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Tuesday, 31 January 2023 08:19

Forfeiture: Diezani renews bid to reclaim forfeited properties

Diezani Alison Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources has initiated a process at the Federal High Court, Abuja, to reverse the final forfeiture orders on her properties in Nigeria and abroad.

In a fresh motion filed by her lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), in Abuja, before the Federal High Court, Diezani is seeking, among others, an order extending the time within which to seek leave to apply to the court for an order to set aside the public notice by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to conduct a sale on her properties.

She said the motion is intended against the recent notice by the EFCC for the forfeited assets disposal, some of which included that of the former minister.

In a supporting affidavit, the former minister also noted that the EFCC planned to conduct a public sale of all forfeited assets, beginning from January 9 as contained in its public notice following various court judgements and orders in favour of the commission as final forfeiture orders against property and personal effects linked to her.

Seeking five reliefs, she argued, among others, that she was not heard before the orders for forfeiture were issued, thereby denying her rights.

She added that various courts issued the forfeiture judgement regarding her assets without jurisdiction.

She said, The various court orders were issued in breach of the right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as altered, and other similar constitutional provisions.

She stated that she was neither served with the charge sheet and proof of evidence in any of the charges nor any other summons, howsoever and whatsoever, in respect of the criminal charges against her before the court.

The courts, she said, were misled into making the final forfeiture orders through suppression or non disclosure of material facts.

EFCC, in its counter affidavit, faulted Diezani’s arguments, stating that not only was she represented in some of the proceedings, but publications were also made to alert interested parties about pending forfeiture applications.

Rufai Zaki, the commission official, who claimed to be part of the team that investigated a case of official corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy against the former minister and others involved in the case, said an investigation showed that she was involved in some acts of criminality.

Zaki stated that following his team’s findings, she was charged before the Federal High court in a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.

The official recalled that a man identified as Nnamdi Awa Kalu represented the former minister in the hearing of one of such forfeiture applications.

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