Abuja and Port Harcourt — Justice Chuka A. Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, yesterday ordered the final forfeiture of some assets worth N1.8 billion, which were recovered from the Executive Director, Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, NNDC, Tuoyo Omatsuli.
Acting spokesman to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Tony Orilade, disclosed this in a statement yesterday in Abuja.
He said the judge had on May 17, 2018, ordered the interim forfeiture of the properties, following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC.
According to Orilade, the properties are: Block 117, Plot 4, Lekki Peninsula Scheme, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Eti-Osa, Lagos, measuring 1804.089Sqm and Plots 1-18, Block 43, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Lekki Peninsula, Eti-Osa, Lagos, measuring 10,000Sqm.
Others are: Plot 1b, Northern Business District, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, measuring 1000Sqm and Plot 1; Block 25, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme 1, Eti-Osa L.G.A, measuring 2989.10Sqm.
Moving the ex-parte application, counsel to the applicant, Ekene Iheanacho, had referred to paragraph four of the affidavit, detailing how a contractor with the NDDC, Starline Consultancy Services Limited, was paid the sum of N10, 218, 019, 060.59 as consultancy fee for levies collected from oil processing companies in the Niger Delta region.
The spokesman further disclosed that out of the money paid to Starline, a sum of N3, 645, 000. 00 was paid as kickback to Omatsuli through a company named Building Associates Limited.
"Some of the funds were used by Building Associates to buy properties in the name of a company, Don Parker Properties Limited, where Omatsuli had majority shareholding," Iheanacho had further told the court.
The applicant also told the court that one Francis Momoh, described as the majority shareholder in Building Associates Limited, was introduced as a shareholder in Don Parker Properties Limited to disguise the nature of the crime.
After hearing the submissions, Justice Obiozor granted all the reliefs sought by the applicant, and ordered the interim forfeiture of the properties to the Federal Government.
The judge further directed the commission to publish the order in any national newspaper within 14 days, notifying the respondents or anyone interested in the properties to appear before the court and show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
In a related development, NDDC has canvassed the strengthening of law and order to ensure stakeholders contribution to regional development.
Managing Director of NDDC, Nsima Ekere, made the call yesterday at the Rivers State University.
He spoke at the opening of the 2nd Annual Inter-University Moot Court and Mock Trial Competition for law students within the region.
The commission explained that strict application of the rule of law by relevant stakeholders would facilitate development and ensure
sustainable peace in the oil rich region.
Represented by the Director, Special Projects, Dr. Princewill Ekanen, he stressed that sustainable development can also be achieved when human capacities are built.
Also, a representative of Velma Foundation, David Ashaolu, said the essence of the project was to strike a balance between education, play, learning and leisure.
Ashaolu said moot and mock trials amongst law students has become more important, because of a wide range of changes in the administration of criminal justice system in Nigeria.