By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA-The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Tuesday, ordered the final forfeiture of about a N700million linked to former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, to the Federal Government.
The forfeiture order followed an application that was brought before the court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.
ICPC had alleged that the former governor kept the funds in two accounts in two new generation banks, using his companies – Kayatawa Nigeria Limited and B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
The Commission alleged that the money was siphoned from Zamfara State treasury.
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The court had on August 16, 2019, ordered interim forfeiture of the funds pending when Yari and his companies could prove why it should not be permanently forfeited to FG.
Meanwhile, following the failure of the Respondents to justify why they should retain ownership of the funds, the court, on Tuesday, entered judgment against them.
In her judgment, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that Yari could not prove how he got the fund, either while he served as governor between May 29, 2011, and May 29, 2019, or after he exited the office.
Justice Ojukwu said there was no clear explanation of how the fund in the account of one of the companies grew from zero to $301,319 at the end of Yari’ tenure.
She dismissed Yari’s allegation that ICPC’s action against him was a mere political witch-hunt.
According to the court, “There is nothing wrong in having a huge sum of monies in one’s account, but what the law requires is that such proceeds should emanate from legitimate sources or businesses.
“The respondents, who have been given the opportunity to tell their story, have failed to provide evidence for such legitimate income.
“The respondents have not countered the case and facts presented by the applicants (ICPC).
“The respondents, having failed to establish the legitimate source of the monies as stated in this case, this honourable court hereby makes an order of final forfeiture of the following:
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of N12,912,848.68 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $57,056.75 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed within the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari.
“An order of forfeiture of the sum of N11, 159, 674 .17, being proceeds stashed in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $319, 000.91 beings proceed of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of N217, 000.04 being proceeds of some unlawful activity allegedly stashed in the name of B.T Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $311, 817.15 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of BT. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited,” Justice Ojukwu added.
The court held that the funds should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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