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Fraud: Ex-naval chief, Ezeoba forfeits N1.9bn

…Nneoma Ndibe

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered the final forfeiture of N1.83 billion, belonging to a former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba (rtd).

The court made the order for permanent forfeiture of the sum, following an application by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, pursuant to Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act 2006.

Joined in the suit as defendants were Chukwuka Onwuchekwa and Aquila Leasing Ltd.

The trial judge, Muslim Hassan, had on March 15, issued an interim order for forfeiture of the said sum.

Mr. Hassan had then ordered the EFCC to make a publication of same in a national newspaper, for the knowledge of interested parties.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, the judge ordered a final forfeiture of N1.825 billion to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He held that the EFCC, having complied with the provisions of Section 17 of the Act, as well the EFCC Act and the fact that the property was unclaimed, it was appropriate to make the orders.

“Having satisfied that such property is an unclaimed property, and also satisfying the provisions of the law, the court shall order the final forfeiture of the said property.

“In this view, there is no other proof required to enable the court make an order of final forfeiture; this application is meritorious and hereby granted.

“An order is hereby made for final forfeiture of the total sum of N1.825 billion to the federal government of Nigeria,” Mr. Hassan ruled.

The EFCC had, while moving the application, said that the money was traced to the account of Aquila Leasing Ltd and that Mr. Ezeoba had agreed, in his statement to the EFCC, to forfeit the money.

 

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