Court orders final forfeiture of Diezani’s $40m jewellery

Justice I.N. Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos , on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, ordered the final forfeiture of some jewellery and a customized gold Iphone valued at $40m  belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.

The Judge had, on July 5, 2019, granted the interim forfeiture of the properties, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Justice Oweibo had also directed interested parties to show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

However, Nnamdi Awa-Kalu, counsel to the respondent, Alison-Madueke, had filed a motion on notice setting aside the order of the court granting the interim forfeiture of the properties to the Federal Government.

Awa-Kalu,   in the application, also claimed that his client was a successful businesswoman in the oil and gas sector, who had acquired the properties through legitimate means as well as gifts.

However, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime as the respondent failed to show how they were acquired.

Oyedepo also submitted that “ it is an unlawful activity for a public officer to receive gifts as a result of what was done or not done.”

Oyedepo, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the application of the respondent and forfeit the properties to the Federal Government.

 In his ruling, Justice Oweibo held that the issues raised by the EFCC were more apt and that “it is only logical that the court dismisses the respondent’s application. “

Justice Oweibo also held that the respondent failed to show cause why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government and consequently granted the EFCC’s application.

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