The final forfeiture of a building belonging to a former executive director of Harmony Holdings Ltd, Mr Adebayo Sanni, to the Federal Government, has been ordered by a High Court sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The application by the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Mr Sedan Ola, was granted on Thursday by Justice Sikiru Oyinloye after the respondent failed to show up in court to challenge the legality of the proceedings.
EFCC counsel, Ola, said to the presiding judge while moving for the application for the forfeiture that; “My Lord, we have a motion dated 14th day of January 2020. It was brought pursuant to Section 17, of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act no 14, 2006 section 44 v(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the inherent jurisdiction of this honourable court.
“Our motion is praying this honourable court for an order forfeiting to the Federal government of Nigeria the landed property with appurtenances situated at 11, Catchment Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara state found and recovered by the commission from the respondent which is believed to have been acquired through the proceeds of unlawful activity,” he added.
The EFCC counsel also urged the court to look at the merit of the application and all the exhibits attached in granting the request.
The applicant in a 35 paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Denis Nnachi, an investigative officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said, “Investigations revealed that the Ex-kwara executive director fraudulently sold five plots of land belonging to the Kwara State government in Galadimawa Area of Abuja and used it to construct the building in question.
“The respondent used his position as an Executive Director of the Harmony Holdings Ltd to influence the award of contracts to several companies where he had interest.”
He said, “it was discovered that the property known as 11, Catchment Road, GRA, Ilorin was constructed and developed using proceeds of unlawful activity.”
In his final judgement, Justice Oyinloye said, “I have seen the hearing notice, duly served on the defendant. It is clear evidence before me that the respondent was duly served with the hearing notice of these proceedings. The respondent did not file any paper to challenge the legality of these proceedings or claim ownership of the property in question.
“I accept, believe and rely on the entire 35 paragraph affidavit filed by the applicant, though the application was not challenged, I consider it meritorious. The property is hereby forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria,” Justice Oyinloye ordered.
Harmony Holdings Limited was established in 2012 as the investment management vehicle for all Kwara State’s commercial and business interests.
It is wholly owned by the State government.