The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the interim forfeiture of a plot of land in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said to belong to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Justice Chuka Obiozor made the forfeiture order today following an exparte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The anti-graft agency told the judge that the land, “measuring 7,903.71 – 8,029.585 square metres” and designated as Plot 9, Azikiwe Road, Old GRA (UAC Property on Forces Avenue), Port Harcourt, was reasonably suspected to be part of proceeds of unlawful activities.
The commission, therefore, asked the court for an order to allow it “to appoint a competent person or firm to manage the asset/property.”
It also asked the court to prohibit “any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the asset/property.”
Counsel for the EFCC, Ebuka Okongwu, also told the court that it had the power, pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006, to make the forfeiture order.
After listening to the lawyer, Justice Obiozor granted the forfeiture order.
Only last Friday, the same Federal High Court ordered the forfeiture of 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40m, belonging to Diezani.
The EFCC said it found and recovered the jewellery and the gold iPhone from Diezani’s premises, adding that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
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.”
“The respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties,” the EFCC told the court.