The Minister for Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, has finally forfeited the $40 million worth of jewellery seized from her residence to the Federal Government.
Naija News reports that the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos upheld the final forfeiture order in a ruling on Friday and dismissed an appeal filed by the former minister.
Allison-Madueke had challenged the seizure of the jewellery from her premises by the EFCC and accused the anti-graft agency of entering her apartment illegally.
In a judgement read by Justice Festus Obande, the appellate court ruled that there was no substance to Diezani’s appeal to overturn the lower court’s order.
The judge held that the former Minister failed to show cause why the jewellery should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Appeal Court upheld the judgement of the Federal High Court in 2019, which forfeited the jewellery following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency had secured an order from the court to temporarily forfeit the expensive items to the Federal Government.
The jewellery which is 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.”
In his application for the final forfeiture order, EFCC counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo had told the judge that the items were reasonably suspected to have been acquired with the proceeds of unlawful activities of the former minister.
An investigator with the Commission, Rufai Zaki, in an affidavit before the court insisted that the jewellery were beyond the former minister’s “known and provable lawful income.”
The investigator further said that findings by the EFCC showed that she started acquiring the jewellery in 2012, two years after she was appointed Minister.
The investigator also said that the EFCC was in possession of the details of the bank account through which Mrs Alison-Madueke received her salary as a minister.
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