Lagos — A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the interim forfeiture of 56 properties allegedly bought by a former Minister of
Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke between 2011 and 2013 for N3.3 billion or $21,982,224 million.
A vacation judge, Justice Abdulaziz Anka, gave the order yesterday while ruling on an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In his ruling, the judge asked the anti-graft agency to appoint a firm to manage the properties and gave the respondents 14 days to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The EFCC had brought the application listing as first to sixth respondents Diezani, Donald Chidi Amamgbo and four firms: Chapel Properties Limited, Blue Nile Estate Limited, Azinga Meadows Limited and Vistapoint Property Development Limited.
According to the EFCC counsel Mr. Anselem Ozioko, Diezani had paid $16,441,906 (N2.6billion) cash in several tranches and another $5,540318 (N840,000,000) cash for the properties through the four 'front' firms listed as respondents.
The EFCC counsel said the commission had discovered 14 other firms incorporated for the ex-minister for the purpose of holding the titles to those properties.
Diezani, he added, purchased the properties from the proceeds of suspected unlawful activity during her tenure as minister.
The agency described the properties as including 29 terraced houses comprising eight four-bedroom penthouse apartments, six three-bedroom apartments, two three-bedroom maisonettes, two twin bedroom apartments and one four-bedroom apartment.
The houses, located at No. 7, Thurnbull Street and 5, Raymond Street, Yaba, were allegedly bought by Diezani for the US dollar equivalent of
N937,000,000 through Chapel Properties Ltd.
Others are 16 four-bedroom terraced houses in Heritage Court Estate Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu, Government Residential Area (GRA)
Phase 1 extension, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, purchased for N928,000,000 through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.
She allegedly purchased 13 three-bedroom terraced houses with one-room maid's quarters ensuite for N650,000,000 through Azinga Meadows Ltd.
The commission also stated that Diezani paid N805,000,000 through Vistapoint Property Development Ltd for six flats of three bedrooms and one boys' quarters each, a lawn tennis court, gym and 'matured garden'.