It is more trouble for the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke as the Federal High Court Lagos on Wednesday ordered the temporary forfeiture of her property at Banana Island, Lagos bought for $37.5m in 2013.
The property, marked as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses, according to court papers presented on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The court also ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, which are said to be part of the rent collected on the property.
The funds were said to have been found in a Zenith Bank account number 1013612486.
Justice Chuka Obiozor issued temporary forfeiture orders on Wednesday, following an ex parte application brought by EFCC counsel, Mr. Anselem Ozioko.
The EFCC had told the judge that it reasonably suspected that the property was acquired with proceeds of alleged unlawful activities perpetrated by Diezani.
The EFCC alleged that Diezani made the $37.5m payment for the purchase of the property in cash and that the money was moved straight from her house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.
“Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment. Why was she doing that? To avoid attention.
“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt because as of the time this happened, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” Ozioko told Justice Obiozor.
Justice Obiozor made the order temporarily seizing the property and the funds after listening to the EFCC counsel.
He directed that the order should be published in a national newspaper and adjourned till August 7, 2017 for anyone interested in the property and funds to appear and show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited.