A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Zuba, Abuja, has ordered the forfeiture to the Federal Government of properties worth N124.5m said to have been illegally acquired by a principal accountant at the Finance and Accounts Department of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Daniel Obah.
Obah was arraigned before Justice E. O. Ebong by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission for acquiring a four-bedroom duplex in Abuja and plots of land in Rivers State through corrupt means.
The ICPC counsel, John-Paul Okwor, told the court that the commission was relying on Section 48 (2) (3) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, which gave it the power to obtain a ruling of forfeiture or seizure of assets acquired by individuals through corrupt means.
A statement by the ICPC spokesperson, Rashedat Okoduwa, on Monday in Abuja, said the commission argued before the court that Obah and two other employees of the ministry, Poloma Nuhu and Mangset Dickson, allegedly carried out a coordinated fraud resulting in the withdrawal of N605m from the ministry’s 2014 constituency project account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The ICPC said, “The assets forfeited by Obah, which included a Toyota Camry car and a 2013 Honda Accord, were ascertained to be from the proceeds of the fraud. The landed properties were a four-bedroom duplex at the Janew Home, Plot No. 3 Cadastral Zone D02, Karsana South District, Abuja, valued at N60m; and a plot of land at Ohia Ngbakiri, Ozuoba, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, valued at N30m.
“Others include plots of land at Oliopobo, Rumuekini New Layout, Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, valued at N18m; plot of land at Umuodili Odubo, Abe Ndoni community, valued at N16.5m; and plot of land at the Livingstone Estate, Umuogodo, Igbo-Etche, Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.”
Although Obah told the court that the four-bedroom duplex was acquired with his legitimate income, the judge dismissed his plea for failing to provide evidence.
In another development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a businessman, Babagana Dalori, for allegedly duping investors in his companies of over N7bn.
Dalori, a graduate of Electrical Electronics and Managing Director, Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Limited, was said to have fleeced over 20,000 Nigerians in 11 states of the amount.
The EFCC accused Dalori, 35, of allegedly luring his victims with mouth-watering returns on investment of between 135 per cent and 200 per cent.
The suspect, according to the anti-graft agency, said during interrogation that he started his business in 2012 with a tricycle, adding that by 2014, hundreds of people had shown interest in his ideas, prompting him to diversify into other ventures.
He claimed that he diversified into sand mining, haulage and transportation, which he said attracted hundreds of investors, who parted with their money following the promise of high returns on investment, which was increased from 135 per cent to 200 per cent.
In 2016, Dalori explained that he went into full transportation business by registering Galaxy Transport and Construction Company with his mother as a co-director.
In 2017, he invested about N400m in acquiring a quarry licence and started mining at Mpape, Abuja, adding that he had offices in 11 states, which were used to lure his victims with promises of incredible returns.
“Dalori continued collecting money from people until his investors increased to 20,700. But instead of concentrating on the line of business for which the investors had put their money, he further diversified as he registered Galaxy Global Energy Limited, Galaxy Miners Concepts Limited, Galaxy Global Farms, Galaxy Guest Palace Limited, Galaxy Hospital, Galaxy Computing, Galaxy Block-moulding and Galaxy Car Wash,” an EFCC source said.
Several victims told investigators that they invested between N2m and N20m in Dalori’s ventures but were not given anything in return.
Prior to his arrest by the EFCC, it was gathered that the suspect had been unreachable by his victims, who were agitated by his failure to address their concerns.
The acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, confirmed that the suspect was in custody and was undergoing interrogation.