COURT ORDERS FORFEITURE OF HOUSES, CARS LINKED TO CONVICTED INVICTUS OBI

A federal court in Lagos on Friday ordered the interim forfeiture of houses and cars linked to convicted cybercriminal Obinwanne Okeke also known as Invictus Obi.

The judge,Peter Lifu, made the order as a sequel to an ex parte motion filed and argued by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Chinenye Okezie.

Mr Okeke is serving a 10-year prison sentence in America for his involvement in a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme amounting to $11 million.

According to the judge, the houses are “All that property lying, being and situated at House 4 Oakville Estate, Kado Kuchi, Abuja.

“All that property lying, being and situated at 5 bedroom duplex at Standard Estate, Kabusa, Abuja.”

The vehicles include a Toyota Corolla with Registration Number: RBC6238N and an unregistered Toyota Corolla Sport.

According to the EFCC, the properties will be used to restitute foreign victims of Mr Okeke’s fraud through the United States of America Consulate.

“I have listened to the submission of the counsel to the applicant vis-a-vis affidavit filed in support. I hold in my considered view that this application is meritorious and ought to be granted,” said Mr Lifu.

“Consequently this application is hereby granted as prayed.”

The judge also ordered that the Commission should publish the order in a widely read newspaper in Nigeria within 14 days for any interested party to show cause why the order should not be permanently made.

He adjourned till November 30 to make a final decision on the forfeiture motion.

The EFCC supported its application with an affidavit sworn by one of its investigators, Usman Abdulhamid.

Mr Abdulhamid noted that Mr Okeke had already forfeited N280,555,010, N240,250,904.46 and N40,304,106.19 to the Federal Government

He said: “On further investigation by the Commission, two more properties were traced belonging to the convict, along with two vehicles parked in the residence.

“This application is pertinent in order to restitute the victims of the fraud through the United States of America Consulate.

“This matter is of very urgent public interest and concern as it directly tarnishes the image of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Nigeria among the comity of nations.

“The properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria by the Applicant were not procured through legitimate earnings of the Respondent but are reasonably suspected to be part of the fraudulent activities which the Respondent has been convicted for.”