Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Diezani’s Banana Island’s house, funds may go the way of NIA’s Ikoyi billions if…

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has up till August 7, 2017, to show up at the Lagos federal High Court to lay claims to listed properties and funds of about $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, said to be part of the rent collected on the property.

This stemmed from the temporary forfeiture order on a property at Banana Island, Lagos, reportedly bought for $37.5m in 2013 on Wednesday.

Otherwise, August 7, 2017 is next adjourned date for anyone interested in the property and funds to appear before the Court.

After listening to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Justice Obiozor made an order temporarily seizing the property and the funds, thus directing that the order should be published in a national newspaper.

The ex parte application leading to the forfeiture order was filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No. 14, 2006 and Section 44(2)(k) of the Constitution.

Analysts say the stage is getting set for the scenario that played out in the final forfeiture of millions of dollars bumped on by the same EFCC at an Ikoyi house which officials of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) came out to claim but failed to appear in court for claims until it was finally forfeited to the federal government.

Business Hilights recalls that since President Muhammadu Buhari won presidential election in 2015, the former Minister ran away to London and has never stepped into the country.

The property, designated as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses, according to court papers presented on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The said funds were said to have been found in a Zenith Bank account number 1013612486.

Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered the temporary forfeiture on Wednesday, following an ex parte application to that effect brought before him by a counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Anselem Ozioko.

Ozioko had told the judge that the EFCC “reasonably suspected that the property was acquired with proceeds of alleged unlawful activities of Diezani.”

The lawyer said investigations by the EFCC revealed that Diezani made the $37.5m payment for the purchase of the property in cash, adding that the money was moved straight from her house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.

“Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment. Why was she doing that? To avoid attention.

“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubts because, as of the time this happened, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” Ozioko told the court.

Listed as respondents in the application were Diezani; a legal practitioner, Afamefuna Nwokedi; and a company, Rusimpex Limited.