Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos, today, fixed September 10, for ruling on the final forfeiture of $40 million USD jewelry and other items belonging to former Nigeria petroleum Minister, Mr. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Justice Oweibo fixed the date after after hearing applications filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the application challenging the court’s jurisdiction by Diezani’s lawyer Nnamdi Awa-Kalu.
It would be recalled that Justice Oweibo had in July, ordered temporary forfeiture of the ornaments, following an exparte application brought before the court by the EFCC.
In the application, the EFCC had alleged that the $40 USD jewelries and other items are product of unlawful activities.
These items include over 419 bangles, 315 rings, 304 earrings, 189 wristwatches, 267 necklaces, and a customised gold iPhone.
At the resumed hearingbof the matter today, Diezani’s lawyer, Nnamdi Awa-Kalu, told the court that his client’s application challenging court’s jurisdiction is pursuant to section 43 and 44 of the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and 83 and 84 of the EFCC Act.
Awa-kalu also told the court that the application is supported with an 11 paragraph affidavit.
He urges the court to refuse the EFCC’s application and discharge the interim order placed on his client’s items.
But the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo urged court to discountenance Diezani’s application, he submitted that the court is empowered by section 17 and 14 of the Advance Fee Fraud to hear and determined a case of this nature.
Oyedepo also told the court that the objections raised by Diezani’s was not an issue, as a case of this nature has been settled in an Appeal court decision in a case between Federal Republic of Nigeria and Patience Jonathan and LAWarri Furniture Limited and some other cases of its nature.
He therefore urged the court to dismiss the respondent’s application and also make an order for final forfeiture of the said items.
Upon listening to both parties, Justice Oweibo, adjourned the matter till September 10, for judgment.
At the last court hearing, Mrs Alison-Madueke defended her ownership of the items and accused EFCC of violating her privacy by entering her apartments without a court order.
The former Nigeria petroleum Minister is currently ln United Kingdom where she is also being investigated for money laundering.