Court Orders Forfeiture Of Properties Linked To Diezani’s Associate, Kola Aluko

 

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has ordered the interim forfeiture of three properties linked to Mr Kola Aluko, a close associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

Two of the properties are located in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory while one is located in Lagos.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says the properties are situated at Plot 3389 & 3390, Margaret Thatcher Close, off Queen Elizabeth Street, off Yakubu Gowon Street, Asokoro Cadastral Zone, Abuja and purchased with the sum of 18 million dollars and N350m while the third property known as Avenue Towers and located on Plot 1391, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos is said to have been purchased with 55 million dollars.

Justice Mohammed Liman granted the interim order of forfeiture following an exparte application filed and argued before him by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo.

The judge also directed the EFCC to publish the order in any National Newspaper to enable any interested person to show cause why the properties should not be forfeited permanently to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Thereafter, the judge fixed November 12 for further proceedings.

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diezani’s Jewellery Worth $40m

EFCC Seeks Diezani’s Extradition, Court Adjourns Arraignment Till May
(File) Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

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.

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.

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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.”

Court Fixes Date To Hear Final Forfeiture Of Diezani’s $40m Jewellery

Court To Hear Diezani's Application To Be Joined As Defendant
File photo: Diezani Alison-Madueke

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed September 2 for further hearing in the application seeking the final forfeiture of $40million worth of jewellery from the premises of the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The application was brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted the adjournment on Thursday, at the instance of all the parties in the case.

Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo told the judge that he had just been served a counter affidavit by the defense and would need time to respond.

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“An adjournment will ensure that all responses to the application can be entertained at the same time by the court and necessary ruling delivered,” Oyedepo said.

Mrs Allison-Madueke’s counsel also agreed to the request for an adjournment. He told the court that he was from the Law Firm of Professor Awa Kalu (SAN) and that the firm would appreciate an adjournment as their resources are currently overstretched.

Justice Oweibo subsequently adjourned the case to September 2.

At the last sitting of the court on August 19, Alison-Madueke had challenged the seizure of $40million worth of jewelleries from her premises by the EFCC.

In an affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel, Professor Kalu, 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, EFCC  had secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the expensive jewelleries to the Federal Government.

EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, in an exparte application, made before Justice Nicholas Oweibo told the court 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.

According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewelleries, 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.

Oyedepo 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.”

After granting the interim forfeiture order on July 5, the court adjourned till August 19 for Diezani or anyone interested in the jewellery and gold iPhone to appear before it to give reasons why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

But in an application filed on her behalf by Kalu (SAN), Diezani contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to have granted the interim forfeiture order in the first place as she had not been charged with any crime or served with any summons by the EFCC.

She stressed that the entry into her apartment by EFCC operatives was illegal as it was without a court order.

The lawyer added that the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial to Diezani because she was denied fair hearing.

The application, could however not be argued today, August 29 as Professor Kalu was unable to come to court.

A lawyer from his chambers, Chukwuka Obidike, told the court that the SAN was engaged in election petitions, and asked the court to grant an adjournment.

 

Alleged Diezani Bribe: First Witness Testifies Against INEC Officials

A banker has testified at the Federal High Court Lagos in the suit against two officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on charges of receiving bribe from the former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The prosecution witness, Timothy Olaobaju told Justice Mohammed Idris that the INEC officials – Christian Nwosu and Yisa Adedoyin – allegedly received the sum of N264m in cash.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had alleged that the money was deployed by the former minister for the purpose of rigging the 2015 general elections.

While Yisa Adedoyin pleaded guilty to the charges and has been convicted on a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC, Nwosu and a third defendant, one Tijani Inda Bashir pleaded not guilty and elected to stand trial.

Responding to questions from the EFCC’s counsel at the resumption of the trial on Wednesday, Olaobaju, who was his bank’s head of operations in Ilorin, said he paid Nwosu and Adedoyin the cash based on Mrs Alison-Madueke’s instructions.

