Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court at Ikoyi, Lagos State ordered the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to return back the properties of Ismaila Mustapha a.k.a Mompha.
While delivering his ruling, Justice Liman took note that the said properties which are five wristwatches, one Apple AirPod, one iPhone 8 in questions have been with the commission for over eight months when the defendant was arrested back in October 2019 and no formal charge has been brought against the defendant in relations to the said properties.
Delivering his ruling held that although the prosecution has the right to seize property during an arrest, likewise a duty to approach the court for an interim order, due processes must be observed and failure to do this is considered illegal.
The EFCC did not go through proper channels to obtain interim forfeiture order or bring forth any charge that was required by law which is clearly stated in s26 (1) and 29 (a) and (b) of the Economic and Financial Crime Act 2004.
“The EFCC must obtain an order of interim forfeiture for any property to be seized. Property seized outside this is illegal.
“Has of today no knowledge of any charge been filled in regards to the properties in question.
After making these submissions he ordered the commission to return the defendant properties back to him.
Defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) who led Kolawole Salami and Adefolaju Ademola also applied for the release of his international passport, which was not opposed to by the prosecution due to medical reasons.