Exiled former Nigeria minister forfeits $153m to state
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Exiled former Nigeria minister forfeits $153m to state

Posted MOHAMMED MOMOH in Abuja

on  Friday, February 17  2017 at  16:21

Nigeria’s former Petroleum minister who fled to the UK is to permanently forfeit $153 million to the government, a court has ruled.

The Federal High Court made the order against Diezani Allison-Madueke after its sessions in Lagos.

The suit seeking the forfeiture was filed by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

Justice Muslim Hassan ruled in favour of EFCC for permanent forfeiture.

The money

The court had on January 6 issued an interim order of forfeiture of the money to the federal government.

EFCC had initiated an ex-parte application, seeking the temporary forfeiture of the sum which it claimed was linked to the former minister.

Also joined in the suit was Dauda Lawal, as respondent.

The respondent

The court had also issued 14 days to any interested party to prove the legitimacy of the money, failing which it would be permanently forfeited to the government.

At the last sitting on January 24, EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo and Charles Adeogun and the respondent (Lawal), had argued their originating processes.

Mr Oyedepo urged the court to make the interim order absolute. He also urged the court to order the forfeiture of other sums to which no claim had been laid.

Directing a refund

Mr Adeogun urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of N9.08 billion to the second respondent on the grounds that it was obtained by coercion.

He argued that before such forfeiture orders could be made, it had to be ascertained “that the property in question is unclaimed, and that such property or funds formed proceeds of an unlawful act".

Justice Hassan, in his judgment, ordered a final forfeiture of the unclaimed sum of N23.43 billion and $5 million (summing to $153 million) to the Federal Government.