Lucky Igbinedion's Abuja Properties Sealed By EFCC
SAN FRANCISCO, March 08, (THEWILL) - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today it has sealed off two choice mansions of former governor of Edo state, Chief Lucky Igbinedion.
The two properties are those on 7 Justice Fatai Williams Street, Asokoro Abuja and 5 Danube Crescent, Maitama Abuja.
The exercise was carried out on the heels of a forfeiture order granted the EFCC on Tuesday, 01 March, 2011, by a Federal High Court in Lagos. The court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, authorized the Commission to seize 11 choice properties traced to the former governor. The properties are spread over Benin, Lagos, Abuja and London .The exercise which began in Abuja today is expected to cover those in other cities in the coming days, the EFCC said in a statement.
The EFCC team comprising operatives from the Assets Forfeiture Unit of the Commission, met with occupants of the two properties located in the Asokoro and Maitama districts of Abuja. At the Asokoro mansion, Mr. Joshua Abongeriouyi and Felix Bassey, who identified themselves as cook and security man respectively to the ex-governor confirmed that the property is owned by the former governor. The two aides along with a young lady who refused to identify herself but simply said she was a cousin of the ex-governor however refused to receive the court order from the EFCC team.
At the Danube street property in Maitama, the only occupant who refused to reveal his name told the EFCC team that he did not know the owner of the property.
Recall that Justice Idris, had, after considering an ex-parte application by a counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, granted the forfeiture order which now authorizes the EFCC to seize the properties. Igbinedion and six others are facing a 66 count charge bordering on money laundering and mismanagement of public funds amounting to about N3.2billion.The other accused persons are Mr. Patrick Eboigbodin; Mr. Michael Igbinedion and four firms: Gava Corporation Limited; Romrig Nigeria Limited, PML Securities Limited and PML (Nigeria) Limited.
In line with the forfeiture order, the seized assets are: a block of four flats at No 43 Etete Road, Benin City; a property housing Chicken Republic along Sapele Road, Benin City; a property at No 3 Boundary Road, Benin City; a building at No 20B Estate Road, Benin City; a building along Ugbor Police Station Road, Benin City; a mansion at Asokoro, Abuja; a mighty house at neighbourhood of Etete and Ugbor, Benin City; Sheraton Hotel at Government House Road, Benin City; a property at No 55C Adebisi Omotola Close, off Samuel Adedoyin Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, a property at No 5 Danube Crescent, Maitama, Abuja and a house at No 29, Sheldon Avenue, Highgate, London.
Igbinedion, had at a previous court session, been ordered by Justice Adamu Hobon, of the federal high court Benin to physically appear in court on March 22, 2011, or be summoned through a bench warrant. The former governor, his younger brother, Michael and Patrick Eboigbodin were expected to be presented by their counsel for arraignment in court to answer to a fresh 66 count charge of graft filed against him by the EFCC. Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs had pleaded with the court to issue an order for a bench warrant against Igbinedion and others, for failing to appear personally for the trial. He argued that “in a serious criminal matter such as this, they cannot sit in the comfort of their homes and say their lawyers will say it for them.”