A former Director of Navy Accounts, Rear Admiral Tahir Yusuf, has permanently forfeited about N500 million to the Federal Government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Rear Admiral Yusuf, who was second-in-command to the Chief of Account and Budget, Naval Headquarters (NHQ), held the cash in seven accounts with two banks.
Five of the accounts, the EFCC said in court documents, were kept in the name of a company, Bitmas Enterprises, while the other two accounts were held in Yusuf’s name in another bank.
The total amount Yusuf forfeited as a result of an order of permanent forfeiture issued on February 20, 2020, by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, is N392, 695,857.87; $91,955.38; £15,050.
The court had, on October 26, 2018, in a ruling on an application by the EFCC, granted an order for interim forfeiture of the money and ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the order in a national daily for any interested party to claim the money.
A counter-affidavit, claiming ownership
Yusuf filed a counter-affidavit, claiming ownership of the money and arguing that the funds were from legitimate sources.
the EFCC faulted Yusuf’s claim and disclosed that the ex-Naval chief was investigated with two others – Rear Admiral Babajide Oguntola and Commander Bello Mohammed – “all of the Nigerian Navy in an alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering”.
Court documents also revealed that Yusuf had made a proposal for a plea bargain to the EFCC, in which he allegedly volunteered to forfeit N200 million, which the EFCC rejected.
Justice Ojukwu made the order of permanent forfeiture while ruling on an application to that effect filed by the EFCC.
The court disregarded claim by Yusuf, who was saddled with verifying and authenticating of documents before payments and keep custody of Nigeria Navy balance, that he made the money through legitimate means.