In what can be assumed to mean that the present government is winning the war against corruption, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday, ordered the permanent forfeiture of a $37.5m property on Banana Island in Lagos, allegedly belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resource, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke.
This is coming exactly two months after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had equally secured same permanent forfeiture on the controversial $13bn (cash), recovered from an Ikoyi mansion, in Lagos.
The Court had on June 6, ordered permanent forfeiture as nobody presented himself before the court as the rightful owners of the huge sum of foreign currency.
On the case of former Minister, Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered the permanent forfeiture of the property to the Federal Government after the EFCC argued a motion on notice before him as upon the publications made in some national dailies for any rightful owners to come for explanations, nobody showed up.
The property, identified as building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses, according to prosecutors.
Justice Obiozor had on July 19 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the property after listening to an ex parte application brought by the EFCC’s Head of Legal, Mr. Anselm Ozioko.
He had directed the EFCC to publish the order in the newspapers so that any interested party who does not want the money to be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government could appear in court within 14 days which was complied with.
accordingly, at the resumed hearing yesterday, Ozioko informed the court that the EFCC had published the order in the papers as directed, but the respondents did not show up to contest the order, hence the permanent forfeiture ruling.
Business Hilights recalls that since President Muhammadu Buhari was pronounced president-elect after 2015 general elections, the former minister bolted away and had never touched down on Nigerian soil till date.
It was not yet clear if this is the only case that made her to remain outside the country or others yet to be bumped on by the anti-graft agencies.
However, analysts say with the logical conclusion of the matter in a competent court of jurisdiction, the coast is now clear for the working out and eventual presentation of the 2.5 per cent value of the recovered loot to the whistle blower who provided the tailored details that finished the matter seamlessly.