By Akin Kuponiyi
The Federal High Court in Ikoyi has ordered the temporary forfeiture of a property at Banana Island, Lagos bought for $37.5 million in 2013 by Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The property is designated Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate.
It has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses, according to the court process filed before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court also ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, said to be part of the rent collected on the property.
The money was alleged to have been kept in commercial bank in Lagos.
The temporary forfeiture orders were made sequel to an ex parte application brought before the court by EFCC counsel, Mr. Anselem Ozioko.
Ozioko told the court that EFCC reasonably suspected that the property was acquired with proceeds of alleged unlawful activities of Diezani.
He said investigation by the EFCC revealed that Diezani made the $37.5m payment for the purchase of the property in cash, adding that the money was moved straight from her house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.
“Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment.
“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt because as of the time this happened Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.”
Ozioko told the court that joined as co -respondents in the suit are Diezani, a legal practitioner, Afamefuna Nwokedi, and a limited liability company, Rusimpex Limited.