Court orders permanent forfeiture of N7.6bn linked to Diezani

Diezani Alison-Madueke
Diezani Alison-Madueke

A federal high court sitting in Lagos has ordered the permanent forfeiture of N7,646,700,000 said to have been illegally kept in Sterling Bank.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had linked the money to Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources.

Chuka Obiozor, a judge, who gave the judgment on Monday, had ordered the permanent forfeiture of a $37.5m sky-scrapper in Banana Island, Lagos, allegedly owned by Diezani.

The commission had told Obiozor through an ex parte application that the N7.6bn was part of the $153,310,000 which Alison-Madueke allegedly siphoned from the coffers of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2014.

The EFCC also alleged that the former minister stashed the money away in three banks and that the federal government had since February last year, through an order granted by another judge, Muslim Hassan, recovered part of the money.

It urged the court to order Sterling Bank to release to the federal government the said sum still in its custody.

Obiozor had granted an interim order for the forfeiture of the funds, but on Monday he gave a permanent order for the seizure of the funds.