Court orders permanent forfeiture 56 houses linked to Diezani

Justice Abdul-Azeez Anka of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, on Wednesday, ordered the permanent forfeiture of 56 houses valued at $21, 982, 224 (about N3.3 billion), allegedly linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.

The forfeited properties, situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, included 21 mixed housing units of 8 numbers of four bedroom penthouse apartment; six numbers of three bedroom apartments; two numbers of three bedroom apartment and one number of four bedroom apartment, all ensuit 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 terrace, 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 numbers of 3 bedroom 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 Ltd and six flats of three bedroom and one boys quarter, located at Plot 808 (135) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million and bought through Vistapoint property Development Ltd.

In granting the order, the judge noted that 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.

“I have gone through the affidavit attached to motion for final forfeiture as well as the submissions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ) ‘s counsel, Anselem Ozioko. The court has no option considering the uncontrovertible evidence filed by the EFCC than to grant the application. The motion for final forfeiture is accordingly granted as prayed. All parties has a right of appeal”, Justice Anka held.

Apart from the former minister who is the first respondent in the suit, others are 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).

At the last adjourned date, three companies have approached the court to stop the permanent forfeiture, the companies which are the third, fourth and sixth respondents in the suit however, failed to filed any processes.

The permanent forfeiture order was sequel to the granting of a motion by EFCC seeking for it.

The anti-graft agency while urging the court to grant the motion argued that the property sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

Having listened to the submissions of EFCC’s lawyer, Ozioko, Justice Anka granted the motion as prayed.

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