The Federal High Court, Lagos on Monday ordered the permanent forfeiture of N7,646,700,000 linked to Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, to the Federal Government.
Justice Abdulazeez Anka made the order following a motion on notice argued before him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
EFCC had on August 9, 2017 obtained a court order from Justice Chuka Obiozo to temporarily forfeit the sum to the Federal Government.
According to Punch, while granting the application of the EFCC seeking the order of the court to permanently forfeit the money to the Federal Government, Justice Anka said:
“I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7,646,700,000 reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application. In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”
The counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, earlier at the Monday proceeding, while moving the application, noted that the money was a part of the sums allegedly looted by the former petroleum minister from various units of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Oyedepo further claimed that the anti-graft commission published an advert after the court ordered the money’s interim forfeiture but no one claimed its ownership.
An investigating officer with the commission, Usman Zakari, in a supporting affidavit attached to the application, stated that he was part of the team of operatives that investigated the intelligence report that huge sums were laundered.
He declared further that the former minister held a meeting with a bank chief in her office informing him that some officials of her ministry would be bringing funds to his bank.
According to him, the minister directed that the funds must neither be credited into any known account nor captured in any transactional platforms of the bank.
Meanwhile, two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Layi Babatunde and Yusuf Alli as well as a social commentator, Alhaji Olola Kassum, described the judgment as a good development.
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