Justice Kehinde Ogundare of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of 14 houses, a Mikano generator, three cars and the total sum of N24,106,760, 15 million seized from some persons, who allegedly defrauded First Marina Trust Limited of $2.780 million and £500,000.
Justice Ogundare made the order of forfeiture after entertaining a motion ex-parte from a lawyer from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nnaemeka Omewa.
The houses ordered to be forfeited include a twin duplex located at 9 Philomena Street, off Murtune Avenue, River Valley Estate, Dopemu, Lagos; Harsmont Hotel Ltd, located at 14 Adeyemo Close, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos; a shopping plaza situated at Shasha Road, Akowonjo, Lagos; house located at 49, Segun Akinola Street and Mile 16, off Abeokuta Express Road, Abule-egba, Lagos.
Others are a bungalow located at 4 Olushola Prestige Close, Off Kilanko Street, Abule-egba, Lagos; a duplex Itilayoayo Balogun Close, Ajao-estate, Lagos; a house and vacant plot of land Located at 46, Yetunde Kuforiji Street, Megida Village, Alimosho, Lagos and an uncompleted building located 724, Abeokuta Express Way, Mosalashi, Alagbado, Lagos.
The court also ordered forfeited: an uncompleted building and land located at 724, Bola Ahmed Tinubu Road, Ijaiye Ojokoro, Lagos; an undeveloped land measuring 634.130 sqm located at Niyi Ogunbameru Street, Ajao Estate, Lagos; undeveloped land measuring 407.062 sqm situated at 38, Adeniyi Akibu Street, Jankare Ijaiye Ojokoro, Lagos; undeveloped land measuring 288.069 sqm located at Itele-ota, Ado-Odo/Ota L.G.A, Ogun State; a bungalow situated at 1, Olufunmilola Close Off Kazeem Street, Alapere, Ketu, Lagos and a uncompleted duplex located at 25, Oyebanjo Solarin Street, off Elebiju Street, Ketu, Lagos.
The cars forfeited by the court is a Toyota Tacoma Jeep with registration No. BDG-938 EE, a Toyota Landcruiser with registration No. FST 909 EG; Toyota RAV 4 with registration No. FST 186 EG, a Gold coloured Toyota Camry, and an SP 80 KVA Mikano generator.
The sum forfeited was warehoused in three banks with the account names bearing Isaac Abdul Johnson.
Omewa had told the court that the application to forfeit the above-listed properties was brought under sections 9 and 10 Of the Proceeds of Crime Recovery And Management Act 2022, Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-Related Offences Act, No.14, 2006, Section 44(2)(B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1999 as Amended and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.
In affidavit filed in support of the motion and deposed to by Afanda Bashir, an investigating officer with the anti-graft agency, he stated that the anti-graft agency received a petition from First Marina Trust Ltd in September 2016, alleging fraud of over $500,000 against two of its employees, and the same was assigned to his team for discreet investigation.
Bashir stated that during the investigation, the two employees: Adeyemi Oluwaseun and Suleiman Obhakume, were arrested, and their statements were taken under word of caution.
He averred that as a fact that the investigations revealed as follows: “Adeyemi Oluwaseun was employed in First Marina Trust Ltd in 2007 and worked at the treasury and operations department while Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume was used in 2008 in the marketing department.”
He further claimed, “Obhakume, who was employed as a junior associate, rose through the ranks and was promoted to senior associate in 2013. That part of his job schedule includes managing clients’ accounts with high investment volume.
“In a situation where the customer wants to liquidate the investment, the customer will mail his registered email with the company with the transaction details to Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume to effect the instruction. He will process the customers’ instructions and forward the same to Adeyemi Oluwaseun, who is in the operations department, to double-check the customers’ instructions and details and, after that, approve the withdrawal.
“Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume has a friend and Muslim cleric named Yusuf Imran Adekunle who comes to his house to pray for his family. And that sometime in April 2016, Yusuf Imran Adekunle told Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume that he was a prominent Muslim cleric specialising in praying for people’s success and convinced him to follow him to the cleric’s place.
“That both Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume and Yusuf Imran Adekunle went to this Muslim cleric’s place at No.17 Adeyemo Street, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State, for prayers, and it was there that Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume was introduced to the prominent Muslim cleric by name Haruna Isah, who revealed to Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume that he has a bright future and persuaded him to bring money to enable him perform sacrifices, offer prayers for him and make him a wealthy and successful person. He first requested N240,000.00 for sacrifice, which Obhakume brought money.
“After that, Haruna Isah requested N18 million for further prayers and sacrifice and convinced Obhakume to get the money from his workplace and that Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, to get the sum of N18 Million requested by Haruna Isah, forged the email address of one of the bank’s customers he manages his account by name Chimezie Ohamuo with email address [email protected] to [email protected].
“That armed with this new email address, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume fraudulently raised a transfer instruction for the liquidation of the customer’s investment for the sum of N18 million, which instruction was approved by Adeyemi Oluwaseun in the operations department. The sum of N18 million was transferred to Obhakume’s friend’s account by the name of Oluwafemi Ajala; the money was transferred to the bureau de change operator, converted into US dollars and given to Obhakume, who in turn gave the money to Haruna Isah.
“Haruna Isah further requested $ 1 million from Obhakume and again used his influence as a cleric to convince him to collect the money from one of the customers’ accounts managers, which Obhakume informed him had over N1.5 billion investment. Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume forged the email address of one of the customers’ accounts, White Alp Resources Ltd, with the email address [email protected] to [email protected].
“With this new email address, Obhakume fraudulently raised different transfer instructions and liquidated the customer’s N 1 billion naira investment. These transfer instructions were directed to another bureau de change operator, who converted the money to dollars and pounds and handed over the cash to Obhakume, who handed over the money to Haruna Isah. Adeyemi Oluwaseun approved these transfer instructions of the operations department and provided them to the BDC operators, which widened the conversion of the naira to dollars and pounds.
“That Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, in connivance with Adeyemi Oluwaseun, fraudulently transferred and converted First Marina Trust Ltd.’s customers’ money totalling $2,780,000 and £500 000 British pounds sterling. And that these monies were handed over to Haruna Isah, and the money was shared between him and Yusuf Imran Adekunle, the two self-acclaimed Muslim clerics.
“That the dollars and pounds sterling benefitted by Haruna Isah were paid into his younger brother’s account domiciled in a commercial bank, Isaac Abdul Johnson with account number 1001486541. And that from this Zenith Bank Account, the money was further laundered to Isaac Abdul Johnson’s account domiciled with another bank — 0078221300; -3010230149; and Nos 0011557523 and 0220188082.
“Haruna Isah and his brother Isaac Abdul Johnson used the monies that entered these accounts to acquire the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14t,h 15th, and 16 Respondents. And Haruna Isah was arrested during the investigation; he was cautioned and volunteered to confess to the crime.