Court Vacates Forfeiture Order On Oduah’s ‘Assets’

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A FEDERAL High Court in Abuja has vacated the interim forfeiture order it made on October 18, 2019, on some assets the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claimed belonged to former Aviation Minister, Senator Stella Oduah.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment on Monday, held that the EFCC failed to establish a link between the assets and the ex-minister.

But the commission, in a statement last night in Abuja by its Head of Media and Publicity of the anti-graft commission, Mr. Dele Oyewale, faulted the judgment.  It expressed its resolve to go to the Appeal Court on the matter.

The EFCC had applied for the interim forfeiture order in furtherance of its investigation of allegation that Oduah diverted part of the N9.5 billion fund meant for the provision of security equipment in some airports during her tenure as Aviation Minister.

The EFCC had claimed, in an affidavit supporting its application for the forfeiture order, that Oduah, who was Aviation Minister between 2012 and 2014, allegedly connived with some bank officials to divert the fund and allegedly used the money to procure broadcast equipment for Crystal Television Limited, newspaper printing press, six dredgers and quarry.

Justice Ekwo, in Monday’s verdict, struck out the counter-affidavit filed against the motion to show cause, filed by Crystal Television Limited and the other companies affected by the interim order, on the grounds that it was defective.

The judge noted that the counter-affidavit, filed for the EFCC by its lawyer, O. I. Uket, to rebut the companies’ claims, was filed out of time without first seeking the court’s leave for an extension of time to file.

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