By Sharon Ngozi Nwabiani (Senior Correspondent, in Lagos)
Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds as well as properties traced to the suspended aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Abidemi Rufai.
Justice Ringim gave the order, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Also joined as respondents are Rufai’s firm, Omo Mayodele Global Investment and Sterling Bank Plc as second and third respondents in the suit.
The order covers his property located at 11, Omodayo Awotuga Street, Bera Estate, Chevy View, Lekki, Lagos, and funds in his accounts domiciled in Sterling and Zenith Banks.
Investigation revealed that Rufai, who was arrested for an alleged $350,000 fraud in the United States of America, USA, had dissipated the sum of N29.37m in the accounts, in tranches of N5,000,000, N5,000,000, N2, 730,000, N1,100,000, N2,040,000, N2,000,000,N2,000,000 and N5,000,000.
The funds, investigation revealed, were housed in his accounts in three different banks.
Moving the application on Tuesday, Emeka Okongwu, counsel to the Commission, urged the court to grant the applicant’s prayers in order to prevent further dissipation of the funds in the bank.
Justice Ringim granted the EFCC's prayers and also held that “I am satisfied by the averment in the affidavit deposed to by Usman Abdulhamid and the legal submission of the counsel that this application should succeed and the same is accordingly granted as prayed.”
The Judge also ordered the EFCC to publish the Order within 14 days from today for any interested party to show cause why the funds and properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Judge adjourned further hearing till December 1, 2021. NNL.