Lagos court orders Invictus Obi’s N280m forfeited

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the forfeiture of N280,555,010.65 “warehoused” in the bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told the court that the two firms were owned by Obinwanne Okeke, “a strong leader of a cyber crime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.”

Okeke, popularly known as Invictus, is currently standing trial in the United States of America over an alleged $11m cyber fraud.

The 31-year-old Nigerian was, in 2016, celebrated by Forbes as one of Africa’s “most outstanding 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.”

He was described by the magazine as “proof that there is hope for Africa.”

Obi was, however, arrested last August by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, implicated as the ringleader of a cyber crime syndicate that had defrauded a number of American citizens to the tune of $11m “through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive, coordinated, business e-mail compromise scheme.”

Following an ex parte application by the EFCC on Monday, Justice Rilwan Aikawa made an order for the temporary forfeiture of the sums of N240,250,904.46 and N40,304,106.19, which the anti-graft agency said it found warehoused in the Nigerian bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited, respectively.

EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the funds were “reasonably suspected” to be proceeds of cyber crime and urged the judge to order its forfeiture to the Federal Government to prevent Okeke from dissipating same.