Two high courts in Abuja have ordered that the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, and his son, Shamsudeen, temporarily forfeit 10 properties to the Federal Government.
The courts also barred the suspects from selling anything found in the properties, including luxury cars, jewelleries and other valuables.
The seizure of some of the properties traced to the ex-minister was pursuant to an interim forfeiture order by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Abang ordered the temporary forfeiture of the properties “to the Federal Government pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of criminal charges against the suspects.”
He added, “The court also gives the commission power to appoint competent persons/firm to manage the assets/properties listed.”
The remaining properties were confiscated on the strength of the order by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered that the assets be “forfeited to the Federal Government pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of the criminal charges against the suspects.”
Justice Kolawole stated, “The court also forbids any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the property/assets.”
Sunday PUNCH learnt that the properties include three plots of land with development at various stages of completion at No 54 Mike Akhigbe Way, Jabi, Abuja; Plot 2276 Sunrise Estate, Asokoro, Abuja, and Plot 1804 Damaturu Crescent, off Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki 11, Abuja.
Two other properties, belonging to the ex-minister, which were also seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, are located at No. 1 and 3 Marian Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and a twin plaza at Wuse Zone 3 by Tamarak Guest Inn, Abuja.
Five other properties, belonging to the ex-minister’s son were also seized.
The properties are at 7 Gana Street, Maitam, Abuja; an estate and plaza at Dawaki, opposite Gwarinpa, Abuja; an estate at Jahi District, Abuja; three duplexes at Abuja Investment Company Limited Estate, Abuja, and a shop at Dubai Market, Kaura District, Abuja.
The EFCC had, on February 1, 2016, arraigned Shamsudeen for alleged fraud to the tune of N1,105,719,005.
The EFCC also slammed 15 charges on the ex-minister’s son and four other companies.
The EFCC accused the minister’s son of carrying out business transactions worth billions of naira in cash, which is in violation of the Money Laundering Act.
Specifically, Shamsudeen was accused of buying all the aforementioned properties in cash.
One of the charges read in part, “That you, Shamsudeen Bala (alias Shamsudeen Mohammed Bala), Bird Trust Agro Allied Limited and Intertrans Global Logistics Limited, sometime in 2015 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did, without going through a financial institution, make cash payment of N200,000,000 to A&K Constructions Limited , Abuja, and Sunrise Estate Development Limited for Construction of a house on Plot Nos 2116 and 2276 at Asokoro Gardens (alias Sunrise Estate), Abuja, which exceeded the statutory limit and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) and (4) of the same Act.”
Meanwhile, the EFCC may soon arraign the former minister before an FCT High Court.
Bala is also under investigation by the House of Representatives Committee on the FCT for an alleged scam in the controversial Centenary City project