfeiture of the Hotel procured with proceed of an unlawful activities by former Acting Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Calistus Obi.

It will be recalled that Obi was convicted on May 23, 2019, by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the same.

Justice Saidu made the order after entertaining a motion exparte file and agued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo on Monday.

Oyedepo told the court that the motion was brought pursuant to section 17 of the advance free fraud and other related offences Act, 2006 and under section 34 of the constitution.

The EFCC lawyer also iinformed the judge that the second respondent was charged and convicted (Obi) on the 23rd of May, 2019.

After listening to him, the judge granted the order as prayed and also directed the anti-graft agency to publish it in a national newspaper to enable interested parties to come before him to show course why the order should not be made absolute.

Justice Saidu then adjourned the matter to November 4 for further hearing.

Obi, Dismass Alu Adoo, a Personal Assistant to the former Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi and two companies owned by convicted Obi for unlawfully conversion and theft of the sum of N136 million belonging to the agency.

The convicted companies are: Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited for the same offence.

All the convicts were arraigned before the court by the EFCC on on an 8-count charge of conspiracy, unlawful conversion and theft of the sum of N331 million belonging to NIMASA.

In the charge marked FHC/L/148C/16, the convicts committing the offences between January 6, 2014 and May 30, 2015, in Lagos.

The offences according to the prosecution are contrary to and punishable under Sections 15 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibitions (Amendment) Act, 2012

While delivering her judgement, Justice Olatoregun discharged and acquitted Obi and Adoo of the charge of conspiracy, saying that the prosecution failed to established the offence against the duo.

Justice Olatoregun, however, held that the prosecution through its witnesses and overwhelming evidence, had been able to established the offence of unlawful conversion and offence of aiding and abetting against all the convicts.

The judge therefore convicted Obi of counts two to eight of the charge, while Adoo, the second defendant was convicted of counts two, three and four of the charge.

The court also convicted Obi’s companies of aiding and abetting.

The court had ordered that the convicts be remanded in prison pending sentence.

While the former Acting DG got a seven year jail term with an option of paying a N42 million fine, the second convict, Adoo got a seven year jail term with an option of N21 million fine for the three counts on which he was convicted.

In her sentence, Justice Olatoregun noted that though the punishment section was silent on the issue of fines, she held that the court had the discretion to award same.

28th February 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph