The Nigerian Army and one of its senior officials, Maj.-Gen. Hakeem Otiki, are at loggerheads over the actual owner of the $376,120 (N136,155,440) for which a Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an interim forfeiture.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had claimed, in an ex parte application, that the money was a proceed of crime and prayed the court for an interim forfeiture order pending the conclusion of investigation.
In a ruling on January 22, this year, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted EFCC’s prayer, directed that the order for forfeiture be published in a national daily within 14 days for any interested party to show cause why a final forfeiture order should not be made by the court.
At the mention of the case yesterday, EFCC’s lawyer Ekele Iheanacho said the case was scheduled for his client to report compliance with the court order.
“We have duly complied with the court order by publishing the interim forfeiture order in Leadership Newspaper and we have filed an affidavit of compliance to that effect,” he said.
Otiki’s lawyer Olalekan Ojo (SAN) said his client, in response to the publication, had applied to be made a party in the case and had also filed an affidavit to show cause.
In the affidavit, deposed to by Otiki Kaltume Asabe, other persons and firms were listed as interested parties.
They are: Karama Bureau De Change, Major H. O. Otiki, Otiki Kudirat, Otiki Kaltume Asabe, Otiki Zainab, Otiki Abdul and Danest Nigeria Limited, as first to seventh interested parties.
Asabe stated in the affidavit that she is a shareholder and a member of the Board of Directors of Karama Bereau De Change Limited and Danest Nigeria Limited (first and seventh interested parties).
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She averred that the $376,120 seized by the EFCC from a Kaduna-based Bureau De Change operator and a business associate of Karama Bureau De Change, Aliyu Ado, and his son, Aliyu, was partly the business capital of the first and the seventh interested parties.
The defendant also said it is partly the personal fund of the second interested party (Maj.-Gen. Otiki) given to Aliyu Ado for the main business of the first interested party.
Asabe also averred that contrary to EFCC’s claim that the money was part of proceeds of fraud, the fund was the joint property of the first, second and seventh interested parties.
She said the money was from the legitimate incomes of the second interested party and other shareholders as well as the business capital of first interested party.