UPDATE: Judge hails EFCC, explains final forfeiture of N34 billion linked to Diezani

Diezani Alison-Madueke
Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court Thursday ordered a “final forfeiture” of N34 billion linked to former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

In a judgment delivered inside his tiny courtroom, Mr. Hassan said the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) proved satisfactorily that the funds were proceeds of illegal activity.

“I commend the EFCC for their unrelenting efforts,” said Mr. Hassan, a former EFCC prosecutor. “It is a very good development for Nigeria.”

The anti-graft agency had, on January 6, brought an application seeking an order for the interim forfeiture of $153.3 million allegedly belonging to Mrs. Alison-Madueke to the Nigerian government.

Out of the funds, N23.4 billion was kept in Sterling Bank Plc, N9.08 billion in First Bank Plc, and $5 million in Access Bank Plc.

In granting the order, the judge had given the banks – and any other interested party – 14 days to appear before him and prove legitimacy of the monies or permanently forfeit them to the Nigerian government.

On January 24, an executive director at First Bank Plc filed an application claiming ownership of the N9.08 billion, forcing the judge to adjourn for judgment.

But on Thursday, his lawyer, Charles Adeogun-Phillips, brought another application seeking abridgment of time and leave to file further affidavits.

He later withdrew the former.

Mr. Adeogun-Phillips said his client raised the N9.08 billion in question through “family and friends.”

“I am not seeking to move these two motions at this hearing, and I will tell you why,” Mr. Adeogun-Phillips began.

“I come in peace and in that regard, my friends (EFCC) and I are currently exploring reconciliatory thoughts towards seeking an amicable settlement in this matter.

“It is what I will call a commonsense approach in resolving this matter.

“The real value of N9 billion in May last year is not what it is today and will not be the same a year down the line, so that value diminishes.

“For as long as this matter is tied in litigation, that value continues to diminish. That’s why I called it a commonsense approach.

“If we don’t get an agreement, we’ll continue like nothing happened. But I’m hopeful it will be a fruitful exercise.”

Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, said he was not aware of any negotiations with the First Bank chief.

He described Mr. Adeogun-Philips’ applications as “strange” and an attempt to stop the judge from delivering his judgment.

“It is alien in our legal system for your Lordship to allow his judgment to be arrested in a matter already slated for judgement,” said Mr. Oyedepo.

“He talked about settlement. I’m before your Lordship today, I’ve not heard of any settlement. My employer has not given me any information about any discussion.

“I urge my Lord to strike out the application.”

After adjourning for three hours, the judge struck out the application and proceeded to read his judgment.

Mr. Hassan said nobody showed cause as to why the N23.4 billion and $5 million could not be forfeited to the federal government and gave an order for their “final forfeiture.”

He also said the bank executive’s claim that the EFCC misled the court to grant the January 6 interim forfeiture did not hold water.

The judge further stated that the respondent could not prove his claim that he was coerced into agreeing to refund N5 billion, and later N80 million within one week.

“The second respondent voluntarily returned N9.08 billion being proceeds of illegal activity without coercion,” said Mr. Hassan.

I hereby order the final forfeiture of N23.4 billion and $5 million being unclaimed properties to the federal government of Nigeria.


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  • Artful ºDodger

    Good judgement. One for the EFCC. Many more to go.

    God bless Buhari
    God bless the federal republic of Nigeria.

    • Kiliwi2000

      @disqus_UxVAvGuiki:disqus

      The Managing Director of Sterling Bank, YEMI ADEOLA was uncovered to have hidden
      the money away from bank books – a sum of 153 million dollars stolen from the NNPC,
      but Yemi Adeola remains in office in violation of public ethics and public confidence.
      No fine has been imposed on Sterling Bank for this grave criminal act and all of
      the board and management of Sterling Bank remain in office with total impunity.

      • FIDELIS

        @disqus_UxVAvGuiki:disqus : The APC government should do things properly.

        Recovery of stolen cash or assets is not the whole purpose of criminal laws

        of Nigeria. The purpose of criminal laws is to govern society on right and wrong.

        Stealing is not a sport. It is in a sport you just take what’s stolen and let the thief
        go free. It is corruption by APC government to refuse to uphold the laws

        and the constitution of Nigeria.

        There’s no reason why a co-conspirator who actively helped to hide
        cash stolen from NNPC should be immune from arrest till now. It is
        unheard-of under any theory of law. A co-conspirator who actively
        holds the ladder for a fellow thief to climb to the rooftop is as much
        a thief as the other one who climbed the rooftop. Therefore,
        the Managing Director of Sterling Bank, Yemi Adeola, must
        be arrested forthwith over this stolen money and arraigned
        in court for conspiracy to steal and moneylaundering.

