The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, for ordering the interim forfeiture of funds and properties traced to Abidemi Rufai, the suspended aide of Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, who is facing wire fraud charges in the United States of America.
CACOL gave the commendation in a release made available to newsmen by the group’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo.
“It was reported that a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and properties traced to Abidemi Rufai”.
In the statement, circulated on behalf of Chairman, Debo Adeniran, CACOL recalled that Rufai was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, on May 14 over alleged $350,000 Covid-19 unemployment fraud from the Washington State Employment Security Department, in the United States. He was subsequently indicted for alleged conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
“We at CACOL are elated at this ruling, we believe in the principle of dignity of labour. It is so shameful and pathetic that some of those our youths are looking up to are engaging in sharp practices not only at the local level but also at international scenes. They have continually drag the name of the country in the mud and are so bold to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth in public and also find their ways to the seat of government thereby compounding the already battered leadership issues we are currently facing in the country. This is why culprits of corruption need to be deprived of their evil accumulations, wherever and whenever they are found out, and made to face the consequence of their acts as a just supper”.
The order, given by the court, covers Rufai’s property located at House 11, Omodayo Awotuga Street, Bera Estate, Chevy View, Lekki, Lagos and funds in his accounts domiciled in Sterling and Zenith banks.
Justice Tijjani Ringim made the order sequel to an ex parte motion filed and argued by a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ebuka Okongwu.
Okongwu told the judge that it was essential for the court to grant the prayer of interim forfeiture to preserve the res and prevent further dissipation of the defendant’s funds in his Sterling Bank account. He then furnished the judge with an affidavit sworn to by an EFCC investigator, Usman Abdulhamid, detailing the agency’s investigation of Rufai in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Justice Ringim, in a bench ruling, granted the EFCC’s order as prayed in the motion paper in which EFCC joined Rufai, his firm Omo Mayodele Global Investment and Sterling Bank PLC as the first, second and third respondents respectively.
“We therefore hail the decision of the judge, Justice Tijjani Ringim to order the interim forfeiture of the said assets and funds of the accused after taking into consideration the evidences presented before the court. We hope the ruling of the court will serve as an eye opener to those who are still perpetrating this heinous crime against humanity and make them have a rethink so that together we can all build and live in a corruption free society”.