Firm linked to Saraki loses as A’Court affirms forfeiture of N1.4bn Paris Club refund to Nigerian govt

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Melrose General Service Limited, a firm linked to Senate President Bukola Saraki, has failed in its bid to upturn a Federal High Court ruling ordering the forfeiture of N1.4 billion Paris Club refund it obtained from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to the Federal Government.

A Court of Appeal in Lagos on Friday affirmed the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the final forfeiture of the money, which EFCC claimed Melrose obtained from the NGF through false claims.

Two aides of Saraki, Gbenga Makanjuola, and Kolawole Shittu are being prosecuted by the EFCC in respect of the matter.

Earlier on April 27, 2018, a Federal High Court in Lagos presided over by Justice Cecilia Olatoregun, had ordered the final forfeiture of the said money to the Federal Government.

But dissatisfied with the verdict of Justice Olatoregun, Melrose General Services approached the appellate court for redress, asking it to set aside the pronouncement of the lower court.

However, in its judgment on the matter on Friday, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of Melrose (the appellant) and resolved the four contentious issues in favour of the EFCC (the first respondent).

The appellate court further held that Melrose’s appeal lacked merit and ordered the firm to pay N100,000 cost to the EFCC.

The appellate court also held that Melrose could not show that the said funds were lawfully earned by it.

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It added that section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2006, which the EFCC relied on to seek for the forfeiture of the said funds was constitutional.

According to the Court of Appeal, Melrose was not denied fair hearing in the matter.

Justice of the Court of Appeal (JCA), Justice Tijjani Abubakar wrote the lead judgment, Justice E. Tobi delivered the judgment while Justice O. A. Obaseki-Adejumo concurred with the verdict.

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Ebere Ndukwu

Ebere is a lover of investigative journalism, always seeking to unearth the hidden.

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