A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and properties traced to Abidemi Ganiyu Rufai, a suspended aide of Ogun State’s Governor Dapo Abiodun, currently facing wire fraud charges in the United States.
The order covers Rufai’s property located at House 11. Omodayo Awotuga Street, Bera Estate, Chevy View, Lekki, Lagos and funds in his accounts with two new generation banks.
Justice Tijjani Ringim made the order sequel to an ex parte motion filed and argued by a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), Ebuka Okongwu.
The EFCC joined the suspended aide of the Ogun Governor and his firm Omo Mayodele Global Investment as 1st and 3rd respondents in the suit.
Okongwu told the judge that it was essential for the court to grant the prayer of interim forfeiture to preserve the res and prevent further dissipation of the defendants’ funds.
He furnished the judge with an affidavit sworn to by an EFCC investigator, Usman Abdulhamid, detailing the agency’s investigation of Rufai in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The investigator stated that Rufai had already dissipated a suspicious N29.37million in tranches of N5,000,000, N5,000,000, N2,730,000, N1,100,000, N2,040,000, N2,000,000, N2,000,000 and N5,000,000.
He added that the funds were kept in his accounts in three banks.
In a bench ruling, Justice Ringim granted the EFCC’s order as prayed in the motion paper.
The judge also ordered the EFCC to publish the order within 14 days from Tuesday for any interested party to show cause why the funds and properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Ringim, however, adjourned further proceedings till December 1, 2021.
Rufai was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in New York on May 14 over alleged $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud from Washington State Employment Security Department in the United States.
Rufai was indicted for alleged conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.