Diezani Alison-Madueke Moves To Recover Seized Assets, Applies To Court
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke has taken steps to get her seized property back.
She requested that an order issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the final forfeiture of her seized assets be overturned by the Federal High Court of Abuja.
In an originating motion, Alison-Madueke requested an order extending the deadline for requesting permission to ask the court to set aside the EFCC’s public notice of its intention to conduct a public sale on her property.
The anti-corruption agency had planned to hold a public auction of all assets seized from Alison-Madueke starting on January 9 as stated in its public notice following a number of court decisions and orders issued in the commission’s favor as final forfeiture orders against the former minister’s property and personal effects.
However, the former minister asked the court for five orders in a motion dated January 6 and filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo with the file number FHC/ABJ/CS/21/2023.
The EFCC is the only respondent in the case, despite the fact that Alison-Madueke is the applicant.
The former minister claimed that there was no legal basis for the various orders, and he claimed that they “ought to be set aside ex debito justitiae.”
She claimed that throughout the entire process leading up to the orders, she was not given a fair hearing.
“The numerous court orders issued in the respondent’s favor and upon which the respondent issued the public notice to conduct public sale of the items contained in the public notice, most of which court the interest of the applicant, were issued in violation of the applicant’s right to a fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and other similar constitutional provisions,” she claimed.
She claimed that she was never served with the charge sheet, proof of evidence, or any other summons related to the criminal charges that were brought against her and were being heard by the court.
She also claimed that by withholding or failing to disclose crucial information, the courts were misled into issuing several of the final forfeiture orders against her assets.
“The various applications upon which the courts rendered the final forfeiture order against the applicant were obtained upon gross misstatements, misrepresentations, non-disclosure, concealment, and suppression of material facts. This honorable court has the authority to set-aside same ex debito justitiae, as a void order is as good as if it had never been made in the first place.
The orders were made without considering the applicant’s constitutional rights to a fair trial and to his or her property.
She cited, among other reasons, the fact that “the applicant was never served with the processes of court in all the proceedings that led to the order of final forfeiture.”
But the EFCC urged the court to reject Alison-application Madueke’s in a counter affidavit that was sworn to by Rufai Zaki, a detective with the commission.
The investigation into a case of official corruption, criminal conspiracy, and money laundering against the former minister and some other parties involved, according to Zaki, who was a member of the team, has made it abundantly clear that she was involved in some criminal activity.
According to him, Alison-Madueke was subsequently charged in court under charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.
We herein rely on the charge FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 dated November 14, 2018, which was submitted to this Honorable Court and is also attached as Exhibit C in the applicant’s affidavit, he said.
Most of the depositions, according to the EFCC agent who claimed to have seen the ex-motion, minister’s were false.
In the affidavit in support, he claimed that, in contrast to her deposition, the majority of the cases that resulted in the final forfeiture of the disputed property “were action in rem, same were heard at various times, and determined by this honourable court.”
Before making final decisions, the commission was mandated by the courts, according to him, to publish an invitation in the newspaper asking parties to provide justification as to why the property in question should not be forfeited to the federal government.
In response to one of the forfeiture applications, Zaki claimed that Nnamdi Awa Kalu spoke on behalf of the former minister.
He stated, “We humbly rely on the decision of Hon. Justice I.L.N. Oweibo dated September 10, 2019, which is shown in Exhibit C of the applicant’s affidavit.
Contrary to what the officer claimed, the court had already ordered the final forfeiture of the assets at issue in the current application since 2017 and this decision had not been overturned or reversed on appeal.
He claims that the properties have been sold in accordance with the law.
Oluchi Uche, Alison-attorney, Madueke’s explained to Justice Ekwo on Monday that they had just received service from the EFFC on Friday and needed some time to respond to the counter affidavit.
Farouk Abdullah, who was represented by the anti-graft agency, did not object, so the judge continued the case for a hearing until May 8.
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