The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos office, today, November 21, 2019 secured an order of a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos for the final forfeiture of N280,555,010 belonging to two companies owned by Obinwanne Okeke also known as Invictus Obi, a ‘Forbes entrepreneur’.
The companies are: Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa issued the order of final forfeiture following a motion filed and argued by Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC.
At the resumed hearing today, Oyedepo informed the court that all requirements for the final forfeiture had been met, with the publication of the ‘interim order’ in the Nation Newspaper of October 25, 2019.
He therefore, prayed the court to grant the application for final forfeiture, adding that “there is no interested party or parties nor individual who had shown cause why the money should not be finally forfeited”.
Before delivering his ruling, Justice Aikawa, noted that : “I have seen the application seeking for the final forfeiture of the sum of N280.5 million warehoused in the two bank accounts which is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
“I am satisfied that the requirements enumerated under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act have been met by the applicant in this suit. Consequently, this application is hereby granted as prayed as it remains unchallenged”.
Justice Aikawa consequently ruled that the sum of N280.5 million in FCMB and Zenith Bank accounts numbers: 3341692012 and 1013714256 respectively, be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Okeke, 31, was “a strong leader of a cybercrime syndicate specializing in business email compromise”.
In an affidavit filed in support of the forfeiture application, EFCC investigator, Ariyo Muritala, disclosed that the Commission’s investigation was triggered by a request for information on Okeke and three others by the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Legal Attache, US Consulate General.
Okeke was in 2016 celebrated by Forbes International as one of Africa’s most outstanding 30 enterpreneurs under the age of 30 and described by the magazine as “proof that there is hope for Africa”.
But he was arrested in August this year by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation as the ringleader of a cybercrime syndicate, which had defrauded a number of American citizens to the tune of $11m “through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive coordinated business email compromise scheme.”