A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, ordered the final forfeiture to the federal government, of properties worth N1.8 billion belonging to a former Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli.
Justice Chuka Obiozor who presided over the court had issued an order of temporary forfeiture of the properties, on May 17, following an ex-parte application filed by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ekele Iheanacho.
Omatsuli’s properties affected by the order are: Block 117 Plot 4, Lekki Peninsula Scheme, Plots 1-18 Block 43 TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Lekki. Plot 1B Northern Business District Lekki Peninsula , and Plot 1 Block 25 Lekki Peninsula Scheme Eti-Osa Local Government Area.
While the followings were listed as respomdents in the suit: West Field Energy Resources Limited, Francis Momoh, Don Parker Properties Limited, and Omatsuli
The court had issued the interim orders, and had ordered same to be published in the national dailies for any interested parties to appear and show cause.
After the interim orders, the court had then adjourned for hearing of the motion on notice.
Making order of final forfeiture on Monday, Justice Obiozor held that from the facts adduced before him, he was satisfied that the properties listed formed part of proceeds of unlawful activities.
Obiozor held: “In the final analysis, the court is satisfied that the first to fourth defendant forms part of proceeds of unlawful activities, and are liable to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,”
The court consequently, ordered that the properties be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
EFCC had prayed the court for a final forfeiture of the following properties:
Block 117, Plot 4, Lekki Peninsula Scheme, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Eti-Osa L.G.A, Lagos, measuring 1804.089Sqm and Plots 1-18, Block 43, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Lekki Peninsula, Eti-Osa, Lagos, measuring 10,000Sqm.
Others are include: Plot 1b, Northern Business District, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, measuring 1000Sqm and Plot 1, Block 25, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme 1, Eti-Osa L.G.A, Lagos, measuring 2989.10Sqm.
In its affidavit deposed to by an operative, Mr Adamu Yusuf, the commission had detailed how a contractor with the NDDC, Starline Consultancy Services Ltd, was paid the sum of N10.2 billion as consultancy fee for levies collected from oil processing companies in the Niger Delta Region.
EFCC’s counsel Iheanacho, had further said that out of the money paid to Starline, a sum of N3.6 billion was paid as kickback to Omatsuli through a company named Building Associates Ltd.
He said that about N1.8 billion out of the sum was used by Building Associates to buy properties in the name of a company called Don Parker Properties Ltd, in which Omatsuli had majority shareholding.
He had told the court that Francis Momoh, who is the majority shareholder in Building Associates Limited, was introduced as a shareholder in Don Parker Properties Ltd so as to disguise the nature of the crime.