Diezani loses $40m jewellery, gold iPhone to FG in court
A court has forfeited $40 million worth of jewellery seized from Alison-Madueke to the government.
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has lost pieces of jewellery estimated to be worth $40 million to the Federal Government.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had temporarily forfeited the pieces of jewellery to the government in July pending hearing on a permanent forfeiture.
Despite contesting the temporary forfeiture in court, Justice Nicholas Oweibo ruled on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 that Alison-Madueke failed to show cause why the sets of jewellery should not be permanently forfeited.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized the jewellery sets during a raid on Alison-Madueke's home located at 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja, on the suspicion of being acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.
The anti-graft agency alleged that she started acquiring the jewellery in 2012 while she was already a serving minister.
The former minister, who's on the hook for other corruption-related probes, allegedly did not acquire the jewellery with any part of her legitimate income at the time.
In challenging the seizure, Alison-Madueke said the EFCC violated her fundamental right to own property.
According to her, the search of her home that led to the seizure was conducted without any court order, hence making it illegal.
Jewellery forfeited include 419 bangles, 315 rings, 304 earrings, 267 necklaces, 189 wristwatches, 174 necklaces and earrings, 78 bracelets, 77 brooches, and 74 pendants. A customised gold iPhone was also forfeited to the government.
Alison-Madueke was Minister of Petroleum Resources between 2010 and 2015. She had previously served as Minister of Transportation between 2007 and 2008, and then as Minister of Mines and Steel Development between 2008 and 2010.
Since she left office in 2015, she has been dogged by a series of corruption allegations including the alleged diversion and distribution of N23 billion allegedly in a bid to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election in favour of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling party at the time.
Since 2015, the EFCC has obtained court rulings that have ordered the forfeiture of properties and funds linked to the former minister.
In 2017, Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos ordered the permanent forfeiture of N7.6 billion linked to Alison-Madueke.
Justice Obiozor, in a separate suit, also ordered the permanent forfeiture of a $37.5 million Banana Island mansion linked to the former minister.
In addition to the building, the court also ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70 realised as rents on the property.
Since 2015, Alison-Madueke has been holed up in the United Kingdom where she faces a separate probe for alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering.