By Akinwale Akintunde
Justice Iniekenimi Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered interim forfeiture of jewellery valued at about $40m, belonging to Former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.
The Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) had seized the items comprising wristwatches, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, earrings, as well as a gold iPhone from a premises belonging to the former minister.
In the application, the EFCC said it believes that the pieces of jewellery were obtained with proceeds of unlawful activities by the former Minister.
The Commission also stated that Mrs. Allison-Madueke’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the value of the jewellery sought to be forfeited.
Justice Oweibo, in granting the application, agreed with the EFCC that the court had the statutory powers under the provision of Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act 2006 to order the forfeiture.
The judge also ordered the anti-graft commission to publish in any national newspaper the interim order of forfeiture to serve as notice to the former Minister or anyone interested in the assets to be forfeited to appear before the court to show cause within 14days why the assets should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till August 13.