Court orders interim forfeiture of Yari’s U.S properties, others

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of about 10 properties and funds in some banks allegedly owned by a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari. Justice Obiora Egwuatu gave the order on Wednesday while ruling in an ex-parte application by lawyer to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Osuobeni Akponimisingha.

Court orders interim forfeiture of Yari’s U.S properties, others
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of about 10 properties and funds in some banks allegedly owned by a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari. Justice Obiora Egwuatu gave the order on Wednesday while ruling in an ex-parte application by lawyer to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Osuobeni Akponimisingha. Justice Egwuatu said the interim order granted would last for 60 days to enable the ICPC to conclude its investigation, following which the commission could apply for final forfeiture. The judge ordered the ICPC to publicise the order for any person or persons with interest in the affected properties to show cause within 14 days why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government. Some of the properties, according to the ICPC, are in Maryland (USA), Abuja, Kaduna, among others. Akponimisingha had, while moving the motion, told the court that the ICPC’s preliminary investigation revealed the affected properties were allegedly actuated by the ex-governor with proceeds of crime. He said some of them acquired from Abuja-based EFAB Properties Limited were paid for with funds allegedly stolen from the coffers of Zamfara State Government. Akponimisingha added that the orders sought were meant to preserve the properties and funds in Sterling Bank, Zenith Bank and FirstBank from being dissipated before the conclusion of investigation. He claimed that there are evidence that Yari made anticipatory declaration of assets in the asset declaration forms he filled while assuming office as Zamfara State Governor. Akponimisingha recalled that another judge of the same Federal High Court, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had in January 2021 granted an order of final forfeiture in respect of funds allegedly held in banks by Yari. Justice Ojukwu had, upon an application by the ICPC, ordered the final forfeiture of the funds held in Zenith and Polaris Banks. ICPC had claimed that while $56,056.75 was lodged in Polaris Bank account, N12.9 million, N11.2 million, $301, 319.99; N217,388.04 and $311,872.15 were kept in different Zenith Bank accounts in the name of Yari and his companies. Justice Ojukwu held among others, that the former governor failed to establish his ownership of the funds. Yari served as governor of Zamfara State between May 2011 and May 2019.