10th September, 2019
The former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke has lost the bid to retrieve her jewellery and a customised gold iPhone forfeited to the Federal Government.
This happened as the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the permanent forfeiture of the 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40m, recovered from the former minister’s house in Abuja.
In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Nicholas Nicholas Oweibo held that Diezani, through her lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN), failed to show cause why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had told the judge that the jewellery and iPhone were beyond the former Minister’s “known and provable lawful income.”
The anti-graft agency further said that findings showed that she started acquiring the jewellery in 2012, two years after she was appointed Minister.
EFCC also said it was in possession of the details of the bank account through which Mrs Alison-Madueke received her salary as a minister and stated that a “damning intelligence report” received by the Commission led to the search of former minister’s house at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja.
The Former Minister on her part had challenged the seizure of the jewellery from her premises by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In an affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel, Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), Diezani, who is currently in the United Kingdom, alleged that the EFCC violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections 43 and 44 of the constitution.
She also accused the anti-graft agency of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.
On July 5, 2019, The Economic and Financial Crime Commission EFCC had secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the expensive jewellery to the Federal Government.