The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has, today 6 July 2018, directed the immediate release of two properties located in the United Kingdom belonging to the CEO and Executive Vice Chairman of the Aiteo Group, Benedict Peters which had been the subject of an Interim Forfeiture Order obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In 2016, allegedly in the course of its investigation of allegations of corruption against the former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Dieziani Alison-Madueke, the EFCC had listed the two properties as belonging to her.
By this decision, the court has upheld Peters’ case that the properties wholly belonged to him; was unconnected to any activities of the former minister and were unlawfully as well as unjustifiably included in a list of properties the Commission tried to seize.
In her ruling, Justice Nyarko of the Federal High Court, Abuja, found that a court of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) being competent and coordinate jurisdiction had, in a judgment in separate proceedings, made significant findings with respect to Peters’ means of livelihood. The judge ruled that the same court had confirmed his legitimate acquisition of a number of London-based properties including the two properties at Flat 5, Parkview, 83-86 Prince Albert Road as well as Flat 58 Harley House, Marylebone Road, both in London and had declared that those assets were insusceptible to forfeiture under any circumstance.
Justice Nyarko directed that in that event, those properties could not continue to be restrained by the order EFCC had obtained and directed that the properties be released to Peters immediately.
Today’s Echo will update as more details emerge.