The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered a former Executive Director, Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Tuoyo Omatsuli, to permanently forfeit four landed properties worth N846.03m to the Federal Government.
Justice Chuka Obiozor made the permanent forfeiture order following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The anti-graft agency told the judge that the landed properties, located in highbrow Lekki Peninsula Scheme area of Lagos, were acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.
The judge had in May made an interim order forfeiting the assets temporarily to the Federal Government.
In the affidavit supporting the forfeiture application, an EFCC investigator, Adamu Yusuf, said Omatsuli received a bribe of N3.645bn from a consultant to the NDDC, Starline Consultancy Services Limited.
According to Yusuf, Starline Consultancy Services Limited was engaged by the NDCC to help it recover its statutory 3 per cent annual budget of oil and gas producing companies in the Niger Delta.
Yusuf said it was agreed that Starline Consultancy Services Limited would be paid 10 per cent commission on the total funds recovered from the oil and gas companies for the NDDC.
He said to recover the funds Starline Consultancy Services Limited sought and got the help of the House of Representatives’ Committee on NDCC, which wrote letters to the oil and gas companies to demand the payment of their statutory levies to the NDDC.
According to Yusuf, Starline Consultancy Services Limited eventually succeeded in the job and was paid N10, 218, 019,060.59 as its 10 per cent commission between August 22, 2014 and June 25, 2015.
The investigator said some of the approvals to pay the consultancy fee were signed by Omatsuli as the ED, Projects of the NDDC.
“That Mr Omatsuli agreed and received kickbacks (bribes) to the tune of N3,645,000,000.000 from Starline Consultancy Services Limited through Building Associates Limited, whose alter ego is Francis Momoh (an ally of Mr Omatsuli),” Yusuf said.
The anti-graft agency presented a table showing that Omatsuli allegedly received kickbacks 11 times between August 28, 2014 and September 8, 2015 from Starline Consultancy Services Limited.
In November, the EFCC arraigned Omatsuli, alongside Don Parker Properties Limited, Francis Momoh and Building Associates Limited, for alleged N3.6bn bribery.
They were arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos.