Court orders forfeiture of Diezani’s $4.760m houses to FG

JUSTICE Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, yesterday ordered that two properties  linked to the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Justice Olatoregun ordered that two properties, namely  Penthouse 21 building 5, Block C, 11 floor (Bella Vista Estate) Banana Island, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 22, Block B (Admiralty Estate) also in Ikoyi, Lagos, be forfeited to the Nigerian government, pending the conclusion of the investigation.

The Judge made the order while granting an Ex-parte application for interim forfeiture of the said properties, filed and argued before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through its lawyer, Anslem Ozioko. The anti- graft agency in the Ex-parte application marked FHC/L/CS/1793c/17, which has Diezani Alison-Madueke, Donald Amagbo, Schillenburg LLC, and Sequoyah Property Limited, as respondents, asked the court for an interim forfeiture order, forfeiting the said buildings to the Federal government of Nigeria.

EFCC also asked the court for an order prohibiting any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the said assets/properties, as they were suspected to be proceed of unlawful activity.

The commission further asked for an order authorising it to appoint a competent person(s)/ firms to manage the said two properties. Ozioko  told the court that the application was brought pursuant to sections 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act number 14, 2006, and section 44(2)(b) and(k) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.

The EFCC in an affidavit deposed to by one of its investigators, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated that during investigation into the ownership of the two properties, YF Construction Development and Real Estate Ltd, and that the firm’s deputy Managing Director, one Mr. Fadi Basbous, volunteered extra-judicial statement, wherein he stated that the two properties were sold at $3.570m, and $1.194 m, and owned by Sequoyah Properties Limited, and Schillenburg LLC.

The deponent also stated that the payment for the Penthouse 22, Block B, 8, Gerrard road, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 21, Building 5,Block C, 11 floor, Plot1, Zone N, FGN layout,  Banana Island, Ikoyi, were made Mrs Angela Jide-Jones, and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, respectively.

The deponent further stated that the said Mrs. Angela Jide-Jone, is the wife of Jide Omokore, while the said Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, is registered and promotes by Jide Omokore.

The deponent said that Jide Omokore paid for the properties through his wife, Angela, and one of his companies, and directed the developers (seller) of the properties to sign the agreements with Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Limited, both of which are linked to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. According to the deponent Schillenburg LLC was registered in Hongkong, and transferred on March 30, 2012, to Donald Chidi Amamgbo as sole owner, while Sequoyah Properties Limited, is registered in Nigeria, on October 11, 2011, with fictitious names of Chukwudima Nwako and Olisa Eloka, as shareholders and directors.

He added  that Donald Chidi Amamgbo stated in his extra judicial statement that he incorporated Schillenburg LLC and submitted same to Mrs. Diezani  Alison-Madueke for a transaction.

Justice Olatoregun, after listening to the submissions of the EFCC lawyer, granted the application and ordered that the two properties be temporary forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria, and also prohibited any disposal, conveyance mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or the said properties.

The judge, however, refused to grant the order authorising the anti-graft agency to appoint a competent person(s) or firm to manage the said two properties. The matter has been adjourned till December 15.  –  Vanguard


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