The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ordered an interim forfeiture of 14 properties in “choice areas” of Abuja which were allegedly traced to the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Bala Mohammed, and his son, Shamsuddeen.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba granted the interim forfeiture order upon an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge also granted an order “directing the publication of a notice” in a newspaper and the EFCC’s website “inviting all persons/bodies who may have interest in the said properties to show cause why the said properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Ben Ikani, while applying for the court orders on Wednesday, said, “We have an ex parte application for an interim order of forfeiture. The motion is dated September 6, 2017 and filed the same day. We are also praying for an order directing the publication of the notice in a newspaper. The list of the properties is in the schedule attached.”
Justice Dimgba granted the order prayed by the EFCC.
The EFCC had stated in the ex parte motion that both the ex-FCT Minister, Mohammed, and his son “have denied ownership and connection” traced to them.
But the commission maintained that “preliminary investigation has revealed that the properties listed on the schedule are unlawfully acquired through corrupt practices by the former minister and his son while in office as the minister of the Federal Capital Territory.”
The properties, according to the EFCC, included one “mansion” located at Sunrise Estate, Asokoro, Abuja.
They also included three sets of four-bedroomed semi-detached duplex at Green Acres Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja.
Also allegedly linked to the two suspects were two sets of four-bedroomed fully detached duplexes each with a boys’ quarters on Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, a trekable distance to Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja.
Also listed as part of the properties was a four-bedroomed detached duplex with boys’ quarter located at 9 Platinum Luxury Home, White Estate, Asokoro, Abuja.
Title documents attached to the EFCC’s application described some of the facilities in some of properties to include, “excellent road and drainage network; dedicated transformer; borehole for constant water supply; fitted kitchen, bedroom cabinet and wardrobes; ample parking space; and children playing ground.”
The rest of the properties are plots of land in six different locations in Abuja.