The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a motion at the Federal High Court in Enugu for the interim forfeiture of $2.8million seized last week .
Acting Spokesperson of the commission, Mr Tony Orilade, said the commission has also filed an affidavit of urgency for the matter to be heard on Dec. 27 by a vacation Judge in Port Harcourt.
The commission on Thursday arrested two persons at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, carrying the money in two suitcases.
The men were Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel.
According to the EFCC, the suspects, who said they work for a company called Bankers Warehouse, confessed during interrogation that they had been in the business of moving cash for “some notable banks” for over six years.
“At the time of filing this report, the alleged owner of the money, the bank had not made any physical presence in any of the commission’s offices, including the Enugu office, to establish their claim.”
Orilade further said that efforts were being made to secure warrant for the detention of the suspects pending when they would be charged to court.
He explained that the warrant was consequent upon the refusal of the bank or any of the relatives to come for the release of the suspects.
Bankers Warehouse in a statement at the weekend claimed ownership of the money and asked the EFCC to apologise and return the money.
The company which said it is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to carry out Cash/Asset movement and Currency Processing said the men arrested were not involved in any money laundering and were carrying out a legitimate movement of cash.
“We hereby state emphatically that the movement of this currency was a legitimate exercise, being carried out on behalf of a legitimate Financial Institution,” the company said..
“We emphasise that our employees are in no way criminals, carrying out any act of illegality as the EFCC has tried to portray. The young men whose character and reputation have been deliberately soiled by the EFCC operatives were conducting their legitimate duties as requested by a bank customer of our company.
“We request for the swift and immediate release of our employees and our customer’s currency, both detained without proper cause.
“We also demand an immediate retraction by the EFCC and an apology issued to our company and our employees whose images have been maligned”.
In another development, the Nigerian Navy has handed over four persons and a vessel allegedly involved in illegal oil bunkering to operatives of EFCC, Benin Zonal Office.
The suspects, Promise Onate, Emonefe Stanley, Samson Obaje and Peresey Friday were onboard the vessel, MV Enterprise, when they were rounded up by men of the Nigerian Navy, NNS Delta on Dec. 4 at Nana Creek Escravos, Delta State.
They were arrested on the suspicion that they were conveying Automotive Gas Oil, (AGO) without any valid approval.
Captain Yilme, who represented the NNS Commander at the handing over in Warri, Delta State, said, “after forensic analysis of the product by officials of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the result revealed that the product onboard were poorly refined AGO”.
While receiving the suspects and the vessel, Richard Ogberagha, an EFCC operative, said the commission would carry out further investigation and ensure that those found culpable were brought to book.