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Federal High Court Orders Seizure of $1.4 Million Linked to Former CBN Governor

Court orders forfeiture of $1.4m linked to Emefiele
Godwin Emefiele

The Federal High Court in Lagos has mandated the interim forfeiture of $1,426,175.14 tied to former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, suspected to be proceeds from unlawful activities.

Justice Ayokunle Faji instructed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper

This notice invites any interested parties to present themselves within 14 days to argue against the permanent forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government.

The court’s decision followed an ex-parte application by EFCC counsel Bilikisu Buhari-Bala. The application stated that the funds were reasonably suspected to be from Emefiele’s unlawful activities, for which he is currently undergoing three separate criminal trials.

EFCC investigator David Jayeoba revealed that credible intelligence led to the discovery of the funds in a bank account. Jayeoba alleged that between 2021 and 2022, amidst a period of forex scarcity, directors of Donatone Limited collected bribes on behalf of Emefiele to facilitate forex approvals.

Payments amounting to $26,552,000 were made to Donatone’s accounts, with substantial transactions occurring on specific dates in 2021 and 2022. The funds were allegedly laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius before being transferred back to Nigeria.

Currently, the account holds a balance of $1,426,175.14, which the EFCC seeks to have forfeited to the Federal Government. The account’s signatories are at large and are allegedly attempting to dissipate the funds electronically.

Justice Faji has adjourned the hearing on the final forfeiture to June 25. This ruling comes shortly after another judge ordered the interim forfeiture of $4.7 million, N830 million, and properties linked to Emefiele.

Emefiele faces charges related to procurement fraud, the unauthorized redesign of naira notes, and forgery of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature to allegedly embezzle funds from the CBN.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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