A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of N426.7 million belonging to a retired Brigadier-General of the Nigerian Army, John Onimisi Ozigi, to the Federal Government.
The presiding Judge, Muslim Hassan, made the final order following a motion on notice seeking final forfeiture of the said sum of money filed before the court by EFCC.
Justice Hassan in his ruling, said that the retired army officer has failed to satisfy the court with concrete evidence on why the monies suspected to be proceed of an unlawful activities should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The applicant, EFCC has met the conditions stipulated in section 17 of the Advanced free fraud and related offences Act. The application is meritorious and it is hereby granted as prayed,” the judge ruled.
Joined as respondents in the suit are: John Onimisi Ozigi, Diamond Head Ventures and Development Company Ltd.
The court had earlier issued an interim order for forfeiture of the money to the FG following an exparte application filed before the court by the EFCC while ordering any interested parties to appear and show cause why the interim orders should not be made permanent
The anti-graft agency EFCC argued its application for final forfeiture of the money on the grounds that there were reasonable suspicions that it was proceeds of unlawful activities.
In an affidavit deposed to by an EFCC operative, Clever Ibrahim, it was stated that Brigadier General John Onimisi Ozigi, an officer of the Nigerian Army, and the second respondent Diamond head Ventures and Development Company Limited is a business name owned and incorporated by him under the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ibrahim further stated that the retired Army General is a salary earner and a public officer under the rank of a Brigadier General with an estimated salary of about N750. 000.00 per month.
He also stated that intelligence information revealed that monies found in the account opened in the name of the respondents is not commensurate with the Army officer’s legitimate income and that the sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime
Ozigi had also indicated willingness to forfeit the money in his account to the Federal Government when he was confronted, according to EFCC.