Court orders interim forfeiture of private varsity, others linked to ex-director

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the interim forfeiture of NOK University, allegedly acquired unlawfully by Anthony Hassan, a former Director of Finance and Accounts, Federal Ministry of Health.
Justice Zainab Abubakar, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/688/2022 moved by counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ekele Iheanacho, ordered that the institution, including every structure in it be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
Some of the identified structures in the university,
include the Senate Building, the ICT Building, Faculty of Medicine Building, Deanery Building, two academic buildings, faculty hall and all other buildings owned by Hassan in Kachia, Kaduna State.
Justice Abubakar also ordered the interim forfeiture of Gwasmyen Water Factory; Gwasmyen Event Centre and Gwasmyen International Hotel linked to Hassan.
The judge ordered the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper within 14 days for interested parties to show cause why the affected property should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
She adjourned the matter until Oct. 5 for any interested party to show cause.
In an affidavit deposed to by the EFCC Investigating Officer, Adaora Oragudosi, the commission’s alleged that Hassan diverted public funds with which he purportedly acquired the identified assets.
The officer said that the former director diverted the funds running into billions of naira through the “Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).”
She said “Anthony Hassan, who was a civil servant, rose through the ranks to become a director in the civil service of the federation.”
According to Oragudosi, in the course of his career, he was posted to the Federal Ministry of Health from 2001 to 2008; the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs from 2009 to 2015 and the Ministry of Niger Delta in 2015.
Others are the Ministry of Youth and Sport Development from 2015 to 2016; the Ministry of Health from 2016 to 2019, and the Ministry of Works and Housing from 2019 to 2020.
“The respondent (Hassan) was the director of the Finance & Accounts Department (DFA) in the Ministry of Health between 2016 and 2019 and was in charge of running the day to day activities of the Finance & Accounts Department of the Ministry.
“The respondent is the owner of the NOK University Ltd, Kachia, Kuduna State.
“The university was incorporated on Oct. 6, 2021 with his wife and children of the respondent as the directors and guarantors of the university but without the respondent’s name.
“This is revealed from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) response to the inquiry by the EFCC.
“The respondent promoted the formation of the university through Sherah Education Resources Ltd, a company incorporated by him,” she deposed.
The officer further alleged that Hassan maintained some bank accounts in the names of companies like Kyus Enterprises Ltd, Kyus Hotels Ltd and Kyus Oil & Gas Ltd, into which public funds were equally diverted.
“These funds for the establishment and building of the facilities/building of the NOK University, Gwasmyen International Hotel Ltd, and Gwasmyen Bottle Water and Juice Company Ltd are not from the known and lawful earning of the respondent, but from monies he diverted from the Ministry of Health through the platform of Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).
“GIFMIS was designed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a way of actualising an integrated and automated information systems and to promote modernised fiscal processes.
“It is an IT based system that was designed for accounting and budget management implemented by the government.
“Being the director of Finance and Accounts, the respondent was the final approving authority for all payments made on the GIFMIS and Remita Platforms of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“The respondent, as the DFA in the Federal Ministry of Health, appointed Projects Accountants to handle specific projects and this entails payments being made into their personal accounts from the GIFMIS platform for disbursement to the beneficiaries towards the execution of the projects.
“While acting as the DFA in the Federal Ministry of Health, the respondent diverted public funds using some of the staff of the Finance and Account Department, who include Data Nanbam, Musa A. Musa, Yar’dua Maikudi, Abubakar Sadiq Bulama, Alhassan Yahaya and Yusuf Barde Ajiji.
“Between 2016 and 2019, the above staff of the Ministry of Health referred to in paragraph 4 (xxviii), who received funds into their bank accounts as Project Accountants for the execution of various projects through the GIFMIS platform, handed over the sum of N1,309,508,877 to the respondent for the latter’s personal use.
“The respondent received these diverted public funds either in cash or through bank transfers or indirectly through third parties.
“Whilst being a civil servant, the respondent also incorporated and personally operated other companies named Kyus Enterprises Ltd, Kyus Hotels Ltd and Kyus Oil & Gas Ltd,” Oragudosi further deposed.

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