The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the temporary forfeiture of 58 houses linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources , Mrs . Diezani Alison-Madueke .
The houses , located in Abuja , Lagos and Port Harcourt , were said to have been acquired by the ex – minister between 2011 and 2013 using front companies .
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claimed that Diezani paid $ 21 , 982 , 224 for the properties , adding that it believed that the funds were proceeds of crime .
The anti – graft agency listed the properties to include 29 terraced houses comprising eight four – bedroomed penthouse apartments, six three- bedroomed apartments , two three- bedroomed maisonettes , two twin-bedroomed apartments and one four – bedroomed apartment.
The houses , located at No. 7 , Thurnbull Street and 5 , Raymond Street , Yaba , were allegedly bought by Diezani for the United States dollar equivalent of N 937 m through Chapel Properties Ltd.
Other seized houses are 16 four – bedroomed terraced houses in Heritage Court Estate , Plot 2 C, Omerelu Street , Diobu , Government Residential Area (GRA ) Phase 1 Extension , Port Harcourt , Rivers State , purchased for N 928 m through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.
The properties also include 13 three- bedroomed terraced houses with one – room maid’ s quarters ensuite for N 650 m through Azinga Meadows Ltd .
In an ex parte application brought before Justice Abdulaziz Anka on Tuesday by its counsel , Mr . Anselem Ozioko , the EFCC urged the judge to order the temporary forfeiture of the properties to the Federal Government.
The judge granted the temporary forfeiture order and directed that a firm should be appointed to manage the properties .
He also ordered the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper and adjourned till September 8 , 2017 for any party interested in the properties to appear before the court to state why the temporary forfeiture order should not be made permanent .
Listed as first to sixth respondents in the suit are Diezani , Donald Amamgbo, and four firms – Chapel Properties Limited ; Blue Nile Estate Limited ; Azinga Meadows Limited ; and Vistapoint Property Development Limited .
Ozioko told the court that Diezani used the companies as fronts for the acquisition of the properties , adding that the anti – graft agency had discovered 14 other firms incorporated for the ex -minister for the purpose of holding the titles to those properties .
Diezani , he added , purchased the properties from the proceeds of suspected unlawful activity during her tenure as minister .
In an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, an EFCC investigator , Mr . Sombori Mayana , said the EFCC got winds of the properties in 2016 following the execution of a search warrant on the office and premises of Amamgbo, said to be Diezani ’ s acquaintance .
The investigator averred , “ Among the documents recovered from the office of Mr. Donald Chidi Amamgbo was an undated report that contained a list of 18 companies and several properties located in the United Kingdom , Nigeria and the United States of America .
“ During the course of his interview, Mr. Donald Amamgbo told us that he registered the 18 companies to assist Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke in holding titles of the properties . ”
Mayana averred that a principal manager and Head , Business Development of FBN Mortgages Ltd. , Mrs . Bolanle Onotu, confirmed that the properties were sold by her organisation to Diezani ’ s alleged four proxy firms for N 937 m , N 928 m and N 650 m and received payment through First Bank account numbers 2004483850 and 2008133531 between September 23, 2011 and June 16 , 2015.
“ First Bank of Nigeria Plc stated that the source of the money was Mrs . Diezani Alison Madueke and that the bank picked up United States ’ dollars from her house at 10 , Frederick Chiluba Close off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro , Abuja , ” Mayana added .
He said a total of $ 16 , 041 , 906 was picked up by the bank at Diezani ’ s house between September 29, 2011 and April 4 , 2013 and converted to naira .
According to Mayana , another firm , Adebern Parks Nigeria Ltd. received N 802 , 500 , 000 in its Zenith Bank account from an Ecobank account for the purchase of some of the properties .
One Mr. Adeyemi Edun “ received the sum of N 840 , 000 , 000 from Skye Bank Plc which on his instructions transferred the sum of N 805 , 000 , 000 to his Eco Bank account from where he paid Adebern Parks for the property. ”
Adapted From Punch