By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the permanent forfeiture of 56 houses situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja valued at $21,982,224 (about N3.3 billion) allegedly linked to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.
Trial judge is Justice Abdul-Azeez Anka.
The forfeited property include 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom penthouse apartments; six three-bedroom apartments; two three-bedroom apartments and one 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 four-bedroom terrace, located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, valued at N928 million and bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd; 13 three-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 quarters, located at Plot 808 (135) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million and bought through Vistapoint Property Development Ltd.
The order followed an application by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, seeking the permanent forfeiture of the property.
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.
After listening to the argument of EFCC’s council, Anselem Ozioko, Justice Anka granted the application as prayed.
Granting the application, the judge noted that there was no response to the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents despite been served with the hearing notice.
“I have gone through the affidavit attached to motion for final forfeiture as well as the submissions of the EFCC’s 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.