The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday ordered the temporary forfeiture of 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, seized from Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.
The items, valued at $40million (about N14.4b), were recovered from the home of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo ordered their temporary forfeiture as prayed for by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The commission, in an ex-parte application moved by Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, said the items were suspected to have been acquired with illicitly acquired funds.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke is the defendant in the application filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Offences Act No. 14, 2006.
The EFCC said it found and recovered the jewelries and the customised gold iPhone “on the premises of the respondent”.
It added that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
According to a schedule attached to the application, the jewelries, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles and 315 expensive rings.
Others are 304 expensive earrings, 267 expensive necklaces, 189 expensive wristwatches and 174 expensive necklaces and earrings.
The rest are 78 expensive bracelets, 77 expensive brooches, and 74 expensive pendants.
EFCC said: “The respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Justice Oweibo ordered that the 2,149 pieces of jewelries and the customised gold iPhone should be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the forfeiture order in a national newspaper.
It is “for the respondent or anyone who is interested in the property sought to be forfeited to appear before this honourable court to show cause within 14 days why a final forfeiture order of the said properties should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The judge adjourned till August 23.