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Monday, June 24, 2024

Arthur Eze regains property bought with billions of naira stolen from him

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has, through the Court of Appeal, Abuja, recovered 20 properties, 10 vehicles and three princely wristwatches from two brothers, Olisaebuka Eze and Onyeka Nnadozie Eze for petitioner Arthur Eze.

In a final forfeiture ruling on Friday, June 7, 2024 by a three-man panel of justices, the Appeal Court, Abuja, dismissed the appeal filed by the brothers and affirmed the final forfeiture of the properties, vehicles and other items to Arthur Eze, the nominal petitioner as presented by the EFCC counsel, Ibrahim Buba.

The road to the final forfeiture began in 2020 when the EFCC received a petition from Arthur Eze, alleging theft, criminal misappropriation, and money laundering against the first respondent Olisaebuka Eze, who was the administrative officer of his company, Oranto Petroleum Ltd.

According to Arthur Eze, Olisaebuka Eze, in connivance with his brother, Nnadozie Eze, stole his money that ran into billions of naira and millions of dollars, with which both used to acquire properties in Abuja and Enugu.

Upon conclusion of investigations, the EFCC arrested Olisaebuka Eze and his brother-accomplice, Nnadozie Eze, and froze their bank accounts following court orders.

Olisaebuka and Nnadozie stole Arthur’s money running into billions of naira and millions of dollars, with which they acquired properties in Abuja and Enugu

The respondents filed a suit at the FCT High Court, Apo, before Justice S.B. Belgore, seeking the enforcement of their fundamental rights. At the end of the hearing, Justice Belgore held that the EFCC violated the fundamental rights of the respondents and awarded N10 million damages in their favour.

The EFCC, through its counsel, Buba, challenged the ruling in the Court of Appeal which overturned the decision of the lower court and held that the detention of the respondents by the EFCC and the freezing of their accounts were for the purpose of investigation and were properly backed by orders of the court.

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“The EFCC’s action did not amount to a violation of the respondent’s rights,” the court held.

The court further awarded N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) against the respondents in favour of the EFCC.

The properties, all located in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, were held by the court to have been acquired with proceeds of crime committed against Arthur Eze.

The properties and items which Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi of the FCT High Court, sitting in Gudu, Abuja, had, in April 2022, ordered their final forfeiture to the petitioner include:

  • seven bedroom duplex at Plot 1772 Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi District, FCT Abuja, located at No: 5 Ifeanyi Araraume Street Mabushi, Abuja;
  • Plot No. 621, Cadastral Zone B07 within Katampe District with file No. JG 10188
  • nine units of two-bedroom flats located at Plot 375 off Ameyo Adadovah Way, in Kado District, Abuja
  • three-bedroom terrace duplex located at Brookhouse Residence Karsana District FCT, Abuja
  • Plot No. AHE540 in Lugbe AMAC Housing Estate measuring 1,500sqm
  • Plot No. 285, measuring 1,589.28sqm in Cadastral Zone E23 Kyami District Abuja
  • Plot No. R9530AA, measuring 1,000 sqm, located at Traders Layout 3 Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja
  • Plot No. R9530AA, measuring 1,000 sqm, located at Traders Layout 3 Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja.
  • Plot No. XK1057, measuring 800sqm, located in Apo Layout, AMAC FCT, Abuja
  • Plot of land with RofO with file No. AN 69550 dated 28/10/2012 at Kyami District Abuja
  • Plot No. 0844 in NAF Valley Estate, Asokoro Abuja, measuring about 1316.79
  • Plot No. 188 Cadastral Zone E 12 of Orozo, measuring 875sqm.

The items include:

  • A red Oulm wristwatch, stainless steel back Japan Move 3377
  • A golden Just Bling wristwatch JB-6116
  • A golden Piaget wristwatch with serial no. 8066-639333.
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The vehicles are:

  • Toyota Camry 2014 2016 model
  • Toyota Camry 2014 model
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Honda Accord 2013 model
  • Mercedes Benz GLE 2015 model
  • Toyota Tundra with chassis No. STFRYF17EX171601 and a car spare ke
  • Toyota Avalon with registration No. RSH111
  • Honda Civic with registration No. YAB58EN
  • Mercedes Benz C 400 with Reg. No. KWL43A5
  • Kia SUV.

Dissatisfied with the High court order, the brothers approached the appellate court in separate appeals praying that the order be set aside. However, in the appeal court judgment read by Justice H.A. Barka, the appellate court held that the duo did not satisfactorily prove that they legitimately acquired the properties and all the items involved.

According to Justice Barka, the appellants did not “place any material before the court to enable it to disturb the findings of the lower court.” The court further held that the appeal lacked merit and dismissed it accordingly.

“The judgment of the lower court is affirmed,” Justice Barka, stated.

Bridget Benson
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