First Marina Trust Fraud: Court forfeits 14 houses, 3 exotic cars, N24.106m
Sequel to an alleged fraud of over $2. 780 million USD and £500, 000.00 BPS, which recently rocked First Marina Trust Limited, Justice Kehinde Olayiwola Ogundare of a Lagos Federal High Court, has ordered interim forfeiture of 14 Houses, a Mikano generator, three cars and the total sum of N24,106, 760, 15 million.
The houses ordered to be forfeited include: a twin duplex located at 9 Philomena Street, off Murtune Avenue, River Valley Estate, Dopemu, Lagos; Harsmont Hotel Ltd, located at 14 Adeyemo Close, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos; a shopping plaza located at Shasha Road, Akowonjo, Lagos; house located at 49, Segun Akinola Street, Mile 16, off Abeokuta Express Road, Abule-egba, Lagos; bungalow located at 4, Olushola Prestige Close, Off Kilanko Street, Abule-egba, Lagos; a duplex at 5, Titilayo Balogun Close, Ajao-estate, Lagos; a house and vacant plot of land Located at 46, Yetunde Kuforiji Street, Megida Village, Alimosho, Lagos and an
uncompleted building located 724, Abeokuta Express Way, Mosalashi, Alagbado, Lagos.
Others include: an uncompleted building and land located at 724, Bola Ahmed Tinubu Road, Ijaiye Ojokoro, Lagos; an undeveloped land measuring 634.130 sqm located at Niyi Ogunbameru Street, Ajao Estate, Lagos; undeveloped land measuring 407.062 sqm located at 38, Adeniyi Akibu Street, Jankare Ijaiye Ojokoro, Lagos; undeveloped land measuring 288.069 sqm located at Itele-ota, Ado-odo/Ota L.G.A, Ogun State; a bungalow located at 1, Olufunmilola Close Off Kazeem Street, Alapere, ketu, Lagos and an uncompleted duplex located at 25, Oyebanjo Solarin Street, off Elebiju Street, Ketu, Lagos.
The cars forfeited by the court are; a Toyota Tacoma jeep, with registration No. BDG-938 EE; a toyota Landcruiser with registration No. FST 909 EG; Toyota RAV 4 with registration No. FST 186 EG and a Gold coloured Toyota Camry and a SP 80 KVA Mikano generator.
While the sum forfeited were warehoused in Zenith Bank; Access Bank and Polaris Bank, with the account names bearing Isaac Abdul Johnson.
Justice Ogundare, made the forfeiture, after hearing the Economice and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Nnaemeka Omewa, who filed and moved the motion exparte marked FHC/L/CS/30/2024.
In urging the court to grant the orders, Omewa told the court that the application to forfeit the above listed properties was pursuant to Sections 9 and 10 Of Proceeds Of Crime Recovery And Management Act 2022; Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No.14, 2006, Section 44(2)(B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1999 as Amended and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.
He also told the court that the application was supported a an affidavit deposed to by one Afanda Emmanuel Bashir, an Investigating Officer with the anti graft agency.
Bashir in the affidavit stated that his employee, the EFCC, sometime in September, 2016 received a petition from First Marina Trust Ltd alleging fraud of over $500,000 USD against two of its employees and same was assigned to my team for discreet investigation.
He stated that following the receipt of the petition, same was analyzed and found worthy of investigation. And that in the course of the investigation the two employees of First Marina Trust Ltd namely Adeyemi Oluwaseun and Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume were arrested and their statements taken under word of caution.
He stated that as a fact that the investigations revealed follows: “that Adeyemi Oluwaseun was employed in First Marina Trust Ltd in 2007 and worked at the treasury and operations department while Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume was employed in 2008 in the marketing department.
“That Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume who was employed as a junior associate rose through the ranks and was promoted to senior associate in 2013. That part of his job schedule include managing clients’ account who have high volume of investment.
“That in a situation where the customer wants to liquidate the investment, the customer will send a mail through his registered email with the company with the transaction details to Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume to effect the instruction. And that he will process the customers’ instruction and forward same to Adeyemi Oluwaseun who is in the operations department to double check the customers’ instruction and details, and thereafter approve the withdrawal.
“That Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume has a friend and Muslim cleric by the name Yusuf Imran Adekunle who comes to his house to pray for his family. And that sometime in April, 2016, Yusuf Imran Adekunle told Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume that he has a big Muslim cleric who specializes in praying for people’s success and convinced him to follow him to the cleric’s place.
