Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, made the revelation while responding to a counter-affidavit filed by Lawal seeking to discharge an interim forfeiture order of the sum of N9.08 billion.
Justice Muslim Hassan had on January 6 this year issued an interim order of forfeiture of the sum to the Federal Government, following an exparte application filed by EFCC praying for the relief.
The commission had made the application on the ground that the fund was linked to the accused.The court had also issued 14 days to any interested party to appear and prove the legitimacy of the money, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the central government.
At the resumed hearing, Mr. Charles Adeogun announced appearance for Lawal, who is joined as a respondent in the suit, while Oyedepo appeared for the anti-graft outfit.
He informed the court that in line with its interim orders of January 6, the EFCC had served same on Lawal.He also told the court that the order was also published in the Independent newspaper of January 12 in compliance with the orders of the court.
Responding, Adeogun confirmed the position and added that he had filed a counter-affidavit deposed to by Lawal, challenging the said forfeiture orders.
Arguing his application, he urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of the total sum on the ground that same was obtained by coercion.
He contended that before such forfeiture orders could be made, two essential elements must be satisfied namely: “that the property in question is unclaimed and that such property or fund forms proceeds of an unlawful act.”
But Oyedepo countered, saying Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act makes a property, reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime, forfeitable to the Federal Government.After listening to their submissions, Justice Hassan subsequently fixed the 16th of next month for judgment.