EFCC Secures Final Forfeiture Of N204.8m, 15 Properties For Fraud Victims

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Monday June 10, 2024 secured the final forfeiture of the sum of N204,849,859.00 (Two Hundred and Four Million, Eight Hundred and Forty-nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty-nine Naira), 15 properties and eight high-end vehicles before Justice Inyang E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja for fraud victims.

The properties, money and vehicles were recovered from Jedidiah Ibrahim Ezenwa, which he illegitimately acquired through his companies: Jedidiah Cement Industry Ltd., Omega Global Resources, Jedidiah Universal Transport Hephz Ltd, Afrinvest Asset Management Ltd, The Gurguru Company Ltd, Josien Holdings Ltd, Prince Hephzibah Ibrahim Ezenwa and Prime Ebulah Properties Ltd from his victims, Ibrahim Amusan, Afri Invest Ltd, Joisen Holdings Ltd and Jack Welch Petroleum Services Ltd.

The properties include: four bedroom ensuite apartment at Guzape, Asokoro New Extension, Abuja; five bedroom semi-detached duplex and one- room boys quarter in Chevy View Estate; Block LXX, Plot 19-20, Buckingham Court F, Sherifat Animashaun Street, Ajtran, Eti-osa Local Government Area,  LGA, Lagos; one unit of four- bedroom terrace duplex – Block B, House 3 at No. 15, Chief Bamidele Eletu Avenue, Osapa – Lekki, Lagos; three bedroom apartment on Plot 7, Block XXii, Oniru Chieftaincy Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos; and a five bedroom semi-detached duplex and one- room boys quarter on Block LXX, Plot 21-23, Buckingham Court B, Sherifat Animashaun Street, Chevy View Estate, Ajtran, Eti-Osa LGA, Lagos, State.

Others are: four bedroom terrace duplex, located on Plot No. 48 Block R, Federal Sites and Services Scheme, Federal Housing Estate (Malaysian Estate), Benin – Asaba Expressway Asaba, Oshimili South L.G.A, Delta State; four bedroom terrace duplex located on Plot No. 18A Block S, Core Area, Federal Sites and Services Scheme, Federal Housing Estate (Malaysian Estate), Benin – Asaba Expressway Asaba, Oshimili South L.G.A, Delta State, and Sub-plot No. TRCD29/Plot No. 4851 located on Citiscape Villa, Guzape District, Cadastral Zone A09, FCT.

The eight vehicles include: one white SLK 350 Mercedes Benz; one black Selverado 4×4 Hilux; one Hummer Jeep, H3 black; BMW X6 Wine Red SUV; one black CLS 63 Mercedes Benz; one cobalt ITZ Chevrolet saloon, a BMW Z40 IL black and white, and one Mercedes Benz G-Wagon SUV, Chassis No. WDCYC7AFZAX183776 (BLACK).

The final forfeiture of the properties were granted by the court through EFFC’s  counsel, Ibrahim Buba  who had earlier secured an interim order of forfeiture which was  followed up with a publication in national dailies for anyone to show cause why the properties and items should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

With no objection coming from any quarters within the court-stipulated time frame, the Commission applied to the court for their final forfeiture to the victims

Jerry U. Musa, a defence counsel, showed up for the defendants during the final forfeiture proceedings and objected to EFCC’s power to investigate the case, which he described as “a mere breach of contract.”

Justice Ekwo, who disagreed with the defence counsel held that “It is a contract scam and the EFCC had power to investigate and prosecute it by virtue of Section 6 of its Establishment Act.” The judge further held that the EFCC through its counsel Buba convinced the court that the money, properties and vehicles were proceeds of crime. He thereafter ordered them to be finally forfeited to the victims through the Federal Government.

The journey to the final forfeiture began when the victims petitioned the Commission, alleging conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence, fraudulent conversion of funds and money laundering against the defendants.

Investigations showed that the first defendant, Jedidiah Ibrahim Ezenwa had approached the petitioner, Ibrahim Amusan through Messrs Hamilton Resources International for purchase of United States Dollars, having claimed to be a dealer in foreign currency. On the strength of his claim, the petitioners transferred a total sum of N1,904,090,000. 00 (One Billion, Nine Hundred and Four Million, Ninety Thousand Naira) to the second defendant, Jedidiah Cement Industry Ltd in exchange for an equivalent amount in dollars.

Furthermore, Afri Invest Ltd, Hakan & Bath Ltd and Jack Welch Petroleum Services Ltd through the petitioner, later transferred the sum of N1,274,090,000.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy-four Million, Ninety Thousand Naira) to the second defendant’s Unity Bank account number in exchange for United States Dollars.

However, instead of the first defendant and his companies providing the petitioners with the dollar equivalent of the funds as captured in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties, he converted the funds to his personal use by acquiring properties and vehicles with the money.