UPDATED: Allison-Madueke temporarily forfeits $37.5m Banana Island estate to govt

 

The Lagos State division of the Federal High Court has ordered the temporary forfeiture of a $37.5 million estate in Banana Island, Lagos, belonging to Diezani Allison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The order follows an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which alleged that the property was secured with funds siphoned from the treasury of the federal government.

Justice Chuka Obiozor also ordered the interim forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, believed to be part of the rent collected on the property. The funds were allegedly lodged in a Zenith Bank account number 1013612486.

Court papers presented by the EFCC described the luxury property as comprising 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses.

Anselem Ozioko, counsel to the EFCC, told the judge that the commission “reasonably suspected that the property was acquired with proceeds of alleged unlawful activities of Diezani”.

According to Ozioko, the $37.5 million payment for the purchase of the property was moved in cash from Allison-Madueke’s house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account.






     

     

    “Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment. Why was she doing that? To avoid attention,” Ozioko told the presiding Judge.

    “We are convinced beyond reasonable doubts because, as of the time this happened, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.”

    The EFCC also listed one Afamefuna Nwokedi, a legal practitioner, and a firm, Rusimpex Limited, as respondents in the application.

    In his ruling, Justice Obiozor ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper. He adjourned the case until August 7 before which anyone interested in the property could come forward with evidence why it should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.

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