Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Private Varsity Built By Ex-Civil Servant’s Stolen Funds


The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the final forfeiture of NOK University and all of its assets said to be linked to a former Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Health, Anthony Hassan.

The Court had in a 2022 ruling on an ex parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/688/2022, and filed by Ekele Iheanacho, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ordered that the institution be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.

The commission had alleged that Hassan diverted public funds with which he acquired the identified assets.

The EFCC also alleged that the former Director diverted the funds running into billions of naira through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).

Meanwhile in a Saturday statement, the EFCC said it filed an order of final forfeiture of the said properties.

The statement said Iheanacho established before the court the fact that Hassan built NOK University using proceeds of unlawful activities traced to him.

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Physical assets of the university forfeited include the senate building, ICT building, faculty of medicine building, science deanery building, two academic buildings, a faculty hall and other buildings.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Joyce Abdulmalik also ordered the interim forfeiture of Gwasmyen water factory, Gwasmyen event centre and Gwasmyen international hotel, all said to be linked to Hassan.

“The Commission, had, through its investigative Officer, Adaora Asabe Oragudosi investigated some verified intelligence bordering on criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering against some staff of the Federal Ministry of Health where the properties ordered forfeited were traced to the defendant,” the statement read.

Delivering judgment on the matter at the weekend, the court held that the respondent failed woefully in tilting the scale of evidence in his favour.

“The apex court has held that any person who lives above his means owes the society some explanations. The burden lies on the accused to justify properties acquired which are disproportionate to his known legitimate earnings. It is in law that forfeitures are hinged on preponderance of evidence.

“Again, I hold that the respondent has failed woefully in tilting the scale of evidence in his favour. It is a principle of law that oral evidence cannot contradict or supersede documentary evidence because documentary evidence speaks for itself,” Abdulmalik ruled.

GIFMIS, an IT-based system for accounting and budget management, was designed by the federal government to actualise integrated and automated information systems and promote modernised fiscal processes.