3rd September, 2017
Documents issued by a UK court that restrain former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and her business fronts, Jide Omokore and Kolawole Aluko, from disposing of properties acquired through the dodgy Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) facilitated by the erstwhile minister have been released.
The assets in question were acquired via companies listed as third parties in the matter being handled in the UK under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Also subject to the order are Messrs. Benedict Peters, Christopher Illuobe, a California-based attorney, Donald Amagbo, and three companies, Collingwood Limited, Rosewood Investments Limited and Miranda Investment Limited.
The court papers, exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, show that Judge Taylor of the Southwark Crown Court issued the restraint following an application by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS is prosecuting the defendants and third parties for alleged acts of corruption. The order, issued on September 13, 2016, bars the defendants and third parties from disposing or dealing in the affected assets or diminishing their value.
The affected properties, according to the court papers, include 5 Parkview, 83-86 Prince Albert Road, St. John’s Wood, London NW8 7RU.
The property is registered at the Land Registry under title number NGL745834 in the name of Collingwood Limited. Also on the restraint list is Flat 58 Harley House, Marylebone Road, London NW15HL, which is registered at the land registry under number NGL729440 and held in the name of Rosewood Investments Limited.
Equally affected is 96 Camp Road, Gerrard Cross, Buckinghamshire, SL9BP. It is registered at the registry under title number BM180105 and held in the name of Miranda Limited. The last listed asset is a land identified as lying to the south of Lyttelton Road, Finchley.
In his order, Judge Taylor warned the defendants that it would amount to contempt of his court if any of the notified persons acted in breach of the court order. Such breach, the judge warned, could earn the offending party a term of imprisonment, fine and even prosecution for money laundering.
The restraint order, however, neither prevents banks from exercising rights of set off they may have in respect of any facility given to the defendants before the order was issued nor prevent a financial institution from taking steps to enforce an existing charge in respect of a property.
Court papers reveal that the restraint order will remain in force until it is varied or vacated by another order of the court.
Prosecutors in the United States recently provided details of how Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her fronts splashed millions of dollars on homes and luxury items in the US and UK. A civil forfeiture notice filed by the US Department of Justice seeks to have assets valued at $144 million seized from Ms. Alison-Madueke, Mr. Omokore, and Mr. Aluko. The forfeiture notice showed how Mr. Omokore and Mr. Aluko, who improperly received more than $1.5 billion in revenues via a questionable agreement that empowered them to sell Nigeria’s crude oil and pocket the proceeds, used shell companies to conceal the ownership of properties and luxury items purchased.
Nigerian authorities have also obtained court orders authorizing the government to seize billions of naira in assets, including real estate, illicitly acquired by Ms. Alison-Madueke.