The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the forfeiture of La Diva Hotel in Delta State belonging to a former Executive Director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Calistus Obi.
The court had in May convicted Obi of N225m fraud.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who convicted Obi of the corruption charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment with a N42m fine option.
The judge had declined the prayer by the EFCC to impose on Obi the maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment prescribed by Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The judge also turned down the request by the EFCC that Obi should be ordered to forfeit his La Diva Hotel, which he allegedly built with proceeds of fraud.
Following the setback in Justice Olatoregun’s court in June, the EFCC took a fresh ex parte application before Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court for the forfeiture of Obi’s hotel.
“La Diva Hotel was not acquired with legitimate income and as such ought to be forfeited to the Federal Government,” the EFCC told Justice Saidu on Monday.
The anti-graft agency also prayed the court to order the forfeiture of N37.5m belonging to Obi.
“The respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the property sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government,” the EFCC said.
Counsel for the anti-graft agency, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the judge had been empowered by Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 to make such forfeiture order.
Justice Saidu granted the interim forfeiture order and adjourned till November 4 for further proceedings.