The court has ordered the temporary forfeiture of a property, allegedly belonging to former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, at Banana Island, Lagos.
A Federal High Court in Lagos gave the order on Wednesday concerning the property, reportedly bought for $37.5m in 2013 by the former Minister.
After listening to Anselem Ozioko, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s lawyer, Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order of temporarily seizing the property.
He directed that the order should be published in a national newspaper.
The property, designated as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses.
Apart from the property, the court also ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, said to be part of the rent collected on the property.
The funds were said to have been found in a Zenith Bank account number 1013612486.
Justice Obiozor ordered the temporary forfeiture, following an ex parte application to that effect brought before him by Ozioko.
The EFCC counsel had told the Judge that the anti-graft agency “reasonably suspected that the property was acquired with proceeds of alleged unlawful activities of Diezani.”
The lawyer said investigations by the EFCC revealed that Diezani made the $37.5m payment for the purchase of the property in cash, adding that the money was moved straight from her house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.
“Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment. Why was she doing that? To avoid attention.
“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubts because, as of the time this happened, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” Ozioko told the court.
The ex parte application was filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No. 14, 2006 and Section 44(2)(k) of the Constitution.
Listed as respondents in the application were Diezani; a legal practitioner, Afamefuna Nwokedi; and a company, Rusimpex Limited.
The court adjourned the case till August 7, 2017 for anyone interested in the property and funds to appear before him.