Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has in an affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel; Prof Awa Kalu (SAN) challenged the seizure of jewelries worth $40m from her premises by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Diezani, 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.
She also accused the anti-graft agency of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.
Recall that on July 5, 2019, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had secured a court order temporarily forfeiting the expensive jewelleries to the Federal Government.
The EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, in an exparte application, made before Justice Nicholas Oweibo told the court that the expensive jewelries comprising wristwatches, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, earrings, a customized gold phone and more were reasonably suspected to have being acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities of the former Minister.
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.”
Oyedepo said “the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
After granting the interim forfeiture order on July 5, the court adjourned proceedings for Diezani or anyone interested in the jewellery and gold iPhone to appear before it to give reasons why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.