A Federal High Court in Lagos, Friday, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of $153,310,000, which was alleged the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The court made the order in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which appeared before it with an ex parte application seeking the temporary forfeiture of the funds.
The money was said to have been hidden in three banks in the country.
The banks the ex-minister allegedly hid the money include, Sterling Bank Plc ($153.3m, N23,446,300,000), First Bank Plc (N9,080,000,000) and Access Bank Plc ($5m)
The trial Judge, Justice Muslim Hassan was said to have given the order of the temporary forfeiture of the monies to the Federal Government on Friday based on facts the EFCC presented before him.
Justice Hassan gave Sterling Bank and any other interested party 14 days to appear before him to prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In a nine-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the ex-parte application, an EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, claimed that the anti-graft agency discovered through its investigations how sometime in December 2014 Diezani invited a former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, to her office where they hatched the plan of how a cash sum of $153,310,000 would be moved from NNPC to Okonkwo to be saved for Diezani.
According to Awolusi, Diezani instructed Okonkwo to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms” of Fidelity Bank.