On-the-run Nigerian ex-minister forfeits 56 houses

Diezani Alison-Madueke who served as Nigeria's Oil minister from 2010-2015. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Nigeria’s embattled former Oil minister Diezani Allison-Madueke has been ordered to forfeit 56 houses to the government.

The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, gave the order on Wednesday after estimating the value of the properties to be $22 million.

Allison-Madueke is currently in hiding in the UK.

The ex-minister who is also facing money laundering charges in London and the US, is to forfeit the houses in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

The properties include 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom penthouse apartment, six three-bedroom apartments, two three-bedroom apartments and one four-bedroom apartment.

The properties are located at 7, Thurnburn St., and 5, Raymond St., Yaba in Lagos, valued at $2.67 million and bought through Chapel Properties Ltd.

The 16 four-bedroom terrace located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, River state, valued at $2.57 million, were bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.

Others are 13 units of three-bedroom with one room servant’s quarter situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja.

Also targeted are A six flats of three-bedroom and one servant's quarter located at Plot 808 (135), Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The forfeiture order followed a plea by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency, while urging the court to grant the plea, argued that the properties “are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities”.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted the motion.

The judge noted that there was no response to the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents in spite of the fact that they were served with the hearing notice.

“The motion for final forfeiture is accordingly granted as prayed. All parties have a right of appeal,” the judge ruled.

Allison-Madueke is also facing charges concerning a confidential report on 18 companies and several properties located in the UK and US.

Some of her money found in her various bank accounts in Nigeria had also been forfeited to government.

The money included $3,342,307 in First Bank and $5,540, 318 in Skye Bank.

Allison-Madueke is facing a US civil forfeiture case on $144 million of assets seized from two associates, Mr Jide Omokore and Mr Kola Aluko.

The two businessmen were heavily favoured by Allison-Madueke, during her tenure as Oil minister.

Since leaving office in 2015, Allison-Madueke has been implicated in bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds, and money laundering cases in Nigeria, Britain, Italy and the US.

President Muhammadu Buhari, elected in 2015 on a promise to eliminate graft, has said that “mind-boggling” sums of public money were stolen by previous administrations.

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