Diezani’s Appeal To Recover $40M Jewelry From Government Fails
EFCC’s search on the former Minister’s house was based on a damning intelligence report.
The Court of Appeal Lagos Division on Friday November 26, 2021 rejected an appeal by the embattled former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, questioning the forfeiture of her $40 million jewelry to the Federal Government. The appellate court held that there was no substance in Alison-Madueke’s proposal to reverse the lower court’s order.
It corroborated the 2019 decision of Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court which relinquished the jewelry following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Nation reports that the appellate court gave its judgment in an appeal filed by Alison-Madueke marked as Appeal No CA/L/1263/19 between (DIEZANI ALISON MADUEKE and the EFCC).
On July 5, 2019, the EFCC obtained an order of the high court temporarily forfeiting the costly items to the Federal Government
According to the agenda tied to the application, the jewelry 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.”
The items were confiscated from the former Minister’s premises, at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja.
Justice Oweibo on July 19, 2019 granted the EFCC’s motion for final forfeiture of the jewelry.
The judge held that the former Minister failed to show reason why the jewelry should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Counsel to the EFCC Mr Rotimi Oyedepo in his application for the final forfeiture order, told the judge that the items were reasonably believed to have been amassed with the proceeds of illicit activities of the former minister.
Also an investigator with the Commission, Rufai Zaki, in an affidavit before the court insisted that the jewelry were beyond Allison-Madueke’s “known and provable lawful income.”
Zaki further said the findings by the EFCC showed that she started acquiring the jewelleries in 2012, two years after she was appointed a Minister.
He also explained that the EFCC was in custody of the details of the bank account through which Alison-Madueke received her salary as a minister.
“The respondent did not utilise her salary or any part of her legitimate income to acquire the assets sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Zaki said.
On her part Alisson-Madueke had questioned the seizure of the jewelry from her premises by the EFCC.
An affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel, Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), contended that the EFCC violated her fundamental right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion, under sections 43 and 44 of the constitution.
Allison-Madueke also accused the anti-graft agency of infiltrating her apartment illegally and seizing the items without any court order.
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