Court orders final forfeiture of 60 buildings, land seized from top NSCDC official

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the final forfeiture of 60 buildings illegally acquired by a former Deputy Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Adenike Ishola Bintu, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had applied for the final forfeiture of the 60 buildings and a 9.6-hectare plot of land, both located at Sabon-Lugbe South-West Extension, Airport Road, Abuja.

ICPC’s spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, said the assets were alleged to have been acquired by Ms Bintu through corrupt means.

ICPC’s case

ICPC’s lawyer, John-Paul Okwor, told the court that the commission was relying on Section 48 (1) (2) and (3) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, which empowered it applied to the court for the forfeiture of assets corruptly acquired by individuals.

The commission had argued before the court that the former NSCDC official set up a private company, Faith Winners Victory Properties Limited, through which she was said to have fraudulently sold plots of land to unsuspecting members of the public.

The court heard that Ms Bintu claimed that the land, which she used to dupe over 1,000 people that subscribed into the estate business, was owned in partnership with NSCDC.

However, the subscribers, who had made several payments running into millions of naira, were neither allocated plots of land nor had their funds returned to them by Ms Bintu and her company.

ICPC also argued in court that Ms Bintu, whom it claimed had jumped bail and is now a fugitive, did not enter into any partnership with NSCDC to build estates for members of the public, as she alleged.

Defence

She told the court in her argument that ICPC had no powers to prosecute civil cases and that sections 6 and 48 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, relied upon by the commission had been repealed by the 2003 amended version of the law. She, therefore, prayed for the case to be struck out.

Ruling

The judge, O.A Egwuata, in his ruling, dismissed her arguments for lack of merit.

He then ruled that all the 60 buildings and the 9.6 hectares of land situated at Sabon-Lugbe South-West Extension, Airport Road, Abuja, listed by ICPC be forfeited to the federal government.

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