The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has secured an interim order forfeiting some properties allegedly linked to the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari, to the Federal Government.
The order was granted by Hon. Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court 9 sitting in Abuja, following a motion ex parte filed by Counsel to ICPC, Osuobeni Akpos.
The properties, which are 10 in number and had been linked to the former Governor, are situated in choice areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja; Kaduna and Zamfara states; and Maryland in the United States of America.
ICPC, acting on intelligence-led investigation, is alleging that the said properties are proceeds of corruption stemming from the illegal activities of former Governor Yari and his cronies.
The Commission, relying on Section 48(1), (2) and (3) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, therefore approached the court praying for an order of interim forfeiture of the alleged properties to the Federal Government.
Justice Egwuatu having carefully read through the ex parte application and the exhibits attached, gave the order, saying that the court was empowered to grant such prayers going by the relevant sections of the law.
While ruling on the motion ex parte, the judge also declared that the order will not deny any party the right to fair hearing.
He further directed that the order be published in the Nation and Daily Trust newspapers, urging any interested party to show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government permanently.
Subsequently, the case was adjourned to 28th of April, 2022 for the court to hear the motion on final forfeiture.
It should be noted that this is not the first time the Commission has secured court orders forfeiting the former governor’s properties to the Federal Government.
Recall that in 2019, ICPC had in an ex parte motion brought before Hon. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, secured an order of final forfeiture of N278,989,960 million including US dollars, traced to the former Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum to the Federal Government.
The ICPC as at that material time argued that the funds stashed away in Zenith and Polaris banks respectively “were proceeds of unlawful activities.”
While granting the ex parte application, Justice Ojukwu noted that the former governor did not show any good cause how he made the money.
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