Obinwanne Okeke/Guardian Nigeria

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture the sum of N280.6million traced to Obinwanne George Okeke, popularly known as Invictus Obi, to the Federal Government.

In an ex-parte application put before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos on Monday, the EFCC says it traced the money belonging to Obi and held in the bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.

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The ex-parte application urged the court to order the forfeiture of the sums on the ground that it was necessary to prevent the companies from tampering or dissipating the money which is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

In documents put before the court, the EFCC also says that if the accounts are not frozen, monies suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities currently warehoused therein would be dissipated by the fraudulent entities who are not in custody and efforts of the ongoing investigation would be brought to naught.

Justice Aikawa, therefore, ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and asked the Commission to publish in any National Newspaper, the interim order for the named parties or anyone who is interested in the monies sought to be forfeited to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The court fixed October 30 for further proceedings.

In 2016, 31-year-old Obi was celebrated by Forbes as one of Africa’s “most outstanding 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.”

He was later arrested in 2018 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and he is currently standing trial in the USA for allegedly defrauding some US citizens to the tune of $11million “through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive, coordinated, business e-mail compromise scheme.”