A Federal High Court in Lagos Wednesday ordered the permanent forfeiture of 56 properties situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, valued at $21,982,224 (about N6.7 billion) and allegedly linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the federal government.
The forfeited properties included 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom penthouse apartments; six three-bedroom apartments; two three-bedroom apartments; and one four-bedroom apartment, all en suite and located at 7, Thurnburn Street and 5 Raymond Street, Yaba, valued at N937 million and bought through Chapel Properties Ltd.
Others are: 16 numbers of four-bedroom terraces, located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, River States, valued at N928 million and bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd; 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 bought through Azinga Meadows Limited; and six flats of three-bedroom and one boy's quarter, located at Plot 808 (135) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million and bought through Vistapoint Property Development Limited.
The order was sequel to the motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the permanent forfeiture of the properties.
The anti-graft agency, while urging the court to grant the motion, argued that the properties sought to be attached were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Having listened to the submissions of the EFCC lawyer, Anselem Ozioko, Justice Anka granted the motion as prayed.
In granting the motion, the judge, Justice Abdul-Azeez Anka, held that since there was no response to the applicant's motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents, despite being served with the hearing notice, he was left with no option than to grant the order.
"I have gone through the affidavit attached to the motion for final forfeiture, as well as the submissions of the EFCC counsel, A.B.C. Ozioko. The court has no option, considering the incontrovertible evidence filed by the EFCC, than to grant the application.
"The motion for final forfeiture is accordingly granted as prayed. All parties have a right of appeal," Justice Anka held.
Joined as respondents in the suit are Alison-Madueke (1st respondent), Donald Chidi Amamgbo (2nd respondent), Chapel Properties Limited (3rd respondent), Blue Nile Estate Limited (4th respondent), Azinga Meadows Limited (5th respondent) and Vistapoint Property Development Limited (6th respondent).