An interim forfeiture of funds and properties traced to Mr Abidemi Ganiyu Rufai, the suspended aide of the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, who is facing wire fraud charges in the United States, has been granted by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Justice Tijjani Ringim ordered the seizure of Rufai’s property located at House 11, Omodayo Awotuga Street, Bera Estate, Chevy View, Lekki, Lagos, and funds in his accounts domiciled in Sterling and Zenith banks, following an ex parte motion filed and argued by a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), Ebuka Okongwu.
His firm Omo Mayodele Global Investment and Sterling Bank Plc were listed as 1st, 2nd and third respondents in the suit.
Okongwu who furnished the judge with an affidavit sworn to by an EFCC investigator, Usman Abdulhamid, detailing the agency’s investigation of Rufai in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), argued that it was necessary for the court to grant the prayer of interim forfeiture to preserve the res and prevent further dissipation of the defendants’ funds in his Sterling Bank account.
He said Rufai had already dissipated a suspicious ?29.37million in tranches of ?5,000,000, ?5,000,000, ?2,730,000, ?1,100,000, ?2,040,000, ?2,000,000, ?2,000,000 and ?5,000,000 and they were warehoused in his accounts in three banks.
Ruling on EFCC's application, Justice Ringim said;
“I am satisfied by the averment in the affidavit deposed to by Usman Abdulhamid and the legal submission of the counsel that this application should succeed and same is accordingly granted as prayed."
The EFCC was directed to publish the order within 14 days from Tuesday August 31, for any interested party to show cause why the funds and properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Judge then adjourned further proceedings till December 1, 2021.