Alison-Madueke Asks Court To Stop Seizure Of Her $40m Jewelleries By EFCC

Alison-Madueke Asks Court To Stop Seizure Of Her $40m Jewelleries By EFCC

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke on Monday urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to seize $40 million worth of jewelleries allegedly recovered from her house.

The former Minister in a counter affidavit filed in response to an application for the final forfeiture of the seized 2,149 pieces of jewelleries and a customised gold iPhone insisted that the move by the EFCC is a violation of her right to own property.

In the affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel, Professor Awa Kalu (SAN), Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who is currently in the United Kingdom on self-exile, accused the anti-graft agency of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.

It would be recalled that Justice Chuka Obiozor had on July 5, 2019, after entertaining an ex-parte application brought before him by EFCC ordered the temporary forfeiture of the expensive jewelleries to the federal government of Nigeria.

The EFCC had through its Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo,  told the judge that the expensive jewelleries comprising wristwatches, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, earrings, a customized gold phone and more were reasonably suspected to have being acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities of the former Minister.

According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”

Oyedepo said “the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

After granting order, Justice Obiozor had adjourned proceedings for Mrs. Alison-Madueke or any other person interested in the jewellery and gold iPhone to appear before him to give reasons why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the government.

But in her counter application, the embattled former Minister maintained that “the court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the interim forfeiture order in the first place as she had not been charged with any crime or served with any summons by the EFCC.”

She argued that the entry into her apartment by EFCC operatives was illegal as it was without a court order.

Her lawyers also submitted that the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial to their client because she was denied fair hearing.

The application, could however not be argued today as Prof. Kalu was unable to come to court.

A lawyer from his chambers, Chukwuka Obidike, told the court that the senior lawyer was engaged in election petitions, and asked the court to grant an adjournment.

The court has adjourned the case till August 29 for the hearing of the application.

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