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Monday, 17 April 2017

Latest Update on Seized N13bn: Please Tender Evidence of Ownership – Sagay tells Wike

It is reported that Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has asked Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to tender tangible evidence to prove ownership of the $43.4m, £27,000 and N23m (about N13bn) uncovered in a house in Ikoyi, Lagos, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last Wednesday.

Information revealed that Wike had on Friday claimed the money belonged to the Rivers State Government and that it was stolen and stashed in the
Ikoyi house by his predecessor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

However, the commission had gone before a Federal High Court in Lagos where it claimed that no one had come forward to claim the cash and obtained an interim forfeiture order.

The court then ordered that the money would be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government if no one came forward within 30 days to show proof that he or she owned the cash.

The governor had earlier said the money was proceed from the sale of gas turbine belonging to Rivers State by Amaechi.

Amaechi had dismissed Wike’s claim, describing it as reckless and unfounded, saying he (Amaechi) knew nothing about the seized money.‎

Reacting to the development on Sunday, Sagay said Wike must tender concrete evidence that the cash belonged to the Rivers State Government or else he would not be taken seriously.

He said, “The court has already given an order that the seizure should be advertised and anybody, who has an interest or thinks he is the owner, should come in and file an affidavit and explain the basis upon which he is claiming the money.

“So, if Rivers State is serious about what it is saying, it has a fair opportunity to present its case. This should not be a matter of politics. This is something that has to be legally established; not politics of attack.

“They (state officials) need to file an affidavit to establish ownership and if they can’t, they will lose. So, they have an avenue to establish ownership now and let them go ahead.

“The Rivers matter is pure politics as far as I am concerned. Since the NIA has claimed ownership, all they need to do is to go to court and present documents and satisfactorily convince the courts that it owns the money and it was obtained legitimately.”

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