The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the interim forfeiture to the Federal Government, the sum of N241m allegedly diverted from the office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Sustainable Development Goals.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo also ordered the forfeiture of Real Tower Centre Shopping Complex at Plot 1121, Ekukinam Street, Utako District, Cadastral Zone, Abuja, to the Federal Government.
The judge’s order was sequel to an ex parte application filed and argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.
Oyedepo told the judge that the N241m was warehoused in First City Monument Bank and Zenith bank in the sums of N65m, N61m, N50m and N65m.
The commission said its intelligence showed that the Abuja property was purchased with funds furtively diverted from SDG, Office of the SSA to the President, where Mr Abdulsalam Bawa is Principal Accountant.
The EFCC then fingered Bawa as the key suspect, adding that the diversion was perpetrated in conspiracy with some SDG members of staff.
It also linked some firms, Kouchdim Unity Nigeria Limited and Lankass Global Ventures, to the diversion.
Justice Oweibo adjourned the suit marked FHC/L/CS/90/2021 till September 6, 2021 for final forfeiture proceedings.
Oyedepo’s application was backed by a four-page affidavit of urgency deposed to by an EFCC operative, Ebunoluwa Amusan.
Amusan averred that he was assigned to investigate the damning intelligence report received by the EFCC by some concerned citizens in respect of abuse of office, diversion of funds and monumental fraud perpetrated by some officers of the Sustainable Development Goals, Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President.
He also averred that intelligence indicated that money was diverted to some companies owned by some suspects.
“Our investigation revealed that one Abdulsalam Bawa, the key suspect is a signatory to two corporate accounts where money from the agency and those meant for other organisations for projects was diverted to these companies’ accounts, and then further diverted to meet the suspects’ selfish ends.
“Investigation also revealed that Bawa is not a shareholder nor is he listed as a shareholder in any of these companies, Kouchdim Unity Nigeria Ltd and Lankass Global Ventures, but he is a signatory to the companies’ accounts.
“Investigation revealed Remita inflows traced from the Central Bank of Nigeria, meant for other organisations and for projects were traced to the suspect’s personal and corporate accounts,” Amusan said.
The deponent further averred that the Principal Accountant, in collaboration with other staff of the SDG, laundered and retained various sums of money through companies and individuals who made payments for the property sought to be temporarily attached.
“So far, we have traced and discovered a landed property acquired with proceeds of the alleged diversion of public funds and criminal breach of trust by Bawa.”