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Nigerian Court Freezes N11.1 Billion in Assets Tied to Ex-Central Bank Chief Emefiele

A Nigerian court has frozen N11.14 billion (U.S.$7,441,520) worth of assets linked to Godwin Emefiele, the nation’s former Central Bank Governor. The move comes as Emefiele faces legal challenges, raising concerns about potential corruption within Nigeria’s financial system.

On Wednesday, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos granted an interim forfeiture order following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The EFCC, represented by lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, alleged the assets were acquired through illegal activities by Emefiele.

Emefiele is currently under investigation for charges in three separate criminal trials bordering on criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, procurement fraud, and conspiracy to commit a felony. The EFCC suspects Emefiele used intermediaries to purchase these high-value properties with ill-gotten funds.

The court order temporarily transfers ownership of the assets to the Nigerian government. Additionally, Justice Aneke instructed the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper. This allows anyone with a legitimate claim to the assets to contest the forfeiture within two weeks.

Emefiele, who maintains his innocence, has not commented on the latest court’s decision. This is the third forfeiture hammered on the ex-CBN chief in three weeks.

Justice Yellim Bogoro of Lagos Federal High Court, on May 23, 2024, granted an application by the EFCC to order an interim forfeiture of the sums of U.S.$4,719,054, N830,875,611 (U.S.$555,024.908), and several multi-million-naira properties linked to Emefiele. On May 29, another judge, Ayokunle Faji, also ordered the interim forfeiture of U.S.$1,426,175.14 domiciled in Titan Bank and linked to the ex-CBN governor.

—Ezinwanne Onwuka reports for TruthNigeria from Abuja.

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