Union Bank of Nigeria Plc on Thursday solicited Justice Saliu Saidu from a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court to clear an interval request of relinquishment set on Flat 7B Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos where the wholes of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 (about N13 billion) were found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on April 12, in press cupboards and “Ghana-must-go” sacks.
The judge had on November 9, made the request while giving an ex-parte application recorded by the counter unite organization.
A firm, Chobe Ventures Limited, was joined as the respondent in the suit.
Giving the ex-parte arrange, Mr. Saidu coordinated the EFCC to advise the respondent in whose ownership the property was found to show up before him in a fortnight to demonstrate motivation behind why it ought not be for all time relinquished to the government.
The anti-graft agency was also directed to publicise the interim order in a national daily for the respondent or anyone interested in the property to show cause within two weeks why a final forfeiture order should not be made on the property.
However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, Union Bank through its lawyer, A. A. Aribisala, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, drew the court’s attention to an application seeking to vacate the interim order of forfeiture.
In an affidavit in support of the application deposed to by one, Alfred Olukayode Edun, the bank argued that the forfeited flat was part of the property situated at 16 Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to Adamu Muazu, by virtue of a certificate of occupancy dated 27th September 2009 and registered as 97/97/2009 in the Lands Registry Office, Alausa, Lagos.
The bank said Mr. Muazu, a former Bauchi State governor and former Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, had mortgaged the entire property to it by virtue of a Tripartite Deed of Legal Mortgage dated November 1, 2011, in order to secure a loan granted to his company, Tripple A Properties & Investment Ltd.
The bank further claimed that the original title deed of the property had been vested in it while the loan is yet to be liquidated till date despite the fact that its tenor has expired.
The bank further claimed it sold the property to Chobe Ventures Ltd to liquidate the loan.
However, in its counter affidavit to the application, the EFCC argued that the bank lacks the ‘locus standi’ to challenge the forfeiture of property “reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities of Ambassador Ayo Oke and Mrs. Folashade Oke.”