The former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke 58 houses linked to her were ordered to be temporary seized by the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday.
The houses situated in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt,were disclosed to have been purchased by the ex-minister between 2011 and 2013 using front companies.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission disclosed that Diezani paid $21,982,224 for the buildings, stating that the funds were proceeds of crime.
The properties listed by The Anti-Graft includes 29 terraced houses comprising eight four-bedroomed penthouse apartments, six three-bedroomed apartments, two three-bedroomed maisonettes, two twin-bedroomed apartments and one four-bedroomed apartment.
The houses, located at No. 7, Thurnbull Street and 5, Raymond Street, Yaba, were claimed bought by Diezani for the United States dollar equivalent of N937m through Chapel Properties Ltd.
Other seized buildings are 16 four-bedroomed terraced houses in Heritage Court Estate, Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu, Government Residential Area (GRA) Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt, Rivers State,at the price of N928m through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.
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The properties which also include 13 three-bedroomed terraced houses with one-room maid’s quarters ensuite for N650m through Azinga Meadows Ltd.
In an ex parte application brought on Tuesday before Justice Abdulaziz Anka by its counsel, Mr. Anselem Ozioko, the EFCC advised the judge to order the temporary seize of the properties to the Federal Government.
The judge granted the temporary forfeiture order and directed that a firm should be assigned to manage the properties.
He also ordered the publication of the interim forfeiture in a national newspaper and adjourned till September 8, 2017 for any one interested in the properties to come before the court to state why the temporary forfeiture order should not be made permanent.
Diezani, Donald Amamgbo, and four firms – Chapel Properties Limited; Blue Nile Estate Limited; Azinga Meadows Limited; and Vistapoint Property Development Limited are listed as first to sixth respondents in the suit.
Diezani used the companies as fronts for the purchase of the properties, stating that the anti-graft agency had find out 14 other firms incorporated for the ex-minister for the purpose of holding the titles to those properties Ozioko told the court.
An EFCC investigator, Mr. Sombori Mayana,in an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, said the EFCC got to know of the properties in 2016 following the execution of a search warrant on the office and premises of Amamgbo, said to be Diezani’s acquaintance.
The investigator asserted, “Among the documents recovered from the office of Mr. Donald Chidi Amamgbo was an undated report that contained a list of 18 companies and several properties located in the United Kingdom, Nigeria and the United States of America.
“During the course of his interview, Mr. Donald Amamgbo told us that he registered the 18 companies to assist Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke in holding titles of the properties.”
Mayana asserted that a principal manager and Head, Business Development of FBN Mortgages Ltd., Mrs. Bolanle Onotu, confirmed that the properties were sold by her organisation to Diezani’s alleged four proxy firms for N937m, N928m and N650m and received payment through First Bank account numbers 2004483850 and 2008133531 between September 23, 2011 and June 16, 2015.
“First Bank of Nigeria Plc stated that the source of the money was Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke and that the bank picked up United States’ dollars from her house at 10, Frederick Chiluba Close off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja,” Mayana added.
He stated that a total of $16,041,906 was picked up by the bank at Diezani’s house between September 29, 2011 and April 4, 2013 and converted to naira.
According to Mayana, another firm, Adebern Parks Nigeria Ltd. received N802,500,000 in its Zenith Bank account from an Ecobank account for the purchase of some of the properties.
A man recognised as Mr. Adeyemi Edun “received the sum of N840,000,000 from Skye Bank Plc which on his instructions transferred the sum of N805,000,000 to his Eco Bank account from where he paid Adebern Parks for the property.”