Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diezani’s $40m Jewellery, Iphone To FG

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has granted a final forfeiture to
the Federal Government, the $40m worth of jewellries seized from the
premises of the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani
Allison-Madueke.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo ruled that the former
Minister had failed to show cause why the jewellries should not be
forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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In his
application for the final forfeiture order, Counsel to the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo had told the judge
that the expensive jewellries comprising wristwatches, necklaces,
bracelets, bangles, earrings, a customized gold phone and more were
reasonably suspected to have being acquired with proceeds of unlawful
activities of the former Minister.

An investigator with the
Commission, Rufai Zaki, in an affidavit put before the court insisted
that the jewellries were beyond the former Minister’s “known and
provable lawful income.”

The investigator further said that
findings by the EFCC showed that she started acquiring the jewellery in
2012, two years after she was appointed Minister.

The
investigator also said that the EFCC was in possession of the details of
the bank account through which Mrs Alison-Madueke received her salary
as a minister.

“The respondent did not utilise her salary or any
part of her legitimate income to acquire the assets sought to be
forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Zaki said.

He
said a “damning intelligence report” received by the Commission led to
the search of former minister’s house at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close,
Asokoro, Abuja.

The Former Minister on her part had challenged
the seizure of the jewellries from her premises by the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission.

In an affidavit filed on her behalf
by her counsel, Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), Diezani, who is currently in the
United Kingdom, alleged that the EFCC violated her fundamental “right to
own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections
43 and 44 of the constitution.

She also accused the anti-graft agency of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.

On
July 5, 2019, The Economic and Financial Crime Commission EFCC had
secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the expensive
jewelleries to the Federal Government.

According to the schedule
attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets,
include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive
earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174
expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive
brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”

Source:- Channelstv

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