Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has claimed ownership of Flat 7B in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, where large sums of money were found.
The sums found in the flat, which were forfeited to the Federal Government on June 6, are $43,449,947 (about N13billion), N23, 218,000 and £27,800 (about N10.6milion).
In its pending application, the bank is praying the Federal High Court in Lagos to vacate an interim order forfeiting the flat to the Federal Government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused former National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General Ayodele Oke of fraudulently converting the agency’s funds.It alleged that Oke’s wife, Folasade, used part of the funds to buy the flat.
The court, on November 9, ordered the flat’s temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government.
Justice Saliu Saidu ruled that it would be permanently forfeited if no one turned up to justify its ownership within 14 days.
Yesterday, Union Bank’s lawyer Chief Ajibola Aribisala (SAN) said he filed an application seeking to vacate the interim forfeiture order.
In a supporting affidavit, the bank said the flat was part of 16, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, belonging to Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Muazu.
It said the property was covered by a certificate of occupancy dated September 27, 2009 and registered as 97/97/2009 in the Lands Registry Office, Alausa.
According to the bank, Muazu mortgaged the property to it by virtue of a Tripartite Deed of Legal Mortgage dated November 1, 2011.
Union Bank said the property was a security for a loan granted to Tripple A Properties & Investment Ltd.
The bank claimed that the property’s original titled deed had been vested in it (the bank).
Besides, it said the loan was yet to be liquidated despite its tenor expiring.
The bank claimed that it sold the property to Chobe Ventures Ltd to liquidate the loan.
EFCC, in its counter affidavit, argued that the bank lacked the locus standi to challenge the forfeiture.
While arguing the application for the flat’s forfeiture, EFCC’s lawyer said Mrs Oke made cash payment of $1,658,000 in tranches of $700,000, $650,000 and $353,700, for the flat’s purchase between August 25 and September 3, 2015.
In a supporting affidavit deposed to by an investigating officer, Mr Musa Giwa, the agency said Mrs Oke gave the cash to a bureau de change operator, Alhaji Shehu Usman Anka, to pay for the flat.
“The funds used to acquire the property sought to be forfeited in the name of Chobe Ventures belong to the Federal Government of Nigeria but was fraudulently converted to the use of Chobe Ventures. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application,” the EFCC said
EFCC said when it recovered the huge cash from the flat on April 12, it also recovered several documents indicating that the flat belonged to Chobe Ventures, including invoices and cash receipts issued to the company.
It claimed to have written the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for the particulars of Chobe Ventures’ directors, following which the CAC affirmed that the directors of Chobe Ventures were Mrs Folade Oke and Mr Ayodele Oke Jr.
Justice Saidu adjourned till January 12 for the hearing of Union Bank’s application as an interested party.