Former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke has permanently forfeited the 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40m, recovered from her Abuja home to the federal government.
Concise News reports that in a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Nicholas Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday held that Diezani, through her lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN), failed to show cause why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had told the judge that the jewellery and iPhone were reasonably suspected to be acquired with fraud proceeds.
The anti-graft agency said the items were beyond Diezani’s legitimate earnings.
However, the former minister asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to reject an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of her items.
In a counter-motion filed through her lawyer Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), Mrs. Alison-Madueke urged the court to order that the items be returned to her.
The former minister accused the anti-graft agency of gaining access to her apartment illegally and taking the items without a court order.
Besides, she said seizing her jewellery was a violation of her fundamental right to own property under sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution and “to appropriate them at her discretion”.
She urged the court to reject EFCC’s prayer to permanently forfeit the jewellery and the golden iPhone to the Federal Government.
She argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant the interim forfeiture order.
According to her, EFCC did not charge her with any crime or serve her with any summons.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke said the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial to her because she was denied fair hearing.