" I Want My Gold I-phone And Jewellery Back" - Diezani Tells Court
The former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to refuse an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the final forfeiture of her 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised golden iPhone.
The court on July 5 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the items valued at $40million (about N14.4billion), which were recovered from the former minister’s home.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo ruled on an ex-parte application in which the commission said the items were suspected to be bought with illicitly acquired funds.
But, in a counter-motion filed through her lawyer Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), Mrs Alison-Madueke urged the court to order that the items be returned to her.
She accused the EFCC of gaining access to her apartment illegally and taking the items without a court order
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Besides, she said seizing her jewellery was a violation of her fundamental right to own property under sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution and “to appropriate them at her discretion”.
Mrs Alison-Madueke said to be under investigation in the United Kingdom, urged the court to reject EFCC’s prayer to permanently forfeit the jewellery and the golden iPhone to the Federal Government.
The former minister contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant the interim forfeiture order.
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According to her, EFCC did not charge her with any crime or serve her with any summons.
Mrs Alison-Madueke said the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial to her because she was denied fair hearing.
Hearing on the application was stalled on Monday due to Prof Kalu’s absence.
A lawyer from his chambers, Chukwuka Obidike, said the SAN was handling an election petitions case.
He sought an adjournment.