        • Phemmi

          Wait first na…..this is just forfeiture of the money! They’ll all be taken to court to answer for co-conspiring. At least praise EFCC small

          • Okons

            Don’t mind @fidelis who just wants to see the jailhouses filled up to the brim. I am not saying
            he’s wrong but he should learn to praise each effort on the way there. To me it is if or when
            EFCC says the thieves and abettors of the thieves are all free to go home that i will agree
            with @Fidelis is a crazy organization because up to now EFCC is not looking for the profits
            made from the stoolen money. Very daft. Do you know how much profit any wise business
            man can make from $154 million in two or three years? I am still waiting for EFCC to act.

          • No-Comment

            “Nigeria will never go back to the position it was before 2015. The
            foundation being laid by the government is solid. And nobody, even after the
            President has finished his eight years, can ever take us back to the pre-2015
            days. Shamelessly, they accused the President of not performing. And, in fact,
            some of them wished him dead. But I can assure you that by the grace of God, he
            will outlive all of them,”

            ……………..David Babachir Lawal
            (Secretary to Government of the Federation)

            February 16th, 2017

        • Tola

          So you didn’t read that the MD of Sterling Bank and the concerned ED in FBN were arrested. This is a long and tortuous case. While prosecuting the culprits with their many adjournments for changing counsels and staying permanently in LUTH to fain ill health, let us first get the money into government coffers. The case against the perpetrators is now strengthened and can continue.

      • aapeecee!

        @disqus_UxVAvGuiki:disqus

        THE BUHARI GOVERNMENT DID WELL UP TO THIS POINT TO RCOVER THIS HUMONGOUS AMOUNT.
        THE WAY TO JUDGE BUHARI’S IMPACT THOUGH IS WHETHER NIGERIA HAS BECOME LESS CORRUPT..
        UNTIL NIGERIA REACHES THAT POINT I’M SORRY THAT BUHARI MAY NOT HAVE DONE ANYTHING YET.

      • Maria

        The main thief, has she been tried and jailed? Just wait…this is just forfeiture not criminal prosecution.

        • Valentino

          @disqus_jP0WOa3O7f:disqus

          Me I don’t know the main thief. Nobody knows the real thief. Only the Sterling Bank

          Managing Director can know the person who brought the money as the real thief!!

    • ::????????

      @disqus_UxVAvGuiki:disqus

      Three (3) questions arising on the $153m theft

      Who handed the stolen $153 million to Sterling Bank for criminal concealment?

      Why has the Managing Director of Sterling Bank Yemi Adeola not been arrested
      based on the law that any co-conspirator is as guilty as a principal offender and both
      may be treated as principal offenders, whilst one may be separately convicted, alone?

      Why has the First Bank Executive Director who swore affidavit as the cash owner
      not been arrested, given that a false assertion on oath is punishable by 14 years’ imprisonment
      under the Criminal Code?

      • Crimes Watch

        WHO STOLE THE $153 FROM NNPC? WHO STOLE IT? THAT’S THE REAL ISSUE HERE.

      • CeeCee1818

        I’m sure you’ll get your answers in due course.

      • Philip Tudor

        Good questions? EFCC should be more transparent. All evidence should be made available on their website to we can all access it. Afterall it is our money, we have the right to know how it was recovered.

  • AFRICANER

    This Judge’s name is Muslim?

    • Fadama

      Haba Mr., out of this important news all you made sense of is the Judge’s name. This is indeed sad!

      • tundemash

        The AFRICAN LIAR is notorious here, no one takes the f00l serious.

    • haba mallam

      I think the same, is because she is Christian and the judge is Muslim that’s why he confiscated the money, if it were a Christian judge, it could have been a fair judgement, this is Islamization of Nigeria, Buhari must go, separation is the answer. LOL ala Otile the baboon from the creek

      • CeeCee1818

        Oh come on! What has religion got to do with anything? As long as the loot is returned who cares what religion the judge or the thief’s is?

        • AFRICANER

          There’s a reason why in America, you are supposed to be judged by a jury of your peers, not your enemies. Why would one be allowed to be judged by people who kill you, kidnap your daughters and take them to Sambisa Forest? People who send their herdsmen to burn, kill, and maim entire villages, or slaughter an entire religious sect, or tribe simply because of their differences, should not stand in judgment of human beings.

      • Otile

        There is no doubt that a Christian cannot get fair judgement from a diehard Muslim judge. A group of Muslims committed heinous murder of a Christian in Kano, didn’t the Mohammedan judge say that the murderers had no case to answer? As you said, separation is the answer, we are glad you lot are getting the message, and one day it will become a reality. Insha Allahu.