“That both Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume and Yusuf Imran Adekunle went to this Muslim cleric’s place at No.17 Adeyemo Street, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State, for prayers, And if was there that Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume was introduced to the big Muslim cleric by name Haruna Isah, who revealed to Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume that he has a bright future and persuaded him to bring money to enable him perform sacrifices, offer prayers for him and make him a wealthy and successful person. He first requested for N240, 000.00, for sacrifice which money Obhakume brought.
“That thereafter, Haruna Isah further requested for N18 million for further prayers and sacrifice and convinced Obhakume to get the money from his work place. And that Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume in order to get the sum of N18 Million requested by Haruna Isah, forged the email address of one of the Bank’s customer’s he manages his account by name Chimezie Ohamuo with email address
email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“That armed with this new email address, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume fraudulently raised a transfer instruction for the liquidation of the customer’s investment for the sum of N18 Million, which instruction was approved by Adeyemi Oluwaseun in the operations department. The sum of N18 Million was transferred to Obhakume’’s friend’s First bank Plc account by name Oluwafemi Ajala, the money was thereafter transferred to bureau de change operator, converted into US dollars and given to Obhakume who in turn gave the money to Haruna Isah.
“That Haruna Isah further requested for $1 Million USD from Obhakume and again used his influence as a cleric convince him to collect the money from one of the customers’ account he manages which Obhakume informed him had over N1.5 Billion investment. And that Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume forged the email address of one of the customers’ account White Alp Resources Ltd with email address email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“That with this new email address, Obhakume fraudulently raised different transfer instruction and liquidated the customer’s N 1 Billion naira investment. These transfer instructions was directed to different bureau de change operators who converted the money to dollars and pounds and handed over the cash to Obhakume who in turn handed over the money to Haruna Isah. And that these transfer instructions were approved by Adeyemi Oluwaseun of operations department and also provided the BDC operators who did the conversation of the naira to dollars and pounds.
“That Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume in connivance with Adeyemi Oluwaseun fraudulently transferred and converted First Marina Trust Ltd.’s customers’ money totaling $2,780,000 USD and £500, 000.00 British Pounds sterling. And that these monies were handed over to Haruna Isah and the money was shared between him and Yusuf Imran Adekunle, the two self-acclaimed Muslim cleric.
“That the dollars and pounds sterling benefitted by Haruna Isah were paid into his younger brother’s account domiciled in Zenith Bank Isaac Abdul Johnson with account number 1001486541. And that from this Zenith Bank Account, the money was further laundered to Isaac Abdul Johnson’s account domiciled with Access Bank Pic — 0078221300; Polaris Bank -3010230149; and Guaranty Trust Bank Nos 0011557523 and 0220188082.
“That Haruna Isah and his brother Isaac Abdul Johnson used the monies that entered these accounts to acquire the 1st, 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th, 10th 11th 12th 13th, 14th 15th, and 16 Respondents. Andthat Haruna Isah was arrested in the course of investigation, he was cautioned and volunteered statement confessing to the crime.
“That the dollars and pounds sterling given to Yusuf Imran Adekunle was paid to BDC operators who in turn paid the money to his wife and father-in-laws account. That Adekunle benefitted a total of N50, 000,000.00 from the fraud. And that the money benefitted by Yusuf Imran Adekunle was used to purchase the 17th 18 and 19th respondents.
“That the said 20”, 21st and 22nd Respondents have the sum Of N330,933.45 (Three Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Three naira, Forty Five kobo):; N12,273,826.79 (Twelve Million, Two Hundred and Seventy Three Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty Six Naira, Seventy Nine kobo and N11,500,000.00 (Eleven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira). That these monies are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity from First Marina Trust Ltd.
“Investigation revealed that all the properties mentioned in the attached schedule and listed as 1st to19th Respondents herein were acquired between May – July, 2016. And that Investigation further revealed that in order to disguise the ownership of these properties, the properties were purchased in the names of Haruna Isah’s wife, children and brother namely Asimawu Isah; Damilola Taiba Isah and Johnson Isah.
“That investigation revealed that the respondents are reasonably suspected to have been purchased with proceeds of unlawful activities being money stolen from First Marina Trust Ltd.
“That if is expedient and in the best interest of justice to grant this application, and that the Respondents will not be prejudiced by the grant of this application,
Apart from granting the interim forfeiture orders, Justice Ogundare, also directed EFCC to publish the interim orders in any National Newspaper, for the respondents or anyone who is interested in the properties sought to be forfeited to appear before this Honourable Court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the said properties should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The judge subsequently adjourned the matter to March 19, for final forfeiture.