*Temporary forfeiture granted by court
Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of £578, 080 .00 (Five Hundred and Seventy-eight Thousand, Eighty Pounds) found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the account of a company, Zal Marine Limited, to the Federal Government. Director of the company works in NIMASA.
Justice Saidu gave the order Monday, 5th February, 2018, following an application filed by the EFCC.
The applicant, through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that it received intelligence report about “a monumental fraud in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)”, a development that necessitated the investigation.
Oyedepo had further told the court that one Irene U. Macfoy, an Assistant Director, NIMASA, had used her position as Head, Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), in NIMASA to facilitate the fraudulent transfer of the sum of £1, 074, 600.00 from the account of NIMASA domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc, United Kingdom to an offshore account belonging to Swiss Bulk Carriers S.A. under the false pretences of training 54 Nautical Science and Marine Engineering students sometime in March 2013.
It was further revealed that Zal Marine Limited, a front company to Macfoy and an agent of Swiss Bulk Carriers S.A., fraudulently received and retained the money, which was paid into a Diamond Bank Plc account number- 0065555537- on 31st July, 2013.
The respondents were said to have also converted to their personal use the sum of £496, 520.00 without any contractual relationship with NIMASA or approval of a tender Board of a parastatal or Ministry.
Consequently, the applicant had filed a motion ex-parte seeking the temporary forfeiture of the money on the grounds that it was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful activity.
In his ruling on the application for a temporary forfeiture of the money, Justice Saidu had granted the applicant’s prayers and ordered the respondents or any other person interested in the money to appear before the court to show cause why it should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
The court had also directed the applicant to publish the order in a national newspaper for the respondents or anyone else to appear before the court to show cause why it should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government before the next adjourned date.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Saidu held that the applicant had proved beyond any doubt that the money was proceeds of an unlawful activity and ordered that it be forfeited to the Federal Government.