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Appeal Court dismisse Diezani suit challenging forfeiture of jewellery

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How Nigerian bank director helped Diezani transfer ‎money to the UK— EFCC

The Court of Appeal Lagos Division has dismissed the suit filed by the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, over the forfeiture of her $40million worth of jewellery to the Federal Government.

Justice Festus Obande, who read the judgment on Friday, dismissed the move by the former minister to challenge the forfeiture order.

According to him, there was no substance in Alison-Madueke’s bid to overturn the lower court’s order.

Barring any appeal by the former minister to the Supreme Court, the court held that the pieces of jewellery are to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

This latest ruling reaffirmed the 2019 judgment of Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court which forfeited the jewellery following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

On July 5, 2019, EFCC secured an order of the high court temporarily forfeiting the jewellery to the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: EFCC arraigns varsity bursar for alleged N6m fraud

Justice Oweibo had held that the former Minister failed to show cause why the jewellery should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

In his application for the final forfeiture order, EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo had told the judge that the items were reasonably suspected to have been acquired with the proceeds of unlawful activities of the former minister.

An investigator with the Commission, Rufai Zaki, in an affidavit before the court insisted that the jewellery were beyond the former minister’s “known and provable lawful income.”

The investigator further said that findings by the EFCC showed that she started acquiring the jewellery in 2012, two years after she was appointed Minister.

“The respondent did not utilise her salary or any part of her legitimate income to acquire the assets sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Zaki said.

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