A former Executive Director of Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Tuoyo Omatsuli, has denied owing the N1.8bn properties which the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, ordered to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Omatsuli, who was reacting to a judgement of a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, which on Wednesday, affirmed the final forfeiture of properties, stressed that it’s malicious to be linked to the said properties which its owners were already challenging in court.
In a statement on Friday, the former NDDC director of projects, who claimed he had no investment in the real estate sector, added that reports linking him with the seized properties were fabricated and untrue.
He maintained that he had earlier filled and sworn to an affidavit that he was not the owner of the forfeited properties situated in Lagos.
Omatsuli expressed surprise why he was being linked to the properties when Westfield Energy Resources Ltd and Francis Momoh
were already in court separately claiming ownership of the controversial properties in court with EFCC.
Recall that Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, had, on Monday, December 10, 2018, in a case brought before it by EFCC, ordered the final forfeiture of the properties alleged to be owned by Francis Momoh.
Momoh, who was not satisfied with the order of the lower court, approached the appellate court seeking to set aside the order of the court while contending that the said properties rightfully belonged to him.
But in a judgment read by Justice Daniel Kalio, the appellate court held that Momoh did not place any material before the court “to enable it to disturb the findings of the lower court” that the said properties were his.
The properties ordered to be forfeited include Block 117, Plot 4, Lekki Peninsula Scheme, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Eti-Osa L.G.A, Lagos, measuring 1804.089Sqm and Plots 1-18, Block 43, TPAO 992, Ikate Ancient City, Lekki Peninsula, Eti-Osa, Lagos, measuring 10,000Sqm.
Others are Plot 1b, Northern Business District, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, measuring 1000Sqm and Plot 1; Block 25, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme 1, Eti-Osa L.G.A, measuring 2989.10Sqm, to the Federal Government.
Omatsuli, according to the statement, noted that he was surprised to read on various news platforms reports linking him with the owner of the properties.
He also denied receiving kickbacks from contractors while serving as director of projects of the Niger Delta interventionist agency – NDDC.
While urging the public to disregard the said reports, Omatsuli stated that he has directed his lawyers to thoroughly study the reports wrongfully linking him with the said properties as owner.
“For the umpteenth time, let me unequivocally state that I am not the owner of the various properties which the Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered their final forfeiture to the Federal Government. I have no interest in the real estate industry. Linking me with the properties is malicious.
“Prior to the judgement of the Federal High Court in Lagos, I had before the same court filed and sworn to an affidavit that the said properties do not belong to me. It will do the general public good to know that Westfield Energy Resources Ltd and Francis Momoh are in court laying claim to the said properties. I’m not a party to the suit.
“My record as NDDC’s director of project is there for anyone to judge. I performed my job with utmost honesty and sincerity. There was no time during my stay I engaged in fraudulent activities against the oath of office sworn to.
“While I have directed my lawyers to carefully study the situation, I urge the general public to discountenance reports that the properties are owned by me. For the sake of emphasis, I have no link with the properties which the court has ordered to be forfeited to the Federal Government”, the statement read.