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N8. 8bn Fraud: Court orders forfeiture of ex-JTF Commander, Atewe’s properties

Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the interim forfeiture of N293 million, six parcels of land and 30,000 MTN shares recovered from Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe (Rtd), a former Commander of the Military Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, in the Niger Delta.

Atewe is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Kime Enzogu and Josephine Otuaga on a 22-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.

The order of interim forfeiture followed an ex-parte application by the EFCC alleging that the assets were part of proceeds of N8.5 billion set aside for the military Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, which he is accused of diverting from the military between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015.

Counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo SAN, argued that it would be in the interest of justice for the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the assets.

The trial judge has adjourned until April 20, for anyone interested in the assets to appear before the court to show reasons why they should not be finally forfeited to the federal government.

The landed properties were identified as 50 hectares of farmland at Plot No. FL746B Gaube Farmland Extension II Layout, Kuje, Abuja; a piece of land located at Commercial Layout, Yenagoa Gardens, Bayelsa State; one hectre of land in Kuje District, Abuja; Plot No. CP10, Sector Centre B Layout, Kuje, Abuja; Plot MF62 Outer Northern Expressway Cadastral Zone, Abuja; Plot No. 1228 Jahi, Abuja; four hectares of land designated as Plot No.CP6386 and Plot No.CP6387, Sabon Lugbe, Abuja.

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