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Forfeiture: Diezani Renews Bid To Reclaim Properties Forfeited

The former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke has initiated a process at the Federal High Court Abuja to have the forfeiture orders of the Federal Government on Properties Allegedly linked to her vacated.

The Federal Government had last year secured orders for final forfeiture of properties in Nigeria and abroad allegedly linked to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources.

In a fresh motion filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja by her lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, Alison-Madueke wants among others, an order extending the time within which to seek leave to apply to the court for an order, setting aside the public notice issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct the public sale on her property.

She said the motion is intended against the notice recently issued by the EFCC for disposal of forfeited assets, some of which included those belonging to her.

In a supporting affidavit also, the former minister noted that the EFCC planned to conduct a public sale of all forfeited, beginning from January 9 as contained in its public notice following various court judgments/orders issued in favour of the commission as final forfeiture orders against property and personal effects linked to her.

Seeking five reliefs, Alison-Madueke argued among others that she was not heard before the orders for forfeiture were issued, thereby denying her the rights

She added that the forfeiture orders made in respect of assets linked with her were issued by the various courts without jurisdiction.

Alison-Madueke added, “The various court orders issued in favour of the EFCC and upon which they issued the public notice to conduct public sale of items contained in the public notice, most of which affect her interest, were issued in breach of the right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as altered, and other similar constitutional provisions.”

She further stated that she was neither served with the charge sheet and proof of evidence in any of the charges nor any other summons howsoever and whatsoever in respect of the criminal charges pending against her before the court.

The ex-minister added further that the courts were misled into making several of the final forfeiture orders against her assets through suppression or non-disclosure of material facts.

In its counter affidavit, the EFCC faulted Alison-Madueke’s arguments, noting that, not only was she represented in some of the proceedings, publications were made in the media to alert interested parties about pending forfeiture applications.

An EFCC official, Rufai Zaki, who claimed to be part of the team that investigated a case of criminal conspiracy, official corruption and money laundering against Mrs. Allison-Madueke and some others involved in the case, said investigation showed that she was involved in some acts of criminality.

He added that the forfeiture orders made in respect of assets linked with her were issued by the various courts without jurisdiction.

Zaki stated that, following the findings of his team, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was charged before the Federal High court in a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.

He said the courts differently ordered the commission to do newspaper publications, inviting interested parties to show cause why the said property should not be forfeited to the Federal Government before final orders were made.

Zaki recalled that one Nnamdi Awa Kalu represented the ex-minister in the hearing of one of such forfeiture applications.

He added that not only was the order for the forfeiture of the effected properties made since 2017, and was not set aside on appeal, the assets in question have since been disposed of through due process of law.

Kayode Oyero

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