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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the sum of about N700 million linked to the account of former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the High Court gave the order at the hearing on Tuesday.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC had filed an application that alleged the former governor siphoned public funds from the Zamfara State treasury while in office.
The ICPC counsel, Osuobeni Akponimisingha claimed that Yari kept the funds using his companies, Kayatawa Nigeria Limited and B.T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
Justice Ojukwu had in 2019 ruled that the funds should be temporarily forfeited pending when Yari and his companies could prove they are the credible owners of the funds.
But ruling on Tuesday, the court said Yari could not prove how he got the fund either while he was in office or after he left office.
So she ordered that the funds in accounts of different companies linked to Yari including $56,056.75 in Polaris Bank; N12.9m, N11.2m, $301,319.99; N217,388.04 and $311,872.15 in Zenith Bank be forfeited to the Federal Government.
According to the court, “There is nothing wrong in having a huge sum of monies in one’s account, but what the law requires is that such proceeds should emanate from legitimate sources or businesses.
“The respondents, who have been given the opportunity to tell their story, have failed to provide evidence for such legitimate income.
“The respondents have not countered the case and facts presented by the applicants (ICPC).
“The respondents, having failed to establish the legitimate source of the monies as stated in this case, this honourable court hereby makes an order of final forfeiture of the following:
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of N12,912,848.68 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $57,056.75 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed within the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari. “
An order of forfeiture of the sum of N11, 159, 674 .17, being proceeds stashed in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $319, 000.91 beings proceed of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of N217, 000.04 being proceeds of some unlawful activity allegedly stashed in the name of B.T Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
“An order of final forfeiture of the sum of $311, 817.15 being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of BT. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited,” Justice Ojukwu added.
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