The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday said it has secured the final forfeiture of $919,202.07 fraudulently kept in an interest yielding bank account by some staff of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division.

The Commission, in a statement that was signed by its Spokesperson, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, said it recovered the money from three respondents that included the Chief Registrar and Deputy Registrar of the High Court, as well from a branch of a bank in Port Harcourt.

“In the course of investigating a petition written against some officials of the court for alleged violation of ICPC Act 2000, the Commission’s special investigation team uncovered the money, being the sum of confiscated, value and sold vessel hidden in a bank account.

“To allow any interested persons show cause why the money should not be forfeited finally to the federal government, ICPC immediately filed an ex-parte motion for an Interim Order of Forfeiture in November 2020. “While ruling on the Interim Order of Forfeiture, Justice Mohammed Sani of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt granted the Commission’s prayers for interim forfeiture of the sum pending the final hearing of the case.

“In his ruling on the Motion on Notice for the final forfeiture of the money, Justice Sani held that he was satisfied that ICPC had placed sufficient evidence before the Court to justify a final forfeiture of the contentious money.

“He therefore ordered the bank in Port-Harcourt to immediately pay the money into the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account as the money in question rightly belonged to the federal government of Nigeria”, the statement added.

In another development, the ICPC, has arraigned a former Executive Director of National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, Dr. Ademola Adeseye Idowu and three others for allegedly conferring undue advantage upon themselves. Other Defendants in the eight-count charge are Mr. Isaiah Kayode Ajisafe; Mr. David Tersange Ikyobo and a company, Sterling Designs & Associates.

ICPC alleged that the Defendants received the sum of N1,800,000 as benefit for appointing Sterling Designs & Associates Limited as Consultant to the Institute, contrary to and punishable under Sections 9, 19 and 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Ajisafe, a former head of accounts department of the institute was also accused of receiving N1,200,000 to appoint the company as a Consultant to the Institute. ICPC alleged that the 3rd Defendant, Ikyobo who is a Director at the company, bribed the other Defendants to the tune of N3million.

Meanwhile, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as persuaded the court to release them on bail pending the determination of the case against them.