A former director of First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal, has asked the Court of Appeal in Lagos to order the Nigerian Government to return to him the forfeited N9.08billion.
The Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered the forfeiture of the sum on February 16, 2017.
Lawal told the court that the Federal High Court which ordered the forfeiture of the money, had no jurisdiction to do so.
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the N9.08billion was part of the forfeited N23.4billion and $5million (about N34billion in total) linked to former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The anti-graft agency said the sums were stolen by Alison-Madueke and several accomplices from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and stashed in three banks.
Justice Muslim Hassan on February 16, 2017, ordered the final forfeiture of the funds after no one showed up to make legitimate claims to the funds.
The judge said he was satisfied with the EFCC’s argument that the monies were proceeds of illegal activity.
Lawal is the sole applicant in the appeal, while the EFCC is the respondent.
The applicant was represented by his counsel P.I.N Ikwueto (SAN), while Kufre Uduak represented the EFCC.
When the matter came up for mention on Thursday, the court adjourned proceedings after informing both parties that a date for hearing will be communicated to them.
In his notice of appeal in the suit marked CA/LA/PRE/RA/CU/394MI/2019, Lawal contended that the judge erred in law.
He is seeking four reliefs, including an order to: “To set aside the judgment dated February 16, 2017 for being without jurisdiction and thereby a nullity.
“An order setting aside the forfeiture of the sum of N9.08bn which the respondent (EFCC) obtained from the appellant while the appellant was under the detention of the respondent.
“An order returning the sum of N9.08billion to the appellant.”
In his March 29 affidavit in support of his application, Lawal averred that the forfeited N9.08billion was not found in his possession as required by Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act.
According to him, the money was borrowed on his behalf by family/friends whilst he was in EFCC custody and given to the government.
He further averred that his failure to appeal within time was due to his “apprehension that if he challenged the Judgment dated February 16, 2017 whilst the investigation was ongoing, the appellant will be further detained by the EFCC.
“The appellant has now been charged along with others following the conclusion of the investigation by the EFCC.”