Armed with an interim forfeiture order from a Lagos Hgh Court, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is set to seize nine Dubai properties worth over N1.6bn, allegedly belonging to former Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, Mr. Haruna Momoh, who is said to be at large.
The commission had started talks with the United Arab Emirates on how to appropriate the properties, said to be worth between $450,000 and $700,000 each or about N1.6bn in total, Punch reports.
The properties are reportedly located in highbrow areas of Marina, Sheikh Zayed Road, Tecom, and Sports City, where world richest people own homes.
The properties allegedly linked to Momoh, which are about to be seized are reportedly as follows: Unit 1402 PS, 14th Floor, located at Metro Central, Tecom, near Internet City Metro Station, Dubai, UAE; Unit 712 ES, 7th Floor, located at First Central, off Sheikh Zayed, Tecom, Al Barsha 3 Dubai, UAE; and Unit 512, 5th Floor, located at First Group, Marina Hotels, Al Seba Street, Plot 394-426 Dubai AE-AJ, UAE.
Other properties also said to be traced to Momoh include Unit 503 1 Bedroom Heritage, 5th Floor, located at First Central, Dubai Media City, Tecom, off Sheikh Zayed Tecom, Al Barsha 3, Dubai, UAE; Unit 1910 ES Heritage, 19th Floor, located at First Central, Dubai Media City, Tecom, off Sheikh Zayed Tecom; Unit 2507 Dubai Sports City; Unit 314 Dubai Sports City; and Unit 1002, Tecom Barsha 125616.
Momoh is also accused of several fraudulent transactions allegedly perpetrated in concert with a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. The former PPMC MD and others at large are accused of conspiring to help Diezani launder about N9bn. The money has since been forfeited permanently to the Federal Government.
Both Momoh and Diezani are the subjects of an ongoing House of Representatives investigation wherein it was alleged that they gave dubious contracts to the tune of $24bn to some oil firms under the controversial crude oil swap arrangement.
A source at the EFCC told the newspaper that the commission would apply for the seizure through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
With the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which was signed between Nigeria and the UAE, the process of forfeiture would not be cumbersome, the source said.
The agreements, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, are: Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and an Extradition Treaty.
“We have informed the UAE authorities that from our investigation, we believe Momoh acquired those properties through corrupt means. The whole process is still ongoing but with the MLAT, signed by President Buhari, it has made work a lot easier for us.
“The AGF is expected to write the UAE for the forfeiture of the properties after which they would be sold off and the proceeds returned to Nigeria,” the source added.
Recall that the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives, investigating the crude oil swap contracts in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, had invited Momoh and Diezani to appear before it last year but they snubbed the invitations.
EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed on Monday that Momoh is under investigation but said “he is at large.”