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Senator Begs Court to Release 11 Forfeited Houses

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The Senator representing Delta North, Peter Nwaoboshi, on Wednesday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the interim forfeiture order placed on some of his assets.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on July 2, 2019, ordered the interim forfeiture of 11 houses and 22 bank accounts said to have been linked to him.

This followed an ex parte application by the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.

The ex parte application was moved by the panel’s lawyer, Celsus Ukpong, who described the assets as suspicious or suspected to be far beyond the legitimate income of Nwaoboshi.

Nwaoboshi, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, United Bank of Africa and Sterling Bank were joined as the 1st to the 5th respondents, respectively, in the ex parte application.

Although, Ukpong had applied for the interim forfeiture of 14 landed assets, the judge only granted the request in respect of 11, as he exempted three of them that were without addresses from the order.

But Nwaoboshi’s lawyer, Robert Clarke (SAN), on Wednesday, informed the judge of his client’s application filed on July 11, 2019.

The application challenged the court’s jurisdiction to grant the interim order of forfeiture.

The senator’s prayers, as contained in the motion, included “An order setting aside and/or annulling, ex-debito justitiae (as a matter of right)  the interim forfeiture and restraining orders made in this suit on the 2nd July, 2019 by this honourable court, pursuant to the amended motion ex parte dated the 22nd November, 2018.

“An order indemnifying the applicant by the complainant/ respondent to the full extent of the loss and damages suffered by the applicant by reason of the said ex parte interim forfeiture and restraining orders from July 6, 2019 in the sum of N50m.”

The senator contended that the SPIP made false claim in obtaining the orders.

Another lawyer, Sylvanus Maliki, on Wednesday appeared in court for an interested party, Mrs Ngozi Aniezu.

The judge directed the panel’s lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, to respond to the applications filed by Nwaoboshi and other interested parties on or before Friday.

The judge fixed hearing for Friday.

The properties affected by the disputed order include, Suiming Electrical Company (RC 1090069) located at Asaba, along Asaba Airport Road, Asaba, Delta State; PON Filling Station, along Asaba Airport Road, Asaba, Delta State and a multi-billion naira estate under contruction at Maryam Babangida Road, Asaba, Delta State.

They also include Cartage Cinema, located on Okpanan Road, beside Rain Oil Petrol Station, Asaba, Delta State; Newbridge Filing Station, along Airport Road, Warri, Delta State; and a house at No. 8, Monu Olarewaju Crescent, GRA, Asaba, Delta State.

The rest are a multi-million building located at 41, Buma Road, Apapa, Lagos; Guinea House, No. 27, Marina Road, Apapa, Lagos; Plot 3011B, Kuranah Close, Maitama, FCT, Abuja, and Ceedeez School Hall Airport Road, Asaba Delta State.

Those exempted are Plot on C of O No. 16800, Plot on C of O No. 16711 and Plot on C of O 13988.

The judge also ordered the interim forfeiture of 22 bank accounts with Zenith Bank, Access Bank and Sterling Bank linked to Nwaoboshi.

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