Court Orders Permanent Forfeiture Of N34 Billion Diezani Loot

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke

The Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the permanent forfeiture of monies totaling about N34 billion which was said to belong to the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Muslim Hassan, in a judgment delivered on Thursday said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had successfully proved that the monies were proceeds from illegal activities.

According to the EFCC, the monies were allegedly siphoned from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and deposited in three banks in the country.

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Recall that Justice Hassan had in January this year ordered the temporary forfeiture $153,310,000, which the EFCC said was owned by Alison-Madueze.

Out of the total sum,  N23,446, 300,000 was allegedly deposited in Sterling Bank Plc, N9,080,000,000 in First Bank Plc and $5 million in Access Bank Plc.

Justice Hassan, while ruling on the forfeiture order, asked Sterling Bank and any other interested party to come forward, in the next 14 days, with proof as to why the funds would not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.

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The EFCC had in a nine-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the ex-parte application, said that its investigations revealed that Allison-Madueke, in December 2014 connived with the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, to move $153,310,000 from NNPC to be saved for Diezani.

Last month, Alison-Madueke, issued a statement denouncing allegations of corruption levelled against her  by the EFCC, saying that President Buhari’s anti- corruption campaign is a witch-hunt against persons that were not in the good books of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

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She said: “The fight against corruption in Nigeria will be far better served if the EFCC focused on incontrovertible facts, as opposed to media sensationalism and completely distorted stories, in its bid to demonise and destroy a few politically exposed Nigerians.