A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the final forfeiture of N278, 989, 960 million, traced to the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Abubarkar Yari, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to the Nigerian government.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who gave the ruling, ordered that monies found in three separate bank accounts allegedly linked to the former governor should be forfeited to the Nigerian government.
ICPC, in a motion ex parte filed in 2019 at the Federal High Court, had alleged that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities stashed away in Zenith and Polaris banks respectively by Yari and his associates.
The court while granting the motion ex parte, ruled that the former governor did not convincingly prove how he made the money found in his private account with Zenith Bank and two companies linked to him.
The court further held that while it was not wrong for individuals to have huge sums of money in their bank accounts, such a person in whose custody the money was found is required to prove that it was legitimately earned.
The forfeiture order includes N12.9 million in a Zenith Bank account of the ex-governor and N11.2 million in the Zenith Bank account of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited, a company allegedly owned by him.
Yari will also forfeit $358, 375, amounting to N135.4 million when converted to local currency, to the Nigerian government. This is made up of $56, 056 in the Polaris Bank account of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited and $301, 319 in the Zenith Bank account of B.T. Oil and Gas, another company linked to the former governor.