*Court orders forfeiture of valuables
Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the forfeiture of 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customized gold iPhone, valued at $40m, belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The judge ordered that the items should be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
The forfeiture order followed an ex parte application moved on Friday morning by a lawyer for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo.
The application, titled action in rem, had Diezani as the only defendant and it was filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act No. 14, 2006.
The EFCC said in the application that it found and recovered the jewellery and the customized 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, categorized 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."
The EFCC said, "The respondent's known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria."
Following submission by the EFCC lawyer, Oyedepo, Justice Oweibo ordered that the 2,149 pieces of jewellery and the customized gold iPhone should be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the forfeiture order in a national newspaper "for the respondent or anyone who is interested in the property sought to be forfeited to appear before this honourable court to show cause within 14 days why a final forfeiture order of the said properties should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria."
The judge adjourned until August 23, 2019, for further proceedings.