        • Kallah Bature

          That may be a better option Otile.At least we will all be saved from your thIeving looters so that they can concentrate on looting only from their kinsmen(Otile and other gullible followers.

          • Otile

            Arc looters like Babangida, Lukman, Turai, Dambazu, Nyako and sons are hard to concentrate on. With their sticky fingers, no wonder the North is poor and backward. These are your real kinsmen(Kallah boy).

  • Arabakpura

    When will they start shooting those who are proven to be corrupt? That may be a good way to sanitize the system!

  • westman

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  • westman

    08063667191 for UC interested persons . It pays every day

  • Otile

    Nigerians should be ready to see Buhari soon — Presidency
    The presidency explains why the audio of a call between Presidents Buhari and Trump cannot be released.
    February 14, 2017

    ———————————————————————–
    We are still waiting oo…

    • BURNING SPEAR

      Buhari’s Government

      of Propaganda and No Substance. In it he mentioned the nine media

      assistants to the President before dropping the bombshell that took

      everybody by surprise: “In addition”, Professor Kperogi revealed, “the

      President has about 40 paid journalists, bloggers, media analysts,

      commentators (whose names I have but will leave out for now), working

      under the BMC (Buhari Media Center) in Utako, Abuja. The Buhari Media

      Centre is a well-furnished one-storey building with expansive premises. It

      has security guards, clerks, and cashiers. The team members are paid a

      monthly allowance of between N200,000 and N250,000.”

      It is not the presence of the media centre that is the problem. As a

      President, Buhari has come a long way, far from the pristine days of TBO

      when we only relied on our columns in newspapers to write features on his

      project, something that led to our sack by the Trust after the 2003

      elections. The problem is that while in those days we never wrote anything

      with the intention to smear anyone or lie about the achievement of Buhari,

      the Buhari Media Centre, to my shock and as Professor Kperogi reported,

      has a totally different mandate. Hear him:

      “They are mandated to react to all media contents critical of the

      President, write favorable news items for the president, and

      attack/demonize/smear people critical of the president. They also work

      with government agencies such as the EFCC to push narratives to deflect

      attention from the ineptitude of the government. They work behind the

      scenes and use pen names in extended articles, and pseudonyms on social

      media. Almost all the members of the APC Presidential Campaign Media

      Directorate operate from the Buhari Media Centre, with the exception of

      those with appointments. And this excludes Lai Mohammad’s well-oiled lie

      squad.”

    • BURNING SPEAR

      wait till 2099

    • Steel

      The US govt has released it. Go check the US state house website since you leave in a cave.

  • Rommel

    Punishment,what about punishment for the crime?

    • Izon REDEEMER

      which punishment—–the question is was there a crime——————u first of all show a crime was committed before sentencing—even in absentia

      • Patriotism

        I said go back to school because you lack the sense to contribute on the public article.

    • commentsfile..!

      mek I no wound u oo…
      so u don join de mis read judgments abi?
      this case is solely on forfeiture, need to remind you that..!!

  • Izon REDEEMER

    Only an insane judge out to help the Fulanis steal what rightly belongs to the Ijaw Nation–wld go out of his way to commend a luciferic agency—efcc–which could not investigate Babachir ati Burutai–Dambazua and Amaechi–or Rilwan Lukman–Yet now goes out of his way to commend the drug infested brain of Magu-head of efcc–an agency that is now the political wing of the Apes in APC ati boko haram—-chasing Ijaws in the creeks of the Niger delta——They should remember like late Zik once said–to his opponents—-that—-( no condition is permanent) Today it is Magu pursing Ijaws properties for the Fulanis and——–Yorubas——Tomorrow it could be the turn of Ijaws again—–in the creeks of the Niger delta—-in aso rock—-Can efcc name the assets of Jubril Aminu that they investigated with regards to the Halliburton bribery case scandal and the oil blocks he gave out to Fulani emirs—-and retired generals–like ball of Akara? Sadly Nigeria courts ati efcc were all created to chase former Ijaw oil Ministers—-such as David West—Etete-and Deizani—for the tripod———–The said property were bought via shell where Deizani worked as a senior management officer in charge of properties- before 2011——————How does that make it illegal?—-Der is God sha—-If some remember what has befallen Bingo Buhari—them go know say God is no respecter of election riggers–or the tribal marks of the tripod——–like bingo buhari—whose–whereabouts is still a mystery———-to the Queen of England —–ati president Trump of the USA——-

    • Kallah Bature

      Mr.Redeemer better redeem yourself sooner than later. Now the very serious and honest government of PMB is mopping up all the looted funds for the benefit of the generality of Nigerians,paying you for your hatched job may be difficult due to paucity of cash from your masters.

