Court orders final forfeiture of $37.5m mansion linked to Diezani
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered immediate forfeiture of $37.5 million mansion in Banana Island Lagos, alleged to be owned by the former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
In a ruling delivered by Justice Chuka Obiozor yesterday, the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70 said to have been realised as rents on the property were also ordered to be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier brought before the court a motion on notice asking for the permanent forfeiture of the mansion. The permanent order sought by the anti-graft agency was sequel to the temporary seizure earlier secured.
The court had directed that the temporary forfeiture order on Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, said to have 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses be published in a newspaper and then adjourned till yesterday for anyone interested in the property and funds to appear to convince the court why they should not be permanently forfeited.
But at resumption of proceeding, counsel to the EFCC, Anselem Ozioko informed the court that the publication order had been complied with, but that despite all efforts to personally serve the second and third respondents in the case, Afamefuna Nwokedi, and a company, Rusimpex Limited, they did not show up in court to contest the forfeiture order.
In his ruling, Justice Obiozor said the mansion had to be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The EFCC had earlier told the judge how its investigations established that Diezani purchased the property sometime in 2013 at $37.5 million, insisting that the money was moved straight from Diezani’s house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.