A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Zuba, has ordered the final forfeiture of properties worth N124.5 million illegally acquired by a Principal Accountant in the Finance and Accounts Department of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Daniel Obah, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Mr. Obah, who was charged before Justice E. O. Ebong, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), was accused of fraudulently acquiring a four-bedroom duplex in Abuja and plots of land in Rivers State.
Counsel to ICPC, John-Paul Okwor, told the court that the Commission was relying on Section 48 (2) (3) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, which gives it the power to obtain a ruling of forfeiture seized assets acquired by individuals through corrupt means.
The Commission had argued before the court that Obah and two other staff of the Ministry, Poloma Kabiru Nuhu and Mangset Longyl Dickson allegedly carried out a coordinated fraud within the Ministry resulting in the withdrawal of N605 million from its 2014 Constituency Projects account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The assets forfeited by Obah which also include a Toyota Camry car and a 2013 Honda Accord were ascertained to be from the proceeds of the fraud.
The landed properties: one 4-bedroom duplex at Janew Home, Plot No.3 Cadastral zone D02, Karsana South District, Abuja, valued at N60 million and a plot of land at Ohia Ngbakiri, Ozuoba, Port Harcourt, Rivers State valued at N30 million.
Others include plots of land at Oliopobo, Rumuekini New Layout, Obio Akpor L.G.A. of Rivers State valued at N18 million, Umuodili Odubo, Abe Ndoni Community, valued at N16. 5 million and Livingstone Estate Umuogodo, Igbo- Etche, Obio Akpor L.G.A. Rivers State.
However, Obah argued for the four-bedroom duplex to be left out of the properties to be forfeited because according to him, it was acquired with his legitimate income.
Unfortunately for him, the trial judge dismissed his plea for failing to convince the court with proof. He therefore ruled that all the seven properties listed by ICPC be forfeited to the federal government.