A process to overturn the final forfeiture judgments on Diezani Alison Madueke’s properties in Nigeria and overseas has been started at the Federal High Court in Abuja by the former minister of petroleum resources.
Diezani is asking, among other things, an order extending the time within which to apply for leave to seek a court order to set aside the public notice by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to conduct a sale on her properties, in a new motion filed by her attorney, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Diezani claimed that the motion was made in opposition to the EFCC’s most recent notification about the sale of forfeited assets, some of which belonged to the former minister.
Diezani also stated in a supporting affidavit that the EFCC intended to hold a public sale of all forfeited assets, starting on January 9, as stated in its public notice, in response to numerous court rulings and orders in the commission’s favor as final forfeiture orders against property and personal effects connected to her.
She sought five reliefs, claiming, among other things, that her rights were violated since she wasn’t given a chance to be heard before the orders for forfeiture were made.
She further said that several courts had imposed forfeiture judgments against her assets without having the proper jurisdiction.
The different court rulings, according to her, violated other similar constitutional principles including the right to a fair trial as granted by Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
She stated that she was neither served with the charge sheet and proof of evidence in any of the charges nor any other summons, howsoever and whatsoever, in respect of the criminal charges against her before the court.
The courts, she said, were misled into making the final forfeiture orders through suppression or non disclosure of material facts.
EFCC, in its counter affidavit, faulted Diezani’s arguments, stating that not only was she represented in some of the proceedings, but publications were also made to alert interested parties about pending forfeiture applications.
Rufai Zaki, the commission official, who claimed to be part of the team that investigated a case of official corruption, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy against the former minister and others involved in the case, said an investigation showed that she was involved in some acts of criminality.
Zaki stated that following his team’s findings, she was charged before the Federal High court in a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.
The official recalled that a man identified as Nnamdi Awa Kalu represented the former minister in the hearing of one of such forfeiture applications.