Court orders permanent forfeiture of Diezani’s $153.3m to FG

Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered permanent forfeiture of the sum of $153 million linked to a former Petroleum Minister Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The judge had on January 6 issued an interim order for the forfeiture of the said money to the Federal Government following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Hassan had also issued a 14 days ultimatum to any interested party to appear before it and prove the legitimacy of the monies.

Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke speaks at a media briefing on a new gas price regime in the capital of Abuja May 27, 2010.Nigeria's state power company will pay energy companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil more for their gas to encourage investment and boost supply capacity, the oil minister said on Thursday.REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (NIGERIA - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY)

former Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke

The anti-graft commission had initiated the ex-parte application,the seeking the forfeiture of the said money said to be subject of fraud.

At the last adjourned day, EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo and Mr. Charles Adeogun, counsel representing the second defendants, Dauda Lawal argued their originating processes before the court.

Oyedepo had urged the court to make the interim order absolute and order a final forfeiture of the sums to the federal government.

He had also urged the court to order the forfeiture of other sums to which no claim had been laid.

But in his argument, Adeogun urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of the sum of N9.08billion out of the said some which the respondent (Dauda) claimed belongs to him.

He had urged the court to order a refund of the sum of N9.08 billion to the second respondent on the grounds that same was obtained by coercion.

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Delivering his judgment on Thursday, Justice Hassan ordered a final forfeiture of the unclaimed sum of N23, 426,300.00 and $5 million to the Federal Government.

He also ordered the final forfeiture of the N9.8 billion the second defendants claimed belong to him.

“I have carefully examined the affidavit evidence before the court and I find that the second respondent was duly cautioned in English language before his statement was taken and so, I hold that same was taken without any evidence of inducement.

“On the whole I am satisfied that all the conditions stated in section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related offence Act, was duly fulfilled by the applicant (EFCC),” the judge held.

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