Justice A.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt on Thursday, January 4, 2019 refused to vacate the interim forfeiture order it granted on December 28, 2018 in respect of $2.8 million (Two Million, Eighty Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) which was seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Enugu Zonal Office.
It would be recalled that based on intelligence report, the EFCC had on Thursday, December 20, 2018, intercepted the said money at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, from two persons: Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel who are suspected to be money launderers.
While filing application for interim forfeiture on December 24, 2018, the Commission had also filed an affidavit of urgency for the matter to be heard before a vacation Judge sitting in Port Harcourt.
The vacation Judge, Justice A. T. Mohammed had on December 28, 2018, ruled in favour of the Commission, as the court granted the order of interim forfeiture, pending the determination of the case.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, January 4, 2019, Charles Ajuya, SAN, appeared for the Respondents and prayed the Court to vacate the interim order.
But the EFCC counsel, Anasoh Onyedikachi Henry, who filed eight paragraphs Affidavit of Facts stated the progress made by the Commission in the investigation. He also presented before the court, the newspaper publication in respect of the court order.
The EFCC counsel further argued that the defence was wrong to have asked for vacation of the court order since the Exparte is still subsisting.
In his ruling, the judge upheld the arguments of the prosecution and said that since the publication of the interim forfeiture order was a public knowledge, the defence should be prepared to proof their case rather than come to court seeking for the vacation of the order.
He, however, directed that since the period of court vacation ended on January 4, 2019, “the case file is hereby transferred to Enugu Division for continuation of the case”.
It would be recalled that the suspects had confessed during interrogation that they have been in the business of moving cash for “some notable banks”, for over six years and were in the process of doing same for Union Bank Plc, located at New Market, Onitsha, Anambra State, before their arrest. They also claimed to be working for Bankers Warehouse Limited.