A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned till November 21 to hear applications by two firms seeking to challenge the forfeiture of three landed properties in Lagos and Abuja belonging to Mr Kola Aluko.
The defendant is an ally of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.
Justice Mohammed Liman fixed the date to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel Rotimi Oyedepo respond to the applications.
Oyedepo told the judge that he had just been served the applications by Aluko’s counsel Quadri Aderogba and another lawyer, Ammed O. Ammed, who said he represented parties seeking to be joined in the suit.
Justice Liman, on October 22, 2019, ordered the interim forfeiture of Aluko’s properties, following an ex parte application filed by the EFCC.
The properties are at Plot 3389 and Plot 3390, House 2, Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro, Cadastral Zone, Abuja, as well as Avenue Towers, Plot 1391, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The judge also directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper.
He adjourned till yesterday for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Oyedepo informed the court of his agency’s compliance with the order regarding newspaper publication.
The lawyer said he had also been served with different applications from Aluko’s lawyer Aderogba and Ammed.
Ammed told the court that he was representing Trelou Investment Incorporation and RMCG Development Limited, adding that his application was challenging the court’s jurisdiction on the matter. Aderogba told the court that his application was a preliminary objection to the interim order.
But Oyedepo, who prayed for a short adjournment to enable him respond to the applications, said the court only adjourned for interested parties to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government, not applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction.
Justice Liman upheld his application and adjourned till November 21 for hearing of all applications.
According to the EFCC, Plot 3389 and Plot 3390 in Abuja were purchased for N350m and $18 million, respectively, while the Lagos property was bought for $55 million.
It said the funds used to procure the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Oyedepo told the judge that Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 2016 empowered the court to make such a forfeiture order.