The Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed the claim of Union Bank Plc to Flat 7B, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The court described the bank as a busybody, just as it ordered the permanent forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government.
The flat attracted public attention in April last year when large sums of money – $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 (about N13bn) – were recovered from it.
The money, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was stashed away in iron cabinets and “Ghana-must-go” bags in the apartment.
The anti-graft agency later traced the ownership of the apartment to Mrs. Folashade Oke, the wife of the suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke.
It claimed that its investigations revealed that Folashade bought the property with proceeds of fraud by her husband.
It urged the court to order the permanent forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government.
In a ruling on Friday, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, granted the EFCC’s prayer, dismissing the objection by Union Bank, which claimed to have interest in the property.
The judge said she found from the papers filed before the court, that the bank had already sold the property to Chobe Ventures Ltd., a company owned by Mrs. Oke.
Justice Olatoregun held, “It appears to me that the interested party (Union Bank) is a busybody, who is crying more than the bereaved, having transferred all its rights on the property, the subject matter of this suit.
“The interested party has no legal reason to lodge any complaint on the steps being taken by the EFCC on the property, having divested its interest by the outright sale of the property to Chobe Ventures.
“I find the interested party’s motion, seeking to vacate the interim order of forfeiture granted by this court on November 9, 2017, as unmeritorious and same is struck out.
“From the affidavit evidence before the court, the applicant (EFCC) has shown clearly that the property sought to be forfeited was reasonably suspected to have been acquired with the proceeds of unlawful activities of Mr. and Mrs. Ayodele Oke in the name of Chobe Ventures.
“The fund belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria, which, at the material time, is under the control of Ambassador Ayodele Oke.
“The respondent, Chobe Ventures Ltd., refused and neglected to either file any process or appear in court.