FORMER petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke’s 149 pieces of jewellery valued at $40m recently seized by the federal government is to be auctioned off with the proceeded remitted to the federation account.
In early July, a Lagos high ordered the seizure of the jewellery, which included a customised gold iPhone and its 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.
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.
Two years ago, Mrs Alison-Madueke forfeited a $37.5m Banana Island estate she bought in 2013 to the federal government after a Lagos high court ordered that the surrender it. In 2015, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives checked out the two properties in Dubai located at E146 Emirates Hill and J5 Emirates Hill, said to be worth 74,000,000 dirham (N7.1bn), which are thought to belong to Ms Alison-Madueke.
Several of her associates have also had property seized with the Nigerian and American governments selling off a 65-metre Galactica Star super yacht worth $42m belonging to oil magnate Kola Aluko. A business associate of Mrs Alison-Madueke, Mr Aluko is accused of cheating Nigeria out of almost $1.8bn in siphoned crude oil sales.
According to Yacht Harbour, the yacht, which was custom-built by Dutch yard Heesen in 2013, is the second largest ever built by the company. Sold on July 25, 2019, the yatch features exterior styling by Omega Architects, engineering by Van Oossanen & Associates, finished by interiors from the boards of Bannenberg & Rowell.
According to the US government, Mr Aluko and another oil businessman, Jide Omokore, are guilty of laundering money in the US and using it to acquire the yacht along with other assets. Galactica Star accommodates up to 12 guests overnight in six cabins, comprising a master suite, one VIP stateroom and four double cabins.