Court Orders Interim Forfeiture of Diezani’s $40m Jewelry, Other Belongings

Diezani Alison-Madueke,

Davidson Iriekpen

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the interim forfeiture of jewelry and customised gold iPhone, belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The properties are all valued at $40 million dollars.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo, ordered that the items be temporarily forfeited to the federal government following an ex-parte application filed and moved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The commission through its counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, said that it found and recovered the properties, which is believed to be acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.

The application, titled action in rem, had Alison-Madueke as the only defendant and it was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act, No. 14, 2006.

EFCC said it found and recovered the items at 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 jewelries, categorised 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 Oyedepo, Justice Oweibo ordered that the 2,149 pieces of jewelries and the customised 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 the court to show cause within 14 days why a final forfeiture order of the said properties should not be made.”

 The court consequently, adjourned the case until July 22.