Court orders forfeiture of ex-presidential fleet commander’s N510m

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, granted an order of interim forfeiture of N510m allegedly owned by a former Commander, Presidential Air Fleet, Air Vice Marshall Uko Ebong.
Ebong served as the commander of PAF between 2013 and July 2015.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted the interim forfeiture order of the fund linked to Ebong in a ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The anti-graft agency, through its counsel, Mr Ekele Iheanacho, alleged that the sum of N510m was part of proceeds of illegal acts.
The commission also alleged that the sum of N510m was found in an account belonging to a company owned by Ebong, Elionenai International College.
The commission alleged that “AVM Ebong, while being a public officer managed and used private companies to carry out financial transactions while concealing his identity”.
The companies, according to the commission, include Magnificent 5 Ventures Ltd, Tripple Kay Company Nigeria Ltd and Elionenai International College Ltd.
It stated that the directors of Magnificent 5 Ventures Ltd registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission were Ebong’s wife, Mrs Ebong Mercy Uko, and her brother, Ekpo Ubong Asuquo.
It stated that Ebong controlled the financial dealings of the company.
The commission also claimed, “Without any contractual agreement, a total sum of N731, 000, 000.00 was paid to Magnificent 5 Ventures Limited between May, 2014 and October, 2014 by the ONSA under the guise of payment for renovation of PAF barracks, PAF staff quarters.
“There is no proof of any work carried out by Magnificent 5 Ventures Ltd based on which the above payments were made to it.
“The payments were made into the Sterling Bank Plc Account No. 0026142493 operated by Magnificent 5 Ventures Ltd. Mrs Ebong Uko and her brother, Ekpo Asuquo, are also the signatories to the said bank account of Magnificent 5 Ventures Ltd.”
It added, “That upon receipt of the above funds into the account of Magnificent 5 Ventures Ltd, the funds were transferred and fixed-deposited in the Sterling Bank Account of Tripple Kay Company Nigeria Ltd.
“The transfer instructions were purportedly authorised by Mrs Ebong, the wife of AVM Ebong.”
On the EFCC’s request for the interim forfeiture of the fund, Justice Mohammed, ruled on Monday, “An order is hereby made for the interim forfeiture of the sum of N510,000,000 in Sterling Bank account No: 0029581583 recovered by the applicant, which funds are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.”
He also ordered the EFCC to publicise the said order for anyone interested in the funds to appear before the court within 14 days to prove why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

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