“I was the head of operations for Ilorin Branch where I had cause to meet Nwosu and Adedoyin. Sometime in 2015, there was a meeting between our managing director and the former petroleum minister during which she explained that some companies and individuals would come to the bank to pay some money into some accounts. The companies were Northern Belt Limited, Actus Integrated Limited, Midwestern Company and one Mr Leno Laitan. In addition, she said certain individuals would bring some cash to be kept for her. A total sum of $89m was paid into the accounts; a cash sum of $25m was brought, totaling $114m. The money was kept in the bank pending her instruction as agreed. On March 26, 2014, we got an instruction that the money should be converted to naira. After it was converted, it was about N23bn. There was a list of beneficiaries that was sent, to be paid across the 36 states of the federation, including Kwara. I handled the transactions in my branch,” he said.

The witness told the court that the defendants came to his office to collect the cash payment, stressing that he only acted on instruction.

“There was an instruction that Nwosu and Adedoyin be paid N264, 880,000. The instruction came from the head office based on an instruction from Mrs Alison-Madueke and they were paid. They signed a receipt of payment for the money they collected,” he added.

Olaobaju said after the defendants were paid, they left with the cash and did not pay it into any account.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsels, Obinna Okereke and Nelson Imoh, the witness said he did not know the purpose of the payment.

“The only instruction we had was that they should bring means of identification and should be paid, they even waited for the money to be released to them. We did not know the purpose of the payment,” he stated.

Alleged Diezani Bribe: INEC Director Pleads Guilty To Receipt

Alleged Diezani Bribe: INEC Director,Christian Nwosu Pleads Guilty To ReceiptA Director of Administration at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Christian Nwosu, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving 30 million Naira for the purpose of manipulating the outcome of the 2015 general elections.

He allegedly received the sum out of a total of 264.88 million Naira purportedly used by the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to bribe some officers of the electoral body ahead of the conduct of the elections.

The EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the money is a small fraction of a larger sum of $115 million, which the former Petroleum Minister allegedly diverted.

The INEC Director has given useful information to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He also surrendered the title document of a landed property he acquired with the funds for 25 million Naira in Delta State, with another five million Naira already recovered from his account.

After reviewing the facts, Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, subsequently found him guilty of the offence and convicted him.

The judge, however, deferred his sentence till Friday, April 7.

EFCC Urges Final Forfeiture Of Funds Allegedly Diverted By Allison-Madueke

Diezani Allison-Madueke, EFCC, Court, Diverted Funds, Dauda LawalThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told a Federal High Court in Lagos State that an Executive Director of First Bank Plc, Mr Dauda Lawal, allegedly laundered funds on behalf of former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The counsel representing the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, made the revelation on Tuesday while responding to a counter affidavit by the bank official.

Mr Lawal is seeking to discharge an interim forfeiture order of the sum of 9.08 billion naira.

About three weeks ago, Justice Muslim Hassan issued an interim order of forfeiture of the sum of $153 million to the Federal Government, following an ‘exparte application’ filed by the EFCC.

The EFCC linked the funds to Mrs Allison-Madueke.

The court had also issued 14 days to any interested party to appear and prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the government.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Mr Charles Adeogun-Phillips announced appearance for Mr Lawal who is joined as respondent in the suit.

In his arguments before the court, Mr Adeogun-Phillips challenged the forfeiture order and urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of the sum of 9.08 billion naira to his client, on the grounds that same was obtained by coercion.

He argued that his client admitted having received the sum of $25 million in clear dispensation of his duties, but was purportedly coerced by the commission to further admit receiving a total of $65 million.

The 9.08 billion naira represents the naira equivalent of the difference of $40 million which Mr Lawal said he was also made to give up after being coerced.

EFCC Counsel, Mr Oyedepo, however, challenged the claims and insisted that the First Bank boss allegedly conspired with some other persons to launder funds on behalf of Mrs Allison-Madueke.

He urged the court to order a final forfeiture of the $153 million and the 9.08 billion naira already surrendered by the respondent, to the government.

