EFCC seizes more Igbinedion Properties
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has seized 11 choice properties belonging to ex-Edo State Governor Lucky Igbinedion, sequel to an exparte forfeiture order obtained at a Federal high court, Lagos.
Igbinedion and six others are facing a 66-count charge of money laundering and mismanagement of public funds amounting to about N3.2billion.
The other accused persons are Patrick Eboigbodin and Michael Igbinedion.
Also charged are corporate organisations: Gava Corporation Limited, Romrig Nigeria Limited, PML Securities Company Limited and PML (Nigeria) Limited.
Head of Media of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said the seizure of the properties followed "an asset forfeiture order obtained by the EFCC on Tuesday from a Federal high Court, Lagos to seize all properties traced to the former governor in Benin, Lagos, Abuja and London (11 choice properties) over the fresh money laundering case filed against him by the anti-graft agency."
The asset forfeiture order was issued by Justice M. B. Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos as a result of an ex-parte application by EFCC counsel Rotimi Jacobs.
According to the order : "Upon this ex-parte originating summons dated and filed on February 24, 2011, coming before the court and praying the court for:
"An order of this honourable court temporarily forfeiting the assets of the persons named in the schedule herein to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending determination of charge No FHC B 11C 2011 between Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Lucky Igbinedion and 6 others
"And for such orders or further orders as the honourable court may deem fit in the circumstances.
"And upon reading the affidavits in support of ex-parte Originating Summons sworn to by Lawal Abdullahi, Male Muslim, police officer no 15a Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos filed at the Federal High Court Registry this 24th day of February, 2011 and exhibits L1-L4 attached thereto.
"After hearing R. Jacobs Esq. With T. Olukotun esq of counsel for the applicant move in terms of motion in terms of motion paper and the court having listened carefully to the submission of counsel, it is hereby ordered as follows:
"That the assets listed in the schedule to this application be in the interim attached in favour of the Government of the Federal Government of Nigeria pending the determination of the charge No FHC B 11C 2011 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Lucky Igbinedion and six others.
The EFCC also decried the attitude of the suspects to their trial which had also attracted an earlier threat from the trial judge in Benin.
The commission added: "An earlier order was issued by Justice Adamu Hobon of the Federal High Court, Benin City, Edo State. He directed on February 8 that Igbinedion and six other accused be present in court on the next adjourned date, failing which he may be forced to issue a bench warrant for their arrest.
Justice Hobon's threat to issue a bench warrant is sequel to the failure of Igbinedion and the other accused to be present in court on February 8 when their matter came up.
The seized assets
•Landed property at No. 7, Justice Fatai Williams Str., off Justice Sowemimo Str., Asokoro, Abuja
•White House along Ugbor Police Station Road by House No. 65, Ugbor Police Station (i.e. after the Police Station).
•A building covered by approved building plan No 2041/2004 at No 20B Etete, Benin
•A parcel of land covered by Certificate of Occupancy No BDSR5458 Registered as 24/24/B71 in the name of Okada Air Nigeria Limited at No 3, Boundary Road Benin City
•Chicken Republic belonging to Igbinedion along Sapele-Benin Road
•A block of four flats at No 43 Etete Road, Benin City.