Court forfeits to FG N601m linked to ex-HoS,Oyo-Ita

  • Orders Zenith Bank to transfer the forfeited fund to CBN

A Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday ordered final forfeiture of N601million linked to former Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.

That was after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, convinced the court that the money in the two accounts was a proceed of fraud

The money in question was domiciled in two accounts maintained with  Zenith Bank.

It was held in trust in the name of Titus Okunrinboye Thompson.

The anti-graft agency succeeded on Monday, October 7 to secure the final forfeiture order 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.

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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 order 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.

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At the resumed hearing Thursday, the prosecution counsel urged the court to grant EFCC’s prayers since there was no counter affidavit against the application.

The judge who was satisfied that the defendant had been given opportunity to show up in court to oppose the application but refused to come consequently granted the EFCC all its prayers

Specifically, the court issued a final order forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria all the funds lying in the Zenith Bank Account No.208383581 (OKUNRINBOYE TOMSIN TITUS) and another Zenith bank account No. 1004702420 maintained by (OKUNRINBOYE TOMSIN TITUS).

The court also ordered the Zenith Bank to forthwith transfer the forfeited funds into the Cash Assets Final Forfeiture of the Central Bank of Nigeria.