After listening to all the lawyers, Justice Hassan fixed the February 16 for judgment.

Omokore Visits EFCC

OmokoreThe Chairman of Atlantic Energy, Mr Olajide Omokore, has been explaining his encounter with the EFCC.

He told Channels Television that he visited the EFCC office in Abuja on his own volition and that he was not arrested or picked up by the commission’s agents.

He explained that during his long conversation, he was not told of any charges related to corruption or money laundering.

Reuters News Agency had reported that Mr Omokore was arrested for charges related to corruption and money laundering.

UK Court Seizes Diezani’s Money

DiezaniBritain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has obtained permission from the Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Marylebone Road, London to temporarily seize 27,000 pounds that is about $41,000 from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

An Administrative Officer at Westminster Magistrates’ Court said that the NCA had applied to the court for an order to seize various sums of money in relation to Alison-Madueke and two other women for up to six months.

No details were given on the link between the three women.

Earlier reports on Monday suggested that the former minister had appeared in court, but this turned out to be incorrect.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke also failed to appear at the Charing Cross Police Station where she was expected to report on Monday according to reports from Friday night when she was granted bail.

Conflicting Reports Trail Diezani Alison-Madueke’s Court Appearance

Alison-MaduekeThere are conflicting reports about the appearance of Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, at the Westminster Magistrate Court in London on Monday.

At the Charing Cross Police Station, in London on Monday, our correspondent, Doris Okenwa, did not see any sign of Mrs Alison-Madueke early in the morning.

She waited for several hours before also visiting the magistrate court without any trace of the former minister.

This afternoon, however, BBC correspondent, Sam Eiranty, tweeted that he sighted the former minister and her mother at the magistrate court early in the morning.

No detail was given as to whether she has been charged and when she is due to return to court.

Mrs Allison-Madueke was arrested on Friday morning but was granted bail and asked to return to court on Monday.

She was arrested by the National Crime Agency along with four other people and is being investigated for alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering.

She denied any wrong doing when accused by the then Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who is now the Emir of Kano, of alleged misappropriation of $20 billion oil money.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was Petroleum Minister between 2010 and 2015.

 

Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke Granted Bail

Alison-Madueke
Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was arrested in London on Friday, has been granted bail.

She was granted bail by a Magistrate Court in London after she had been detained for several hours.

Reports say that the former minister’s international passport has been seized.

The UK National Crime Agency on its official website says that its recently formed International Corruption Unit has arrested five people across London as part of an investigation into suspected bribery and money laundering offences.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on Friday along with four other persons in relation to corruption allegations being investigated by the UK National Crime Agency.

Meanwhile, the Presidency in Nigeria has declined to comment on the arrest of the former Petroleum Minister.

Presidency Silent On Diezani Alison-Madueke’s Arrest

Alison-Madueke The Presidency in Nigeria has declined to comment on the arrest of former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

When asked to confirm if the arrest was based on the request of the Nigerian Government, the response from the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, was “I will get back to you”.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on Friday along with four other persons in relation to corruption allegations being investigated by the UK National Crime Agency.

Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke Arrested In UK

Diezani The immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been arrested in London.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested along with four other persons in relation to corruption allegations being investigated by the UK National Crime Agency.

Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke has been in London for some time, reportedly on health grounds.

Under her watch the then CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, alleged missing funds in the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), amounting to 20 billion dollars.

Few days ago at the UN General Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari had made it clear that those who misappropriated billions of naira belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation would soon be prosecuted.

It is not yet known if Mrs Allison-Madueke’s arrest was based on a request from the Nigerian Government.

It was alleged earlier in the year that the former Petroleum Minister, who was one of the closest to the administration of former President Jonathan, would flee the country, to avoid being prosecuted over allegations of fraud, especially in the NNPC.

This was following the defeat of the former President at the Presidential election in April.

She, at the time, denied seeking asylum in any part of the world, stating that the Jonathan administration had done a lot in the Oil and Gas industry that cannot be rubbished by malicious claims.