Cyber Crime: Court To Deliver Judgment On Seized $54,000 On March 27

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed March 27 to deliver judgment in a suit seeking the permanent forfeiture of $54,000 recovered from a firm, Asej Global Services, operated by one Ojo Temitope Francis.

Justice Hassan fixed the date after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) moved an application to that effect.

The judge had last August made an order for the initial forfeiture of the $54,000 to the Federal Government, after granting an ex parte application filed by the EFCC.

The EFCC counsel, S.I. Suleiman told the court during Monday’s proceedings that the anti-graft had since complied with the court’s order to publish the interim forfeiture order to enable anyone interested to see and come to court.

Suleiman argued that since no one had come forward to oppose the application for the permanent forfeiture of the funds, the judge should order same forfeited to the Federal Government.

The Commission had informed the judge in a 20 paragraphs affidavit filed in support of the suit, that the funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of cyber fraud.

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The affidavit was deposed to by the Commission’s investigative officer, Peter Chidinma.

The investigator said the agency commenced action against Asej Global Services following a petition against the firm and Francis by First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

FCMB had made the report following an inflow of $54,000 into the firm’s account with number, 4445389020, domiciled in FCMB.

Chimdinma said: “The petitioner, First City Monument Bank, enquired about the nature of the funds and the account holder (Francis) claimed that they were from his friend and associate, George Edwards Cook, residing in the United States and that the funds were for the purchase of properties on behalf of the said friend and business associate.

“That upon further enquiry, the suspect provided a copy of the driver’s licence of a white man, purporting that it belonged to the said friend and business associate residing in the United States and could not provide information on the nature of their business.

“That in the course of investigation, a letter of request for assistance was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist in locating and interviewing the said business associate, George Edward Cook.

“That in response to the letter of request for assistance sent to the FBI, it was revealed that the said George Edward Cook had been flagged by the US Department of Treasury and US Banking Financial Security Network as a known fraudster.

“Investigation further revealed that as of December 2017, George Edward Cook utilised counterfeit cheques to deposit $44,480 but was denied and is currently unable to secure any new US-based bank account under his name due to his ban by FINCEN.

“That so far, the team has been able to establish that one Ojo Temitope Francis, hiding under the cover of the suspect, Asej Global Services, operated a domiciliary account in FCMB and received funds from George Edward Cook, who has been identified as a US-based fraudster.

“That the whereabouts of the said Mr George Edward Cook is unknown and he is likely trying to transfer his ill-gotten funds from the US to Nigeria through the domiciliary account of the suspect.”

21st June 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph