Justice Inyang Ekwo of The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, October 14, restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission -EFCC, from confiscating six properties of the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, in Abuja.
The order had been given while the judge was ruling on an application for forfeiture of the properties filed by EFCC.
The crimes commission had sued the owner of the properties in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/709/22.
Matawalle’s assets are Plot 729, Idu Industrial Layout; Plot 1327, Cadastral Zone AO5, Maitama District; Plot 2934, Cadastral Zone, AO6, Maitama District and Plot 730, Cadastral Zone AO6, Maitama District.
Others are Plot 28048, Cadastral Zone, Maitama District, and Plot 515, Cadastral Zone, BOO, Kukwaba District.
EFCC in its application reported that its operatives received an intelligence tip-off that the governor had been using the state’s fund to purchase multi-billion-naira property in choice areas of Abuja.
The commission accused Matawalle of transferring N2.1 billion from the state’s Ministry of Finance to the Directorate of Investment and Business under his office and had also used some companies and Bureau De Change -BDC to launder the money.
In Friday’s proceeding, Justice Ekwo had held that the anti-graft agency lacked the power to initiate any criminal proceedings against Matawalle while he was still in office.
The judge equally said that the criminal proceeding activated against the governor by EFCC was an abuse of the court’s due process.