Former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has prayed the court to order the return of her 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone valued at $40m, which were seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
She made the appeal in an application filed on her behalf by Prof Awa Kalu before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Diezani, who refuses to return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom in a bid to escape prosecution, accused the EFCC of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.
She said the anti-graft agency violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.
She urged the court to reject the prayer by the EFCC to permanently forfeit the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the government.
The EFCC had, on July 5, 2019, secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the government.
The anti-graft agency told the court that it found and recovered the jewellery and the customised gold iPhone “on the premises of the respondent;” adding that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”