Home Politics Court orders forfeiture of 10 properties, funds linked to Yari

Court orders forfeiture of 10 properties, funds linked to Yari

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered interim forfeiture of about 10 properties and funds in banks allegedly owned by former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari.

The court gave the order, yesterday, while ruling on an ex-parte application by lawyer to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Osuobeni Akponimisingha.

Egwuatu said the interim order would last for 60 days to enable the ICPC conclude its investigation, following which the commission could apply for final forfeiture.

The judge ordered the ICPC to publish 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.

According to the ICPC, some of the properties are in Maryland (United States), Abuja, Kaduna, among others.

Akponimisingha had, while moving the motion, told the court that the ICPC’s preliminary investigation revealed that the ex-governor allegedly actuated the affected properties with proceeds of crime. He noted that some of them acquired from Abuja-based EFAB Properties Limited were paid for with funds allegedly stolen from the coffers of Zamfara government.

He claimed that there was evidence that Yari made anticipatory declaration of assets in the asset forms he filled while assuming office as Zamfara governor.

The ICPC counsel 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 two banks.

ICPC had claimed that while $56,056.75 was lodged in one bank account, N12.9 million, N11.2 million, $301,319.99, N217,388.04 and $311,872.15 were kept in different accounts of another bank in the name of Yari and his companies.

Ojukwu held, among others, that the former governor failed to establish his ownership of the funds.

Yari served as governor of Zamfara between May 2011 and May 2019.

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