A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday (February 28, 2018) ordered final forfeiture of two penthouses linked to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke who served as Minister of Petroleum Resources in the former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan government. The court, presided by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had on December 5, 2017, ordered an interim forfeiture of the properties after an ex-parte application was filed and argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC application, marked FHC/L/CS/1793c/17, had Alison-Madueke, Donald Amagbo, Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Limited as respondents. The said properties affected by the interim forfeiture are: “Penthouse 21, Building 5, Block C, 11 floor, Bella Vista, Banana Island, Ikoyi and Penthouse 22, Block B (Admiralty “Estate) also in Ikoyi, be forfeited to the federal government, pending the conclusion of investigation.’’
When the case was called up on Wednesday, Mr. ABC Ozioko announced appearance for the EFCC, while Mr. Emmanuel Bassey appeared for the second, third, and fourth respondents.
Addressing the court, Ozioko said he had a motion on notice brought pursuant to the provisions of the EFCC Act, the 1999 Constitution, as well as under the inherent jurisdiction of the court. He urged the court to order a final forfeiture of the properties listed in the schedule. Relying on the depositions in the affidavit deposed to by one Abdulrasheed Bawa, Ozioko argued that it was now pertinent for a final forfeiture order to be made, following the interim orders made on December 5, 2017.
He informed court that in compliance with the earlier orders of the court, the interim orders were advertised in the Nation Newspaper of December 20, 2017. He urged the court to cause the said properties to be permanently forfeited to the federal government and an order, prohibiting any disposal mortgage or sale of the said properties mentioned in the application. Besides, Ozioko also urged the court to authorise the EFCC to appoint a competent person or firm to manage the properties.
In its affidavit, the commission stated that during investigation into the ownerships of YF Construction Development and Real Estate Limited, one Fadi Basbous, volunteered extra-judicial statement. He said Basbous stated that the two properties, which were sold at $3.6 million and $1.2million respectively, were owned by Sequoyah Properties Limited, and Schillenburg LLC. The deponent also stated that payments for the penthouses were made by one Angela Jide-Jones and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited., respectively.
The deponent further stated that Angela Jide-Jones is the wife of Jide Omokore, while Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, was registered in the name of Jide Omokore. The deponent also stated that Jide Omokore paid for the properties through his wife and one of his companies and directed its developers to sign the agreements with Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Limited, which were linked to Alison-Madueke. He said Schillenburg LLC was registered in Hong Kong and transferred to Donald Chidi Amamgbo as sole owner. According to the deponent, Sequoyah Properties Limited was registered in Nigeria on October 11, 2011 with fictitious names as shareholders and directors.
In response, counsel to the respondents, Bassey, informed the court that he had filed a counter-affidavit before the court and was not opposed to the application for final forfeiture. In a short ruling, Justice Olatoregun granted the orders as prayed, and ordered a final forfeiture of the said properties. “I have observed the facts and exhibits attached and I am also mindful that the second, third and fourth respondents have no objections to the application. “I therefore, have no hesitation in ordering a final forfeiture of the properties to the Ffederal government,” she ruled.