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Forfeiture: Courts takes N7.6billion from Diezani

*Despite interim forfeiture of properties worth $21,392,224

Justice Abdulaziz Anka of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered permanent forfeiture of N 7, 644, 700, 000.00 belonging to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.

The money which is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of illegal activities was traced by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to an account in a new generation bank. It is said to among monies allegedly stashed in several local banks by the former minister.

The ruling by Justice Abdulaziz Anka followed an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government.

This came on the heels of the interim forfeiture order by Justice  Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High court in which he mandated the Commission to publish a notice in the media requesting any interested party to show cause within two weeks, why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

At the hearing, Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the Court that the interim order had been published in a national newspaper as directed and no one contested the forfeiture order. Urging the court to order a permanent forfeiture of the funds, Oyedepo said, “I pray my Lord to order the forfeiture of this money to the Federal Government of Nigeria for it to be utilised for Nigerians, since no one is willing to contest this application.

Delivering his judgement on the application, Justice Anka held that, “In the face of the publication, which I find before me and there being no responses from any interested party, I have no other option but to grant the orders as prayed”.

This final forfeiture is coming few days after the same Judge ordered an interim forfeiture of properties worth $21,392,224 linked to the former minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.  

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