Justice Folasade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday ordered the final forfeiture of N601million linked with the former head of service of the federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.
The money in two accounts at Zenith Bank was held in trust in the name of Titus Okunrinboye Thompson.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, convinced the court that the money in two accounts was a proceed of fraud and on Monday October 7 made a final forfeiture application before Justice Giwa.
The trio of Titus Okunrinboye, Vincent Odafen and Muara Muhammed Gambo were being prosecuted by the EFCC for running and operating companies, which were alleged to have been used to siphon public funds under the façade of contracts or consultancy.
The EFCC on June 28, 2019, applied for interim forfeiture before Justice Giwa, who granted the application and stipulated that the Commission should place the application in a national newspaper.
On October 7, 2019, prosecution counsel, M.S. Abubakar, told the court that the Commission had complied with the judge’s stipulation by advertising the interim forfeiture application in The Nation Newspaper.
“We have complied and we’re now back to apply for final forfeiture and the affidavit in support of the motion on notice, as the defendant has not filed any counter,” Abubakar stated.
Justice Giwa, however, asked the prosecution counsel to serve the defendant the notice on motion.
He also urged Abubakar to make sure that the account number filed by the prosecution for the forfeiture is thoroughly verified to be a Central Bank account number and must be supported with documents to ensure that where the funds would be transferred is a genuine federal government’s account before adjourning to October 10, 2019, for ruling on the final forfeiture application.
At the resumed hearing today, the prosecution counsel urged the court to grant EFCC’s prayers since there was no counter affidavit against the application.
The motion on notice filed by the EFCC for the final forfeiture reads: “A final order of this honourable court for forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria of funds lying in the Zenith Bank Account No.208383581 (OKUNRINBOYE TOMSIN TITUS).
A final order of this honourable court for final forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria of the funds lying in the Zenith bank account No. 1004702420(OKUNRINBOYE TOMSIN TITUS). An order of this honourable court directing Zenith Bank to forthwith transfer the forfeited funds to the Central bank of Nigeria.”
Justice Giwa granted the prayers of the prosecution and placed an order, directing Zenith Bank to transfer the forfeited funds into the Cash Assets Final Forfeiture of the Central Bank of Nigeria.