The money ought to have been given back to a man, Mr. Emeka Okeke, after he was discharged and acquitted in a case of arson.
At the hearing on Friday, Okeke‘s lawyer told the court that the police had yet to return the money despite the court’s previous directives.
Consequently, Chief Magistrate Christiana Adesola-Ikpatt ordered that the Inspector-General of Police, state Commissioner of Police and state Attorney-General be notified of the continued non-compliance.
“The Lagos State Commissioner of Police is required within 30 days to release the said N700,000 to Okeke or face sanction from this court,” Adesola-Ikpatt said.
The case was adjourned till August 27 for report of compliance.
Okeke was charged with arson in 2008 after his landlord, Adejare Apampa, reported him at Ikotun Police Station, Lagos, for allegedly burning down his house at 1, Olatoke Owoo Close, Ikotun.
Okeke’s apartment was also said to have been razed in the fire resulting in the loss of his property.
When the police searched the house, they discovered that Okeke had in his apartment, a safe containing N700, 000, which was not burnt in the fire.
The money was withheld as an exhibit in the case but a legal advice from the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice cleared Okeke of the crime.
Based on the advice, the case against Okeke was struck out and he was discharged. But the police held on to his money.