Fmr Oil Minister Diezani finally forfeits Port Harcourt property to FG
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos and presided over by Justice Austin Chuka Obiozor has ordered the permanent forfeiture of property at Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, linked to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Petroleum Minister, to the Federal Government.
The court ordered the final forfeiture of the said property, while granting an application brought before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The property consists of Plot 9 on Nnamdi Azikwe Road, Port-Harcourt GRA, and UAC Property, Force Avenue, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Justice Obiozor had on April 14 granted an interim forfeiture of the said property, following EFCC’s ex parte application.
While granting the ex parte application, the judge ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper for Diezani or any other interested party or persons to show cause why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
Earlier, Mr. Ebuka Okongwu, counsel to the EFCC, had informed the court that the said interim order had been duly obliged and that it had been published in the Nation newspaper of April 15.
He also informed the court that till today, nobody or party has filed any objection to the application.
He also told the court that the application for final forfeiture was pursuant to section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act.
He, therefore, urged the court to grant the application.
The second respondents in the suit, Donald Chidi Amangbo and Sequoyah Properties Limited, however, filed an objection to application through their lawyer.
The lawyer told the court that he had filed a counter-affidavit dated June 7 without any exhibit or written address to the application.
The lawyer also told the court that he left the court to decide on the application.
Ruling on the application, Justice Obiozor held, “Sequel to the order of interim forfeiture granted in consistence with section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2014, the court directed the applicant to publish the order in a national newspaper, especially in Port-Harcourt and Lagos, the idea is to afford any parties fair hearing.
“I see that the order was complied with in the applicant’s exhibit EFCC 22, attached with the motion on notice for final forfeiture.
“I also know that by the consequence of the publication, the second and third respondents filed a counter, showing that they are only concerned but not opposed to the final forfeiture of the properties. In the absence of no any counter from the respondents, I have no reason not to grant this application.
“Upon careful appraisal of the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture before me, I found that the properties of the respondents constitute a proceed of unlawful act.
“The second and third respondents are not challenging the application; and the first respondent opted out of the proceeding.
“The applicant (EFCC) has discharged the burden of prove on it; consequently, the prayer of the applicant succeeds.
“The order of this court for final forfeiture of Plot 9, Nnamdi Azikwe Road, Port-Harcourt GRA, and UAC Property, Force Avenue, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, is shown in the schedule through the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture order dated 9th May, 2019, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”