LAGOS – Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court has ordered the forfeiture of $40m worth of jewellery and a customized iPhone belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The presiding judge ordered that the jewellery numbering 2,149 and mobile phone, be forfeited to the Federal Government.
According to the lawyer representing the, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, the anti-graft agency found and recovered the jewellery and the customized gold iPhone “on the premises of the respondent,” adding that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
The application by the EFCC, titled action in rem, had Diezani as the only defendant and it was filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act No. 14, 2006.
More so, from the schedule attached to the application, the jewelleries were categorized 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.”
The EFCC said, “The respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Following submission by the EFCC, Justice Oweibo ordered that the 2,149 pieces of jewellery and the customized gold iPhone should be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
Furthermore, the judge ordered the commission to publish the forfeiture order in a national newspaper “for the respondent or anyone who is interested in the property sought to be forfeited to appear before this honourable court to show cause within 14 days why a final forfeiture order of the said properties should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The judge adjourned until August 23, 2019, for further proceedings.
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