A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered a permanent forfeiture of 153 million dollars linked to former petroleum resources minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.
The fund, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was diverted by the minister from the coffer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had traced the money to three commercial banks in the country where it was kept in the sums of N23,446, 300,000, N9,080,000,000 and $5m.
Justice Muslim Hassan, who ordered the permanent forfeiture of the fund, had last February 6, issued an interim forfeiture of the fund.
But Justice Hassan, in his final ruling on the case on Thursday, directed the permanent forfeiture of the fund.
The judge said EFCC had convinced him that the 153 million dollars was a proceed of crime.
He held, “I hereby make an order pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2016, for final forfeiture of the unclaimed sum of N23, 426, 300.000 and five million United States dollars to the Federal Government finally.
“In respect of the second respondent, learned counsel, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips, informed the court that the second respondent filed a counter-affidavit on why the sum of N9.08bn should not be forfeited.
“I have carefully examined the affidavit evidence before the court and I find that the second respondent was duly cautioned in English language before his statement was taken and so, I hold that same was taken without any evidence of inducement.
“On the whole, I am satisfied that all the conditions stated in Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offence Act was duly fulfilled by the applicant.
“I accordingly make the following orders:
“An order for the final forfeiture of the sums of N23, 426,300.000.00 and $5m being unclaimed properties to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“An order of final forfeiture is also made for the sum of N9.08bn recovered from the second respondent, to the Federal Government of Nigeria. This is my judgment,” he said.