Court orders interim forfeiture of ex-customs boss’ 17 vehicles to FG
The Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna, presided over by Justice S.M. Shuaibu, yesterday gave an interim order, forfeiting the 17 vehicles found in the warehouse of former Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko Inde, to the Federal Government.
The order was sequel to an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking among others, the forfeiture of the vehicles to the Federal Government, pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of the case.
According to a statement in Abuja by EFCC’s Head Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, in his ruling, Justice Shuaibu held that “the 17 vehicles, which are now in the custody of the applicant (EFCC) and as properly described and listed in the schedule marked Exhibit EFCC 2 attached to the affidavit in support of the application are hereby forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria in the interim, pending conclusion of the investigation.”
Operatives of the commission had on February 20 stormed the warehouse of the former Customs boss on Nnamdi Azikiwe Street, Kaduna and discovered 17 exotic vehicles worth hundreds of millions of naira, suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has dissociated itself from the activities of a certain Messrs Pinnacle Trading & Investment Nigeria Limited, whom it said have been parading themselves as auctioneers purportedly appointed by the Commission to dispose of impounded petroleum products aboard MT Good Success and MT Asteris.
It said: “The general public is hereby warned to refrain from engaging in any activity in relation to the auctioning of any vessel or petroleum product on behalf of the commission, as EFCC has not duly authorised anyone to act on its behalf in that regard.
“The sources of the fraudulent letter of engagement being paraded by Messrs. Pinnacle Trading & Investment Nigeria Limited are currently being investigated, with a view to bringing them to book.”
The vessels and their operators were arrested by the Nigerian Navy for engaging in illegal activities and handed over to the EFCC. The statement added: “By virtue of two judgments of Justice I.N Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos on December 15, 2015, their operators were convicted and the vessels and their contents, totaling 4,882.097 metric tons of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) and crude oil forfeited to the Federal Government.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, EFCC has not entered into any contract with, nor appointed Messrs Pinnacle Trading & Investment Nigeria Limitedd to act on its behalf on any matter, whatsoever.
“Anyone found to be parading himself as an auctioneer or agent under whatever guise in respect of the vessels MT Good Success and MT Asteris and their contents, should be reported to the commission or the nearest police station.”