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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of N116m Cash Meant For Benue, Jigawa, Gombe Constituency Projects


Justice A.R Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of N116 million alleged to be proceeds of crimes linked to the non-execution of constituency projects awarded to Hamza Barau and Hamshakin Ventures Ltd, funded by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN on behalf of six former federal lawmakers.

An investigation by the EFCC showed that Hamza Barau and Hamshakin Ventures Ltd actually collected a Certificate of Job Completion issued by SWEDAN and shared the project funds with the legislators, through whom the constituency projects were allotted.

According to the Vanguard, the legislators are Hon. Herman Hembe; Hon. Benjamin Aboho, Hon. Udende Emmanuel and Hon. Orker-Jev.

Others are Hon. Abubarkar Mahmud Wambai and Hon. Anthony Madawatte,  all former members of the House of Representatives.

The EFCC said the constituency projects not implemented but cash diverted involved the execution of Strategic Empowerment Programme in Akko, Gombe State, conduct of Pilot Seasonal Intervention Programme in Vandeikya/Konshisha, Benue State, execution of Strategic Empowerment Programme in Katsina-Ala/Logo/Ukum, Benue State, Intervention Programme for Ailing Enterprises in Vaneikya/Konshisha, Benue State and the supply of Motorcycles in Kiyawa, Jigawa State.

As a result of the case presented against the lawmakers, the Federal High Court on October 14, 2019 ordered the interim forfeiture of the said amount, following an ex parte application by the EFCC,  which was published in some national dailies.

Justice Mohammed granted the order of final forfeiture of the money on Thursday while ruling on an application brought by the EFCC through its counsel, Ekele Iheanacho.

In his judgment, Justice Mohammed noted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had proved beyond reasonable doubt  that the said amount are proceeds of crimes as contained in  the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011,  and  in the absence of no objection, ordered that the N116 million be forfeited to the Federal Government.


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