Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Ex-NDDC’s Director’s Properties To FG

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Ex-NDDC’s Director’s Properties To FG
Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered the interim  forfeiture of four landed properties allegedly belonging to a former Executive Director, Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, Tuoyo Omatsuli to the federal government.

Justice Obiozor ordered the temporary forfeiture of the four properties, located in highbrow Lekki Peninsula Scheme area of Lagos, after entertaining an ex parte application filed to that effect by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had told the court that the properties, valued at N846.03m, were reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.

Counsel to the EFCC, Ekene Iheanacho informed Justice Obiozor that it would be in the interest of justice for the court to order that Omatsuli’s Lekki Peninsula landed properties be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.

After listening to the lawyer, the judge granted the order and directed the commission to publish same in a national daily.

The court then adjourned till June 19 for anyone interested in the properties to show up in court to convince it why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The anti-graft agency had claimed in an affidavit deposed to by one of its operatives, Adamu Yusuf, that Omatsuli received a bribe of N3,645,000,000 from a consultant to the NDDC, Starline Consultancy Services Limited.

Yusuf averred that Starline Consultancy Services Limited was engaged by the NDCC to help it recover its statutory three per cent annual budgets of oil and gas producing companies in the Niger Delta.

He also maintained that it was agreed that Starline Consultancy Services Limited would be paid 10 per cent commission on the total funds recovered from the oil and gas companies for the NDDC.

The EFCC operative further stated that to recover the funds, Starline Consultancy Services Limited sought and got the help of the House of Representatives Committee on NDCC, which wrote several letters to the oil and gas companies to demand that they pay their statutory levies to the NDDC.

According to Yusuf, Starline Consultancy Services Limited eventually succeeded in the job and was paid a total N10,218,019,060.59 as its 10 per cent commission between August 22, 2014 and June 25, 2015.

The investigator said some of the approval to pay the consultancy fee were signed by Omatsuli as the ED, Project of the NDDC.

“That Mr. Omatsuli agreed and received kickbacks (bribe) to the tune of N3,645,000,000.000 from  Starline Consultancy Services Limited through Building Associates Limited, whose alter ego is Francis Momoh (an ally of Mr. Omatsuli),” Yusuf said.

The anti-graft agency presented a table showing that Omatsuli allegedly received kickbacks 11 times between August 28, 2014 and September 8, 2015 from Starline Consultancy Services Limited.

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