Chris Steven, ABuja
Chuka Obiozor, a Justice of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered the permanent forfeiture of a mansion in Banana Island, in Lagos State, belonging to Diezani Allison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The ruling followed an interim forfeiture order issued by the same court a fortnight ago after the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court that the property was the proceeds of corrupt activities.
Justice Obiozor also ordered permanent forfeiture of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, being rents so far collected on the property.
The property, located at No 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, is said to have 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses.
At the resumption of hearing on Monday, Anselem Ozioko, counsel to the EFCC, told the court that nobody had come forward to contest the interim forfeiture order placed on the property two weeks ago despite the fact that court papers were served on the respondents.
Delivering his ruling, the presiding judge said he had no option but to grant the orders as prayed by the EFCC.
“In the face of the publication, which I find in Exhibit B of the affidavit of compliance before me, and there being no responses from any interested party, I have no other option but to grant the orders as prayed,” he said.
According to the EFCC, $37.5 million cash was moved straight from Diezani’s house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.
Respondents in the case include Afamefuna Nwokedi, a legal practitioner, and a company named Rusimpex.
The court first ordered the temporary forfeiture of the $37.5m estate on June 19, following an application by the EFCC alleging that the property was secured with siphoned public funds.