The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the permanent forfeiture of N235,451,969 found in a bank account linked to Obinwanne Okeke, who is described by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as “a strong leader of a cyber-crime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.”
Justice Mohammed Liman ordered the permanent forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government following an application by the EFCC.
The judge had earlier on March 23, 2020, ordered the interim forfeiture of the money said to be domiciled in an account at First City Monument Bank.
The judge had ordered the EFCC to publish the interim order in a national daily for anyone interested in the money to show up in court to give reasons why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Head of Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Thursday that the permanent forfeiture order followed arguments by the anti-graft agency’s counsel, S. I. Sulaiman.
The N235,451,969 is the second tranche of funds that Invictus is forfeiting to the Federal Government.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the same court had November last year ordered the permanent forfeiture of N280,555,010.65 “warehoused” in the bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.
Invictus had been nabbed in the United States of America over an alleged $11m cyber fraud.
The 31-year-old Nigerian was, in 2016, celebrated by Forbes as one of Africa’s “most outstanding 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.”
He was described by the magazine as “proof that there is hope for Africa.”
He was, however, arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after being implicated as the ringleader of a cyber crime syndicate that had defrauded a number of American citizens to the tune of $11m “through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive, coordinated, business e-mail compromise scheme.”
THIS STORY WAS FIRST REPORTED IN PUNCH