Embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has forfeited the total sums of $40.2 million and N11 billion in cash and assets to the Federal Government within two months.
The monies and assets were forfeited sequel to the orders of Justices Chuka Obiozor and Abdul-Azeez Anka of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
On August 7, Justice Obiozor ordered the forfeiture of the former minister’s $37.5 million mansion in Banana Island. Also, $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70 realised as rents on the property to the government were forfeited to the Federal Government.
Similarly, on August 28, Justice Anka ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sum of N7,646,700,000 kept in some banks belonging to the former minister.
Just yesterday, Justice Anka also ordered the permanent forfeiture of 56 houses situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja valued at $21,982,224 (about N3.3 billion) allegedly linked to Mrs. Diezani.
The forfeited property includes: 21 mixed housing units of eight numbers of four bedroom penthouse apartment; six numbers of three bedroom apartments; two numbers of three bedroom apartment and one number of four bedroom apartment, all en-suite and located at 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street, Yaba, Lagos valued at N937 million and bought through Chapel Properties Ltd.
Others are: 16 numbers of four bedroom terrace, located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, River State, valued at N928 million and bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd; 13 numbers of 3 bedroom with one room maid’s quarter, situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million and bought through Azinga Meadows Ltd and six flats of three bedroom and one boys quarter, located at Plot 808 (135) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million and bought through Vistapoint property Development Ltd.
The first order by Justice Chuka Obiozor, which came on August 7, centred on the former minister’s $37.5 million mansion in Banana Island.
Justice Obiozor had earlier, on July 19, upon the granting of an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), directed the temporary forfeiture of the property designated as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate to the Federal Government.
The property, containing 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses was said to have been paid for in cash by Diezani in 2013.
On August 28, Justice Anka also ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sum of N7.6 billion allegedly linked to the former minister.
In an affidavit in support of the application for the permanent forfeiture of the money deposed to by an EFCC operative, Usman Zakari, it was averred that consequent upon an investigation carried out on an intelligent report received by the commission, it discovered that the sum of N7,646,700,000 kept in the accounts of some banks were actually proceeds of unlawful activities held and laundered through the minister’s associates.
Yesterday’s order was sequel to the granting of a motion by the EFCC seeking the permanent forfeiture of the property.
The motion was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, Section 44 (2) (B) of the Constitution and the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The anti-graft agency, while urging the court to grant the motion, argued that the property sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Having listened to the submissions of EFCC lawyer, Anselem Ozioko, Justice Anka granted the motion as prayed.
In granting the motion, the judge noted that there was no response to the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents despite being served with the hearing notice.
“I have gone through the affidavit attached to motion for final forfeiture as well as the submissions of the EFCC’s counsel, A. B. C. Ozioko. The court has no option considering the incontrovertible evidence filed by the EFCC than to grant the application. The motion for final forfeiture is, accordingly, granted as prayed. All parties have a right of appeal,” Justice Anka held.
The judge had, on August 22, while granting an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC, ordered the interim forfeiture of the houses to the Federal Government.