Former Nigerian oil minister, Diezani Alison Madueke has temporarily surrendered properties located in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, valued at about N2.6 billion to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Abdulaziz Anka of the Federal High Court in Lagos gave the forfeiture order in Lagos today, ruling that the houses were acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.
The houses seized included 21 mixed housing units of eight four bedroom penthouse apartment; six buildings of three bedroom apartments; two buildings of three bedrooms apartment and one building of four bedrooms apartment, all ensuite, located at 7 Thurnburn Street and 5 Raymond Street, Yaba. They were all valued at N937 million.
There were also 16-four bedrooms terrace buildings, located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port-Harcourt, River State, valued at N928 million.
Also forfeited were 13 three-bedroom with one room maid’s quarter situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million; and six flats of three bedrooms and one boys quarter, located at Plot 808 (135) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million.
The order of the court was sequel to an ex-parte application filed and argued before the court by the lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Anselm Ozioko.
Named as respondents in the suit are: Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke; Mr. Donald Chidi Amamgbo; Chapel Properties Limited; Blue Nile Estate Limited; Azinga Meadows Limited and Vistapoints Property Development Limited.
Justice Anka ordered that the properties should in the interim be forfeited to the Federal government.
He also ordered the EFCC to notify the respondents to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria.
Justice Anka also directed the EFCC to make publication of the interim order in a national newspaper for the respondents and anyone who is interested in the properties to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the properties should not be made in favour of the Federal government of Nigeria.
The anti graft agency alleged that the properties were purchased by the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani and her cohort, Mr. Donald Chidi Amamgbo, through four companies; namely; Chapel Properties Limited; Blue Nile Estate Limited; Azinga Meadows Nigeria Limited; and Vistapoint Property Development Limited.
In an affidavit attached with the ex-parte application, sworn to by Sambo Muazu Mayana, an investigator with the agency,he averred that sometimes in 2016, an intelligence report was received against both Diezani and Amamgbo, and upon analysing the intelligence report, a search warrant was executed at the office and premises of Amamgbo.
Mr Mayana averred further that among the documents recovered from Amamgbo was an undated report tltled “Highly Confidential Attorney Work Product- August Report”.
The said ‘highly confidential report contained 18 companies and several properties located in United Kingdom (UK), Nigeria and United States of America (USA).
Amamgbo, told the EFCC that he registered the 18 companies to assist the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke in holding title of the temporarily forfeited properties.
Mayana stated that investigation into the ownership of the said Properties revealed that FBN Mortgage Limited was the last owner of three of the properties.
He also stated that payment for the properties were received by FBN Mortgage Limited at various times from 2011 to June 16, 2015.
According to him, First Bank of Nigeria Plc stated in a letter that the source of the money was Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, and that the bank picked up United States Dollars from her house located at 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, off Jose Martins Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
Of the dollars picked up from Diezani’s house, $3,342,307 USD, was credited into FBN Mortgage Limited account number 2008133531.
Mayana also stated that First Bank of Nigeria Plc, in its extra judicial statement made by its Head of Public Sector Group, also confirmed that the sum of N840 million, equivalent of $5,540, 318, transferred to Skye Bank by one Adeyemi Edun, was picked up on May 23, 2011, from Mrs. Diezani’s house in Asokoro, Abuja, and same was transferred on Diezani’s instruction to Skye Bank in favour of Adeyemi Edun on the same day.