Court orders final forfeiture of $669,248 linked to Yari

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A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the permanent forfeiture of over $669,000 in two bank accounts linked to Abdulaziz Yari, former governor of Zamfara state.

The funds include $56,056.75 in Polaris Bank; N12.9 million, N11.2 million, $301,319.99; N217,388.04 and $311,872.15 in different Zenith Bank accounts in the name of Yari and his companies.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had accused the former governor of embezzling money from the Zamfara state treasury.

But Yari, through his counsel, U. Kelechi, argued that he was rich before his emergence as the state governor.

Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Ijeoma Ojukwu, the judge, held that Yari could not prove how he earned the money.

“There is nothing wrong in having huge sums of money in one’s account, but what the law requires is that such proceeds should emanate from legitimate sources or businesses,” Ojukwu said.

“The respondents, who have been given the opportunity to tell their story, have failed to provide evidence for such legitimate income. The respondents have not countered the case and facts presented by the applicants.

“The respondents, having failed to establish the legitimate source of the monies as stated in this case, the honourable court hereby makes an order of final forfeiture of the following: An order of final forfeiture of the sum of N12,912,848.68, being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in Zenith Bank Plc in the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari.

“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $57,056.75 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in Polaris Bank in the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari.

“An order of forfeiture of the sum of N11,159,674 .17 being proceeds stashed in Zenith Bank Plc, in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.

“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $319,000.91 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in Zenith Bank Plc, in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.

“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of N217,000.04 being proceeds of some unlawful activity allegedly stashed in Zenith Bank Plc, in the name of B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.

“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $311,817.15 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in Zenith Bank Plc, in the name of B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.

“The orders as identified and stated above shall be and are hereby forfeited to the federal government.”

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