Court orders final forfeiture of Diezani’s $40m worth of jewellery

Court orders final forfeiture of Diezani's $40m worth of jewellery Court orders final forfeiture of Diezani's $40m worth of jewellery

The Court of Appeal Lagos Division has dismissed an appeal by the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, challenging the forfeiture of her $40million worth of jewellery to the Federal Government.

Justice Festus Obande who delivered the judgment on Friday held that there was no substance in Mrs Alison-Madueke’s bid to overturn the lower court’s order.

The appellate court affirmed the 2019 judgment of Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court In Lagos, which forfeited the jewellery following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

On July 5, 2019, the EFCC secured an order of the high court temporarily forfeiting the expensive items to the Federal Government.

According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, 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.”

The items were seized from the former minister’s premises, at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja.

Then, Justice Oweibo on July 19, 2019 granted the EFCC’s motion for final forfeiture of the jewellery after hearing the arguments of its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, on grounds that the former Minister failed to show cause why the jewellery should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

But, Mrs Allison-Madueke had challenged the seizure of the jewellries from her premises by the EFCC.

An affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel, Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), stated that Mrs Diezani, who is currently in the United Kingdom, alleged that the EFCC violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections 43 and 44 of the constitution.

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