The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has sought a permanent forfeiture to the Federal Government (FG) of large sums of cash linked to Moses Jitoboh, former Aides-De-Camp (ADC) to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
The EFCC, through its lawyer, Chris Mshelia, is making the application before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja…… CONTINUE READING
Jitoboh, currently a DIG of Police in-charge of South South Zone, was ADC to Jonathan when he was vice president to late President Umaru Yar’Adua between 2007 and 2010.
The anti-graft agency is seeking the permanent forfeiture of the monies stashed in seven bank accounts following the expiration of the interim forfeiture order made by Justice Nwite on July 22, 2022.
The judge had granted the order for interim forfeiture of the funds, giving 14 days for interested parties to show cause why the assets should not be forfeited to the Federal Government permanently and adjourned until Oct. 27, 2022, for mention.
The order followed an ex-parte originating motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1150/2022 which was moved by EFCC’s lawyer, Christopher Mshelia.
But in a motion on notice dated and filed on December 13, 2022, by Chief P.H. Ogbole, SAN, two companies allegedly owned by Jitoboh; Keniah Nigeria Ltd and Golie Investment Nigeria Ltd sought to be joined as interested parties Ogbole, who prayed for a court order extending the time within which to file their affidavit to show cause against the order of interim forfeiture made on July 22, 2022, also sought an order deeming their affidavit to show cause already filed as having been properly filed and served the necessary filing fees having been duly assessed and paid.
The senior lawyer gave four grounds upon which the application was brought.
He said though a 14 day was given within which interested parties should show cause and the matter adjourned until October 27, 2022 for mention, at the time his clients got to know of the existence of the order of interim forfeiture, the time allowed to show cause had elapsed.
Ogbole, who said that the court had the discretional power to extend the time, prayed the court to grant the application in the interest of justice.
Although the matter came up for hearing on Monday, the court did not sit as FHC had commenced its Easter vacation which would last till April 17.
The matter, which was on number 4 on the Monday’s cause list, was consequently rescheduled for June 6.
While the EFCC is the applicant, Jitoboh and Insp. Bernard Agada are 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
EFCC had, in the ex-parte motion, dated and filed on July 15, 2022, prayed for an interim order of the court forfeiting to the Federal Government, the various sums of monies in respect of seven bank accounts listed in the schedule attached to the motion.
The agency alleged that the funds, having been traced and recovered from the respondents, are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
It also sought an order directing the publication of the interim order in any national newspaper for the respondents or any interested party to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the said assets should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.
The application was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006; Section 19(1) of Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Act, 2022; Section 44(2)(B) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The commission, which gave two grounds why the order should be granted, said the court had the statutory powers under the provisions of the law to grant the reliefs sought.
The EFCC listed the bank accounts against which the order was sought and the balance in them to include: David Adakole George, GTB account number: 0051402092 with N5, 326,451.75; Damien Alechenu George, GTB account number: 0051402030 with N5, 433,218.19; and Jese Oloche George, GTB account number: 0051401992 with N5, 348,043.42.
It also include: DJD Jessica, ECOBANK account numbers: 5462033574 and 1623001923 with N230, 710.01; Keniah Nigeria Ltd, UBA account number: 1004699872 with N59, 762, 409.19; Golie Nigeria Ltd, UBA account number: 1001154361 with N7, 506.93 and Golie Nigeria Ltd, Zenith Bank account number: 1010290014 with N6, 269.94.
In the affidavit in support of the ex-parte motion deposed to by Chinelo Opera, an investigating officer with the EFCC, she averred that the commission received an intelligence report from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President sometime in November 2015.
She said the intelligence alleged conspiracy, money laundering and unlawful gratification against two public servant; Jitoboh, who was then an AIG, and another serving officer, Insp. Agada.
She said the investigation conducted revealed that Jitoboh and Agada, had, sometime in 2014, received the sum of N75 million cash from the office of the NSA.
“The said sum was meant for the procurement of defence equipment for the Nigerian Armed Forces to help in the counter insurgency effort of the Federal Government,” she said.
The officer said findings, however, revealed that the N75 million was not expended for the purpose it was disbursed but was laundered through the suspects’ companies and other accounts.
“That further investigation revealed that the AIG Moses Jitoboh, incorporated two companies – Keniah Nigeria Limited and Golie Nigeria Limited.
“The two companies operate accounts with the United Bank of Africa and Zenith Bank, having him as the sole signatory to those accounts,” Opera said.
According to her, evidence from the investigation revealed that the AIG Moses Jitoboh’s Companies, Keniah Nigeria Limited and Golie Nigeria Limited had inflows from National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and Niger Delia Development Commission (NDDC).
Opera averred that “the Keniah Nigeria Limited account number: 1004699872, domiciled with UBA, had a credit inflow of N444,698,282.27 (four
The said inflows were proceeds of unlawful gratification by a public servant,” she said.
The officer also said that further investigation revealed that Agada registered a business name; Ben DJD Jessica Business Venture, which operates two ECOBANK accounts number 5462033547 & 1623001923.
She alleged that Agada was the sole signatory to the two accounts.
Opera said “investigation revealed that inspector George Benard Agada transferred the sum of N24million to Moses Ambakina Jitoba, a relative of AIG Moses, from Ben DJD Jessica Business Venture, on the same day he received the sum of N75 million.
“That Ben DJD Jessica Business Venture accounts had a tofal deposit of N249, 022,512.96 through cash deposit.
“The said inflows were proceeds of unlawful gratification by a public servant.
“That Inspector George Benard Agada, equally operates GT Bank accounts in the name of DAVID ADAKOLE GEORGE. ACC. NO: 0051402092, DAMIEN ALECHENU GEORGE, ACC. NO: 0051402030 & JESSE OLOCHE GEORGE, ACC. NO: 0051401992.
“The said inflows were proceeds of unlawful gratification by a public servant.
“The said GT-Bank account in paragraph 16 above has huge inflows/cash deposits suspected to be from the Inspector George Benard Agada, which is not commiserate with his income as an inspector of the Nigerian Police.
“That it is necessary to obtain an interim order forfeiting the monies described in the schedule above to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the EFCC officer said.
Copies of the statements of accounts were exhibited in the application.
She said “the application is necessary to stem the trend of corrupt practices in our democratic society and to deny the respondents the opportunity to enjoy their loots”…… CONTINUE READING