COURT VACATES INTERIM FORFEITURE ORDER OF 1.4BIL TO FG

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Federal high court, Abuja


Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, vacated the order, which directed the forfeiture of N1.4 billion in Access Bank Plc’s account in the interim to the Federal Government.

The seized amount belonged to family of the late billionaire, Chief Dike Udensi Ifegwu.But the children, led by Okafor Dike Udensi, for himself and on behalf of the family, filed a motion on notice seeking that the order be vacated. Mike Orjiako, who led Henry Iheanacho, Orjiako Precious and Orjiako Unique-Mike for the respondents, filed the motion.

Justice Ojukwu gave the ruling following an oral application by the applicants’ counsel, Celsius Ukpong, seeking withdrawal of the matter.At the sitting meant for definite hearing, the presidential panel could not produce a report of settlement involving parties in the matter and the resolution as the court earlier directed.

The judge had directed that the settlement report be served on all parties and filed in court on June 12, 2018. However, Ukpong, told the court that the matter was for definite report of settlement, adding that in view of court’s directive, they met all parties, including the party seeking to be joined.

He stated that findings revealed that the matter was generated by a family feud, which they did not intend to pursue. kpong also indicated that the whistle blower, one Adakole Kingsley, who gave the information, has gone underground, saying that in the circumstance, it would be unfair to insist on the interim order.He, therefore, applied for withdrawal of the matter and urged the court to deal with it judiciously.

In view of the position taken by the applicants’ lawyer, counsel to the third respondent, Ifeoma Aniekwe, urged the court to strike out the matter. Similarly, Orjiako, who represented the second respondent, aligned himself with the submission of the first respondent’s counsel, adding that Adakole be charged to court because the Udensi Ifegwu’s family reputation has been smeared, maligned and disparaged before the public.

On his part, Ugochukwu Michael, who announced appearance for the party seeking to be joined as fourth defendant, associated with the position of the second and third respondents’ counsel. Delivering ruling, Justice Ojukwu stated that due to Adakole’s absence to substantiate his claims, the order of interim forfeiture granted on April 10, 2018 was vacated and the matter struck out.

 

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