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Court orders final forfeiture of private varsity owned by civil servant

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the permanent forfeiture of NOK University and its assets, allegedly connected to Anthony Hassan, a former director of finance and accounts at the Federal Ministry of Health.

In a 2022 ruling on an ex parte motion (FHC/ABJ/CS/688/2022) lodged by Ekele Iheanacho, counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the court had initially ordered the temporary forfeiture of the institution to the federal government.

The anti-graft agency accused Mr Hassan of embezzling public funds to acquire these assets.

According to the EFCC, Hassan misappropriated funds amounting to billions of naira through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), an IT-based system designed by the federal government for accounting and budget management.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the EFCC announced it had sought an order for the final forfeiture of the properties.

Iheanacho presented evidence in court proving that Hassan had constructed NOK University using proceeds from illicit activities.

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

Also, the court ordered the interim forfeiture of Gwasmyen Water Factory, Gwasmyen Event Centre, and Gwasmyen International Hotel, also linked to Hassan.

The EFCC’s investigative officer, Adaora Asabe Oragudosi, probed intelligence on criminal conspiracy, theft, abuse of office, and money laundering against certain Federal Ministry of Health staff, leading to the identification of the properties tied to Hassan.

In the ruling delivered on Friday, the court concluded that Hassan failed to provide sufficient evidence to counter the forfeiture order.

 

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