A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of two luxurious apartments allegedly owned by a former minister of petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke to the Federal Government.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun ordered the permanent forfeiture of the apartments on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
The properties are: Penthouse 21 building 5, Block C, 11 floor, Bella Vista, Banana Island, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 22, Block B (Admiralty Estate) also in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The court had earlier ordered an interim forfeiture of the said properties on December 5, 2017, following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Olatoregun had then asked EFCC to publish the forfeiture order in national dailies to allow anyone interested in the properties to show cause why they should not be forfeited to government.
Having fulfilled the orders of the court and with nobody coming forward to claim the penthouses, the commission asked the court to give order for permanent forfeit of the properties to government.
While granting EFCC’s prayer on Wednesday, Justice Olatoregun noted that the anti-graft agency has been able to show why the Ikoyi penthouses should be forfeited to the federal government.
The court then ordered that the properties be forfeited to government, pending conclusions of investigations.
The EFCC’s ex parte application marked FHC/L/CS/1793c/17, has Alison-Madueke, Donald Amagbo, Schillenburg LLC, and Sequoyah Property Ltd, as respondents in the suit.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Anslem Ozioko, while arguing for interim forfeiture also asked the court for an order prohibiting any disposal, sale or alienation of the said assets.
The judge granted the orders, but refused to grant request by EFCC to appoint a manager for the two properties.
Mr. Ozioko argued that the properties are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, an investigator with EFCC had told the court that during investigation into the ownerships of YF Construction Development and Real Estate Ltd, one Fadi Basbous, volunteered extra-judicial statement.
He said Basbous stated that the two properties are owned by Sequoyah Properties Limited, and Schillenburg LLC.
The properties, he claimed, were sold at 3.6million dollars and 1.2million dollars respectively.
The deponent also stated that payments were made by Angela Jide-Jones, and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd.
Angela Jide-Jone, is the wife of Jide Omokore, and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd, was registered by Jide Omokore, the affidavit revealed.
The investigator explained that Jide Omokore paid for the properties through his wife, and one of his companies.
He stated further that he also directed a developer to sign the agreements with Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Ltd.
Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Ltd are linked to Alison-Madueke, adding that Schillenburg LLC was registered in Hongkong, while Sequoyah Properties Ltd, was registered in Nigeria on October 11, 2011 allegedly with fictitious shareholders and directors.
Though counsel to the first and second respondents, Mr. Emmanuel Bassey had earlier filed a counter affidavit to stop the forfeiture of the penthouses, he told the court on Wednesday that he was not opposed to the properties being forfeited to the government as they were already in the government’s custody.