A Federal High Court in Lagos has once again ordered a temporary forfeiture of various properties valued at N2,611,592,199, linked to the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke and her associates to the Federal Government, for being proceeds of alleged corruption.
The properties under interim seizure are located in Lagos and Rivers and Abuja.
Justice AbdulAziz Anka, gave the order on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 while granting an ex-parte application marked FHC/L/CS/1279/17, filed and argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr. Anselm Ozioko.
Respondents in the suit are Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, Mr. Donald Chidi Amamgbo, Chapel Properties Limited, Blue Nile Estate Limited, Azinga Meadows Limited and Vistapoints Property Development Limited.
The properties ordered to be temporary forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria are 21 mixed housing units of eight numbers of four bedrooms penthouse apartment; six numbers of three bedrooms apartments; two numbers of three bedrooms apartments and one numbers of four bedrooms apartment, all ensuite, located at 7, Thurnburn Street, and 5, Raymond Street, Yaba, valued at N937 million.
Another property 16-four bedrooms terrace, located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port-Harcourt, River State, valued at N928 million.
It also includes another 13 three-bedroom apartments with one room maid’s quarter, situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million, and six flats of three-bedroom units and one boys quarter, located at Plot 808 (135) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million.
The EFCC alleged that the properties were purchased by the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani and her cohort, Mr. Donald Chidi Amamgbo, through four companies; namely: Chapel Properties Limited, Blue Nile Estate Limited, Azinga Meadows Nigeria Limited and Vistapoint Property Development Limited.
In an affidavit deposed to by Sambo Muazu Mayana, an investigator with the Agency, he averred that sometimes in the year 2016, an intelligence report was received against Diezani and Amamgbo.
He said upon analysing the intelligence report, a search warrant was executed at the office and premises of Amamgbo.
The deponent also averred that among the documents recovered from Amamgbo was an undated report tltled, “Highly Confidential Attorney Work Product – August Report”.
He stated further that the said confidential report contained 18 companies and several Properties located in United Kingdom (UK), Nigeria and United State of America (USA).
According to Mayana, in the course of interviewing Amamgbo, he told the Agency that he registered the 18 companies to assist the former Petroleum Minister, Allison-Madueke in holding title of the temporary forfeited properties.
He further stated that investigation into the ownership of the said Properties indicates that FBN Mortgage Limited was the last owner on the three of the properties.
The deponent also stated that payment for the properties was received by FBN Mortgage Limited at various times from 2011 to June 16, 2015.
He swore that First Bank of Nigeria Plc stated in a letter that the source of the monies was from Mrs. Alison Madueke and that the bank picked up United State Dollars from her house located at 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, off Jose Martins Street, Asokoro, Abuja and that the sum of $3,342,307, was credited into FBN Mortgage Limited account number 2008133531.
He also stated that First Bank of Nigeria Plc, in its extra judicial statement made by its Head of Public Sector Group, also confirmed that the sum of N840 million, equivalent of $5.540, 318 million, transferred to Skye Bank by one Adeyemi Edun, was picked up on May 23, 2011, from Mrs. Diezani’s house at 10, Fredrick Chiluba Close, off Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and same was transferred on Diezani’s instruction to Skye Bank in favour of Adeyemi Edun on the same day.
The deponent urged the court to grant the application in the interest of Justice.
After listening to Ozioko’s submission, Justice Anka ordered that the listed properties in be forfeited to the Federal government at the interim.
He also ordered the EFCC to appoint a competent person(s) or firm to manage the temporary forfeited assets/properties.
He further directed the anti-graft agency to notify the respondents in whose possession the properties are, to appear before the court and show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal government permanently.
Justice Anka also directed the EFCC to publish the interim order in a national newspaper for the respondents and anyone who is interested in the properties to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final forfeiture order should not be made.
By Chinyere Obia