      • Africa

        I think he is mentally challenged, see all the rubbish he has posted to an article. Some mothers do have them. Sad….

    • Patriotism

      Pls go back to school, you lack sense of logical reasoning.

  • Kamalu

    This is a commonsense judgement by Justice Hassan. The missing gap however is the absence of any punishment or a reprimand for the bank executives who laid phoney claims to the stolen assets. It is high time existing laws should be used to curtail the activities of rogue bank executives who collude with politically exposed persons to steal, siphon and export Nigeria’s wealth to shell accounts overseas.

    • Philip Tudor

      He would have been punished if he was lying. Obviously there is more to this than what we are seeing. Whats the assurance that the bank executives are not just scapegoats for Magu?

      • Kamalu

        Unfortunately you’re only making conjectures which will never translate to reality. Real ownership of a sum of $134m comes with some reputation not the type flaunted by bank executives in the mould of the person who laid phoney claims to the funds. If we assume that the guy in question earns an annual salary and allowances plus bonus in the range of $500,000 at the directorate level, how many years will it take him to raise the amount in question? I think the hammer will fall eventually because I have recognized that EFCC’s prayer to the court was to wrest the money first. It is unfortunate that the First Bank director has unwittingly presented himself as one of the scapegoats you talk about. Quite a pity!

    • Philip Tudor

      What is the claims are true? I doubt they would punish or reprimand someone who is innocent?

    • Freida Azu

      As much as I agree that justice should be served. What kind of justice are we talking about? Justice without proper investigation? If someone is confident enough to contend with Efcc it should be looked into. There is definitely more to this case than is being revealed.

  • bigbang

    He raised the 9.8 billion through family and friendlies lol.

    • Izon REDEEMER

      It was ribadu who raised such through his father inlaw———————the property was owned by Shell———and sold off—————–in 2011—-haba Nigeria-So Ijaws have no right to own properties in Nigeria–Yet our crude oil are being used to sustain the dirty smelly rotten 3 legs of the tripod–

    • Freida Azu

      I think it is important to look at the bigger picture. How efficient has the Efcc been both in the past and present. Are we supposed to just take their word for it when there has been no evidence on their part to show that a proper investigation was carried out? We need to ask the right questions rather than being sentimental. This recent development does not connote victory for Efcc rather it raises more questions.

    • Philip Tudor

      If that’s true and the trail of payment was made available to EFCC as he claimed, then he was unfairly judged.

  • sheyman

    Who says magu should not be confirmed? Jonathan has ruined the country.

    • Izon REDEEMER

      At least GLAD THAT– it was not Jonathan that cloned Tinubu———————-Amaechi—-Fashola———Dambazua—-Buratai——————–Prof Yakubu of INEC who stole more than –800m from UBEC yet Buhari appointed that his Fulani brother as—Chairman of INEC——————–including yr towns man Orji Kalu–fa–now escaped to the deminc camp of d Apes in APC——–

      • sheyman

        Spear me the sermon and tackle the issue. Is recovery of a whole 34 billion from one person nothing to you? Even if Jesus comes down to clean this land, hypocrites like you won’t still appreciate him. Why won’t we be in recession if billions trillions are hidden by thieves.

  • BURNING SPEAR

    Buhari’s Government

    of Propaganda and No Substance. In it he mentioned the nine media

    assistants to the President before dropping the bombshell that took

    everybody by surprise: “In addition”, Professor Kperogi revealed, “the

    President has about 40 paid journalists, bloggers, media analysts,

    commentators (whose names I have but will leave out for now), working

    under the BMC (Buhari Media Center) in Utako, Abuja. The Buhari Media

    Centre is a well-furnished one-storey building with expansive premises. It

    has security guards, clerks, and cashiers. The team members are paid a

    monthly allowance of between N200,000 and N250,000.”

    It is not the presence of the media centre that is the problem. As a

    President, Buhari has come a long way, far from the pristine days of TBO

    when we only relied on our columns in newspapers to write features on his

    project, something that led to our sack by the Trust after the 2003

    elections. The problem is that while in those days we never wrote anything

    with the intention to smear anyone or lie about the achievement of Buhari,

    the Buhari Media Centre, to my shock and as Professor Kperogi reported,

    has a totally different mandate. Hear him:

    “They are mandated to react to all media contents critical of the

    President, write favorable news items for the president, and

    attack/demonize/smear people critical of the president. They also work

    with government agencies such as the EFCC to push narratives to deflect

    attention from the ineptitude of the government. They work behind the

    scenes and use pen names in extended articles, and pseudonyms on social

    media. Almost all the members of the APC Presidential Campaign Media

    Directorate operate from the Buhari Media Centre, with the exception of

    those with appointments. And this excludes Lai Mohammad’s well-oiled lie

    squad.”

