The paper discusses the paradox resulting from the powers of the EFCC of interim forfeiture of assets without the usual recourse to fundamental rights of the defendant. It posits that while at a face value the EFCC powers appear to override the rights provisions in the Constitution, the extensive circumscription of the powers act as sufficient brakes on right violation. It submits that the powers and its procedure are similar to those of Mareva and Anton Piller Order, and so should be considered as occupying the same square. It rather suggests that it is a veritable means of temporarily preventing an accused person from disposing the assets allegedly obtained from economic and financial crimes before the final disposal of the case.
The Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, guarantees to all Nigerians the right property as a fundamental right and more specifically the presumption of innocence to the accused person and right to fair hearing1. However in criminal trials involving economic and financial crimes under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004 (EFCC Act)2, Economic and Financial Crimes are defined in Section 46 of the Act to mean the non-violent criminal and illicit activity committed with the objectives of earning wealth illegally either individually or in a group of organized manner thereby violating existing legislation governing the economic activities of government and its administration and includes any form of fraud, narcotic.