Court seizes millions found in former Zamfara Governor Yari’s bank account on suspicion of fraud

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered the final forfeiture of former Governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari’s funds domiciled in Zenith and Polaris Banks.

While $56,056.75 was lodged in Polaris Bank account, the sums of N12.9 million, N11.2 million, $301, 319.99; N217, 388.04 and $311, 872.15 were kept in different Zenith Bank accounts in the name of Yari and his companies.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu , in a judgment, held that the former governor had not shown good cause why the order sought by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) should not be granted.

The ICPC had instituted a suit, praying the court for the former governor to show cause why the money under investigation should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
The anti-graft agency had alleged that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activity.
It accused Yari of illicitly taken the money from the state’s coffers while he was governor.

It alleged that the former governor used his two companies to launder money in the state account.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo had, on August 16, 2019, granted the order for interim forfeiture of the assets in an ex parte motion brought by the commission’s lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha.
Justice Taiwo also ordered the ICPC to publish same in national dailies for any interested party to show cause why the money should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

Yari, who claimed that he was rich before becoming the governor of the state, urged the court to dismiss the interim order earlier granted against him.

Delivering the judgment, Ojukwu queried how one of Yari’s company’s bank accounts grew from zero to $301,319 at the end of his tenure as governor.

She said Yari could not present convincing evidence that the money under investigation was his.

Ojukwu also held that Yari failed to disclose his directorship of the companies and could not state clearly how the inflows in the accounts legitimately emanated.
Justice Ojukwu then ordered that the entire sum be forfeited to the Federal Government.

“There is nothing wrong in having huge sum of monies in one’s account but what the law requires is that such proceeds should emanate from legitimate sources or businesses.

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