  • Sanssouci

    No wonder FFK is shaking in his boots at the thought of this judge…. I don’t envy that First Bank executive director… not one bit

    • BURNING SPEAR

      Monkey FFK will shake the day the mains thieves in APC———————-such as Tinubu–Amaechi-Babachir-Buratai——–Fashola –Fayemi———–and Dambazua ati yr brother Orji Kalu———————— appears in the dock

    • Freida Azu

      How do we know EFCC followed due process. It appears that there has been foul play. How come the EFCC does not deem it fit to invite the other parties involved. What sort of justice has been served?

      • Defender

        Mimu…u did not read it that their lawyer was is in court? You just feel like saying something

    • Fisher Grace

      If truly they have strong case against them, then an sure EFCC will make available to Nigerian all information’s used in the case. Until then i do not see transparency.

  • Izon REDEEMER

    President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature has been allegedly forged while Efcc looked the other way-in order

    to sell $19 million worth of crude oil in China according to a House of

    Representatives member, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma

    Agbonayinma also accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

    (NNPC) of gross corruption while appearing on Channels TV.

    “In this letter here, this is not President Buhari’s signature but it was

    forged by our people – by Nigerians who wanted to sell the crude in China

    worth about $19 million,” he said.

    “I tell you the truth, the .Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) is

    also aware. We are working day and night to also do what is needed to get

    it right because he (the AGF) is the custodian of the laws in the nation.

    “So, I’m saying I must tell you that the corruption in this country didn’t

    just start yesterday. It is a cancer, and to cure cancer, you need a

    radical approach getting the radical approach in this case means you have

    to step on peoples’ toes, which might affect those that are probably close

    to you.

    “What is important is the ability to have that willingness to commit to

    the fight against corruption. This is not something that is new. As a

    matter of fact: this is a copy of the letter in which President Muhammadu

    Buhari’s signature was forged to defraud

  • Nkem

    Where is the punishment?

    • Steel

      Wait! Case still ongoing.

  • tundemash

    Sai Baba ! Surely Nigeria would be great; slow and steady !!!!!

  • Sir Demo

    Nigeria wake up! The lawyers are even worse than the judisharing! The same Charles Adeogun-Phillips, that was reported to be against the AGF withdrawal of cases against northerner Supreme Court officials? So it is true that, he was sacked for working against EFCC!

  • Mary

    THIS TO INFORM THE GENERAL REPUBLIC CONCERNING; THE PURCHASE OF DANGOTE 3X CEMENT AT A PROMO PRICE OF 1000# PER BAG AND RICE (MAMA AFRICA, MAMA GOLD, ROYAL SATALLION) 10,000# PER BAG. COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR CEMENT IS 150# PER BAG AND RICE IS 500# PER BAG. CONTACT THE HEAD OF SALES, PASTOR THOMAS AISEMOTA ON 07038534730. NOTE: COST OF TRANSPORTATION IS MADE BEFORE DELIVERY.

  • Broadway2

    Congratulations Nigeria!

  • Man_Enough

    If you start earning 25 million naira a month from the day you are born and live for 100 years, you will not exhaust 34 billion. That shows how greedy some thieves are.

    • Izon REDEEMER

      shows how unthinking some of u Ibos can be—tell that to bill gates—Aware the crude oil is not from sokoto-enugu or lagos—-It is from the South south—-the Yorubas control their oil-with Falawiyo-so let the Ijaw nation also take charge of theirs-Maybe u are talking about orji kalu—-and emeka offor—-ati dangote–happily she was married to an unthinking thieving Ibo man by mistake–Not an Ijaw man—animals

  • Ajayi Ifayemi

    Thank you Judge Hassan.

    • BURNING SPEAR

      for how much-Ibo man————–N250,000 U SELL YR DIRTY SOUL TO THE FULANIS?

      • Ajayi Ifayemi

        ?????

  • objective

    Thank God another one is partially down. She must definitely have more, if NNPC MD under her had £9.8m at home. I beg you if you know anyone hiding anything anywhere expose them. If you also work in a bank and see any inexplicably high bank balance, tell EFCC. The battle is on!

  • objective

    EFCC should also work on retaining intelligence officers in banks to gather information.