The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered billions of naira worth of assets from two brothers, Olisaebuka Eze and Onyeka Nnadozie Eze, following a court order.

The assets, including 20 properties, 10 vehicles, and three luxury wristwatches, were forfeited to the federal government, according to an EFCC statement on Monday.

The brothers were accused of stealing billions of naira and millions of dollars from a petitioner, Arthur Eze, through fraudulent means.

The EFCC‘s investigation revealed that the brothers used the stolen funds to acquire the properties and assets, which have now been recovered.

In a final forfeiture ruling by a three-man panel of justices, the Appeal Court in Abuja dismissed the appeal filed by the brothers and affirmed the final forfeiture of the properties, vehicles, and other items to Arthur Eze, the nominal petitioner, as presented by the Commission’s counsel, Ibrahim Buba.

The properties, all located in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were held by the court to have been acquired with proceeds of crimes committed against Arthur Eze.

The properties and items, which Justice Modupe Osho-Adebiyi of the FCT High Court, sitting in Gudu, Abuja, had in April 2022 ordered their final forfeiture to the petitioner, include:

– A seven-bedroom duplex at Plot 1772 Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi District, FCT, Abuja, located at No: 5 Ifeanyi Araraume Street, Mabushi, Abuja;

– Plot No. 621, Cadastral Zone B07 within Katampe District with file No. JG 10188;

– Nine units of two-bedroom flats located at Plot 375 off Ameyo Adadovah Way, Kado District, Abuja;

– A three-bedroom terrace duplex located at Brookhouse Residence, Karsana District, FCT, Abuja;

– Plot No. AHE540 in Lugbe AMAC Housing Estate measuring 1,500sqm;

– Plot No. 285, measuring 1,589.28sqm in Cadastral Zone E23, Kyami District, Abuja;

– Plot No. R9530AA, measuring 1,000sqm, located at Traders Layout 3, Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja (listed twice).

Other properties include:

– Plot No. XK1057, measuring 800sqm, located in Apo Layout, AMAC, FCT, Abuja;

– A plot of land with RofO with file No. AN 69550 dated 28/10/2012 at Kyami District, Abuja;

– Plot No. 0844 in NAF Valley Estate, Asokoro, Abuja, measuring about 1316.79sqm;

– Plot No. 188, Cadastral Zone E12 of Orozo, measuring 875sqm.

The items include:

– A red Oulm wristwatch, stainless steel back Japan Move 3377;

– A golden-colored Just Bling wristwatch JB-6116;

– A golden Piaget wristwatch with serial no. 8066-639333.

The vehicles are:

– A Toyota Camry 2014/2016 model;

– A Toyota Camry 2014 model;

– A Toyota Highlander;

– A Honda Accord 2013 model;

– A Mercedes Benz GLE 2015 model;

– A Toyota Tundra with chassis No. STFRYF17EX171601 and a car spare key;

– A Toyota Avalon with registration No. RSH111;

– A Honda Civic with registration No. YAB58EN;

– A Mercedes Benz C 400 with registration No. KWL43A5;

– A Kia SUV.

Dissatisfied with the High Court order, the brothers approached the appellate court in separate appeals, praying that the order be set aside.

However, in the Appeal Court judgment read by Justice H.A. Barka, the appellate court held that the duo did not satisfactorily prove that they legitimately acquired the properties and all the items involved.

According to Justice Barka, the appellants did not place any material before the court to enable it to disturb the findings of the lower court.

The court further held that the appeal lacked merit and dismissed it accordingly.

The road to the final forfeiture began in 2020 when the EFCC received a petition from Arthur Eze, alleging theft, criminal misappropriation, and money laundering against the first respondent, Olisaebuka Eze, who was the administrative officer of his company, Oranto Petroleum Ltd.

According to Arthur Eze, Olisaebuka Eze, in connivance with his brother Nnadozie Eze, stole money that ran into billions of naira and millions of dollars, which they used to acquire properties in Abuja and Enugu.

Upon conclusion of investigations, the Commission arrested Olisaebuka Eze and his brother, Nnadozie Eze, and froze their bank accounts following court orders.

In an attempt to challenge the actions taken against them, the respondents filed a suit at the FCT High Court, Apo, before Justice S.B. Belgore, seeking the enforcement of their fundamental rights.

At the end of the hearing, Justice Belgore held that the Commission had violated the fundamental rights of the respondents and awarded N10 million in damages in their favor. The Commission, through its counsel, Buba, challenged the ruling in the Court of Appeal, which overturned the decision of the lower court and held that the detention of the respondents by the Commission and the freezing of their accounts were for the purpose of investigation and were properly backed by court orders.

The appellate court further awarded N500,000 against the respondents in favor of the EFCC.