A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today ordered a temporary forfeiture the sum $2, 740, 197. 96 million , another sum of N84, 537, 840. 70 million, belonging to the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison Madueke.
The court presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor also ordered temporary forfeiture of a building known as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista, located at Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government layout, Bananan Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to the former Petroleum Minister, to the Federal government of Nigeria.
Justice Obiozor made the temporary order while granting an Ex-parte application filed and argued before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Diezani, a lawyer and a company.
The lawyer is Afamefuna Nwokedi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), while the company in the suit was Rusimpex Limited, whom the EFCC claimed to have been conduit pipe which Diezani used in syphoning the money used in buying the seized property.
The EFCC in an affidavit in support of the application, deposed to by AbdulRasheed Bawa, an Investigator with the Commission, argued by Mr. Anselm Ozioko, sometimes in 2013, the former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, invited Barrister
The court also granted EFCC’s request that Afamefuna Nwoke, the Principal Counsel of Stillwater Law Firm to her house in Abuja, for a meeting, where she told Nwokedi to incorporate a company and used same as front to manage landed properties on her behalf without having her name in any of the Incorporation documents and further directed the lawyer to meet with Mr. Bisi Onasanya, the then Group Managing Director of First Bank Plc for the said purpose.
The deponent also stated that upon inviting Onasanya, he volunteered an extra judicial statement wherein he stated that he marketed a property at Bella Vista, Banana Island, Lagos, belonging to Youseff Fattau of Ibatex Nigeria Limited to Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke, through her lawyer, Mr. Nwokedi (SAN), and the payment for the property was made through Abuja office of First Bank Plc.
It was further stated that in carrying out the alleged fraud, Mr. Nwokedi incorporated a company known as Rusimpex Limited on September 11, 2013, with its corporate office at 3-5, Oniru Road, Ikoyi, the same corporate address of Stillwater Law Firm.
The deponent also stated that the two directors of the company are: Adetula Ayokunle, a lawyer in Nwokedi’s Law, who was allocated 9, 900 shares and one Vladmir Jourauleu, a Russian.
He however stated that at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it was recorded that both Adetula Ayokunle and Vladimir Jourauleu are the owners and shareholders of Rusimpex Limited, while the Power of Attorney and Board Resolution of the company revealed that Mr. Nwokedi (SAN) runs the Affairs of the company and by extension the property in question.
The deponent also stated that the third respondent, Rusimpex Limited paid a total sum of $37, 500 million to YF Construction Development and Real Estate Limited, as cost of the property and that the money was paid from the First Bank Plc
The deponent however stated that upon investigation of the money from First Bank Plc, a staff of the bank, Mr. Barau Muazu wrote to the Commission and his Extra-judicial statement that the bank made the payment of $37, 500 million to Ibatex Nigeria Limited and YF Construction Development and Real Estate Limited on behalf of Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke and that the bank collected the said sum in cash from the former Minister of Petroleum at her residence 10, Fredrick Chiluba Close, off Jose Martins Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
After arguing the Ex-parte application, the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Ozioko, urged the court to grant his Commission’s application.
Consequently, Justice Chuka Obiozor, ordered that the sum of $2, 740, 197. 96 million, another sum of N84, 537, 840. 70 million, and a building known as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista, located at Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government layout, Bananan Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to Diezani be temporary forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The judge also ordered the anti-graft agency to publish in a national newspaper the Forfeiture order, for any interest person or persons to show cause with 14 days so that the order will not be made permanent.
The court also granted an order authorising EFCC for interim appointment of a competent person(s)/firm to manage the asset/property situated at Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista, located at Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government layout, Bananan Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the conclusion of Investigation.
The matter has been adjourned till August 7, for further hearing.