The federal high court in Ikoyi, Lagos has granted the final forfeiture of the $40-Million worth of jewellery seized from Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, to the Nigerian government.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo ordered the final forfeiture on Tuesday.
He said the former Minister failed to show cause why the jewellery should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had argued that the expensive jewellery were reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.
An investigator with the Commission, Rufai Zaki, in an affidavit put before the court insisted that the jewellery were beyond the former Minister’s “known and provable lawful income".
The investigator further said that findings by the EFCC showed that she started acquiring the jewellery in 2012, two years after she was appointed a minister.
The investigator also said that the EFCC was in possession of the details of the bank account through which Alison-Madueke received her salary as a minister.
“The respondent did not utilize her salary or any part of her legitimate income to acquire the assets sought to be forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria,” Zaki said.
He said a “damning intelligence report” received by the commission led to the search of the former minister’s house at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja.
The former minister on her part had challenged the seizure of the jewellery from her residence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In an affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel, Awa Kalu (SAN), Alison-Madueke, 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.
She also accused the anti-graft agency of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.
On July 5, 2019, EFCC had secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the expensive pieces of jewellery to the federal government.
According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorized 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.