Former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke today lost yet another set or choice properties valued at over N2.6 billion to the federal government.
The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, ordered temporary forfeiture of four buildings scattered in Abuja and two States: Lagos and Rivers, linked to her associates and herself, and believed to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
The order followed an ex-parte application argued before the court by the lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Anselm Ozioko.
Named as respondents are: Alison-Madueke; Donald Chidi Amamgbo, Chapel Properties Limited, Blue Nile Estate Limited, Azinga Meadows Limited, and Vistapoints Property Development Limited.
The properties ordered to be temporarily forfeited include of 21 mixed housing units of 8 numbers of four bedrooms penthouse apartment; six buildings of three-bedroom apartments; two buildings of three-bedroom apartments and one building of four-bedroom apartments, all located at 7 Thurnburn Street and 5 Raymond Street in Yaba, Lagos, valued at N937 million.
A second set of properties comprises 16-four-bedroom terrace, located at Heritage Court Estate in Port-Harcourt, River State, valued at N928 million. The third is another 13-three bedroom property with one room maid's quarters, situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate in Abuja, valued at N650 million; and six flats of three bedrooms and one boys quarter, located on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the properties were purchased by Mrs. Alison-Madueke and Mr. Amamgbo through four companies: Chapel Properties Limited; Blue Nile Estate Limited; Azinga Meadows Nigeria Limited; and Vistapoint Property Development Limited.
In an affidavit attached to the ex-parte application, Sambo Muazu Mayana, an investigator with the Agency, averred that sometime in 2016, an intelligence report was received against both Diezani and Amamgbo which led to a search warrant which was executed at the office and premises of Amamgbo.
According to him, among the documents recovered from Amamgbo was an undated report titled "Highly Confidential Attorney Work Product - August Report which contained 18 companies and several Properties located in United Kingdom (UK), Nigeria and the United States of America, and that Mr. Amamgbo, told the agency during the investigation he had registered the 18 companies to assist the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke in holding the titles of the now temporarily-forfeited properties.
Mr. Mayana further stated that further investigation into the ownership of the said properties indicated that FBN Mortgage Limited was the last owner of the three of the properties, and that payment for them were received by FBN Mortgage at various times between 2011 and June 16, 2015. He added that First Bank of Nigeria Plc stated in a letter that the source of the monies was from Mrs. Alison-Madueke, and that the bank picked up US dollars from her house at 10, Frederick Chiluba Close in Asokoro, Abuja, and that the sum of $3,342,307 million was credited into FBN Mortgage Limited account number 2008133531.
He also declared that FBN, in an extra-judicial statement made by its Head of Public Sector Group, confirmed that the sum of N840 million, equivalent of $5,540,318m, transferred to Skye Bank by one Adeyemi Edun, was picked up on 23 May 2011 from Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s home at 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close in Abuja, and transferred on her instructions to Skye Bank in favor of Adeyemi Edun on the same day.
Consequently, Mr Ozioko deposition urged the court to grant the application in the interest of Justice.
The presiding vacation Judge Abdulaziz Anka, after listening to Ozioko's submission, ordered that all the properties involved be forfeited to the federal government.
He also ordered the EFCC to appoint competent person(s) or firm to manage the temporarily forfeited assets/properties and to notify the respondents in whose possession the assets/properties sought to be forfeited are found, to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the government.
Justice Anka further 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 favor of the Federal government of Nigeria.