FORMER petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke has had 149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone valued at $40m seized from her today after a Lagos federal high court ordered their forfeiture to the federal government.
Oil minister during the tenure of former president Dr Goodluck Jonathan, Ms Alison-Madueke has been the subject of a series of corruption probes, with the federal high court in Nigeria confiscating some of her assets and handing them over to the government. Under investigation both in Nigeria and the UK, Ms Alison-Madueke, who was in office between 2011 and 2015, has been accused of participating in largescale corruption, including using her position to allocate lucrative oil wells to close associates worth billions of dollars.
Since leaving office two years ago, Ms Alison-Madueke has taken refuge in the UK, where she was arrested and granted bail pending the filing of formal charges against her. Ms Alison-Madueke has been asked to forfeit UK properties worth over £11m and been forced to forfeit about N7.6bn hidden in a Nigerian bank to the government.
Earlier today, Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos State ordered that the items should be temporarily forfeited to the federal government. This forfeiture order followed an ex parte application moved by Rotimi Oyedepo, the lawyer representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In the application, the EFCC said that it found and recovered the jewellery and the customised gold iPhone on the premises of the respondent. It added that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with proceeds of unlawful activities.
According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery was 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. Justice Oweibo ordered that the EFCC publish the forfeiture order in a national newspaper.
He added that this is so that the respondent or anyone who is interested in the property can show cause within 14 days why a final forfeiture order should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Justice Oweibo then adjourned the case until August 23, 2019, for further proceedings.