Judge orders final forfeiture of N34 billion linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke

Diezani-Allison-Madueke-talk

A federal court in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of N23.4 billion, N9.08 billion, and $5 million (about N34 billion in total) linked to former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Muslim Hassan, who had issued an interim forfeiture order on the funds on January 6, on Thursday gave a “final forfeiture order” on the funds.

The judge said he was satisfied with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s argument that the monies were proceeds of illegal activity.

Background

The seized money, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was stolen from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and stashed in three banks in Nigeria, in US dollars and Naira.

Out of the loot, N23.4 billion was kept in Sterling Bank Plc. The sum of N9.08 billion was kept in First Bank Plc and $5m in Access Bank Plc.

Justice Muslim Hassan, who gave the order, gave Sterling Bank and any other interested party 14 days to appear before him to prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The banks or any of its customer failed to convince the court on the legitimacy of the funds.

The judge made the order on January 6 in favour of the EFCC which appeared before him with an ex parte application seeking temporary forfeiture of the funds.

In a nine-paragraph affidavit by by EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, and filed in support of the ex parte application, the anti-graft agency said it discovered how sometime in December 2014 the former minister invited a former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, to her office. There they hatched the plan to move $153,310,000 from the NNPC to Mr. Okonkwo for Mrs. Alison-Madueke.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke, according to Mr. Awolusi, instructed Mr. Okonkwo to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms” of Fidelity Bank.

Mr. Okonkwo accepted and implemented the deal leading to the movement of $153,310,000 from the NNPC to Fidelity Bank.

He said that two former Group Executive Directors of Finance and Account of NNPC, B.O.N. Otti and Stanley Lawson, helped Mrs. Alison-Madueke to move the cash from NNPC, Abuja, to the headquarters of Fidelity Bank in Lagos.

Mr. Awolusi said in a desperate bid to conceal the source of the money, Mr. Okonkwo, upon receiving it, instructed the Country Head of Fidelity Bank, Martin Izuogbe, to take $113,310,000 cash out of the money to the Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Lanre Adesanya, to keep.

He said the remaining $40 million was taken in cash to an executive director, [Public Sector Account], First Bank,  to keep.

The investigator said out of the $113,310,000 handed over to Mr. Adesanya, $108,310,000 was invested in an off balance sheet investment using Sterling Asset Management Trustees Limited.

The money was subsequently converted into N23.4 billion and saved in Sterling Bank.

Mr. Awolusi said the EFCC had recovered the N23.4 billion in draft and had registered it as an exhibit marked, EFCC 01.

The investigator said the EFCC had also recovered another $5 million out of the money kept with the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe.

He said the $5 million was recovered in draft and had been registered as an exhibit marked, EFCC 02.

According to him, First Bank’s  Director,  had similarly converted the $40m kept with him to N9,080,000,000.

Mr. Awolusi, however, said the EFCC recovered that also in draft and registered it as Exhibit EFCC 03.

Moving the ex parte application on January 6, EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, urged Justice Hassan to order the temporary forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government and to order Sterling Bank and a First Bank director, who were joined as defendants in the application, as well as any other interested parties, to appear in court within two weeks to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Mr. Oyedepo, who said the application was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006 and Section 44(2)(‘) of the 1999 Constitution, said granting the application was in the best interest of justice.

Justice Hassan granted the order and adjourned till January 24, 2016 for the respondents to appear in court to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The respondents failed to show up to make legitimate claims to the funds.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was updated with background information to add context to the reporting.


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  • Kiliwi2000

    EDITOR SIR,

    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.

    • Pointsblank

      @Spoken word:disqus

      BUHARI GOVERNMENT IS NOT FIGHTING ANY CORRUPTION BUT FIGHTING PDP.

      ANY CORRUPT PERSON WITH APC CARD IS NOT BE PUNISHED AS CONSPIRATOR.

      • Rrrr

        Comment on the above article.

        • FIDELIS

          @Rrrr_Mmmm: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.

    • Pointsblank

      @disqus_IU5znOohb5:disqus

      BUHARI GOVERNMENT IS NOT FIGHTING ANY CORRUPTION BUT FIGHTING PDP.

      ANY CORRUPT PERSON WITH APC CARD IS NOT PUNISHED AS A CONSPIRATOR.

      • No-Comment

        “And now the conclusion seems to be inescapable in Nigeria that what we have as leaders
        in politics, business, and in the civil service, are common thieves in high places. The rot is
        so deep that stealing is now in the family system, in the religious system; even in friendly
        and social clubs. Everybody is looking for somebody else to steal from.”

        …….………..Muyiwa Adetiba

        (Pioneer Editor, Vanguard Newspaper)

        [June 15, 2013]

        • Uncle Bee

          Kiliwi: Just to support what you are saying. There is amandatory law governing all banks
          It says any deposit of money up with a bank up to a certain amount, say five million Naira, for any purpose (even for safe-keeping only) must be reported to the equivalence of Financial Action Committee inside Nigeria for monitoring. Had Yemi Adeola obeyed this mandatory reporting law
          this $153 million would have been seized within 48 hours but he apparently did not in the last
          two or three years. That is even a separate offence because $153million at a go should set
          alarm bells ringing in the head of any sensible Managing Director of a bank in Nigeria,
          moreso that U.S dollar is not local currency in Nigeria. But Yemi Adeola was insensible.

          • share Idea

            That tells you the level of lies EFCC has presented to the court.

            The bottom line is majority of Nigerians do not engage in business transactions that can withstand proper scrutin. Hence, EFCC is is using that tactics to staleal peoples money especially people that are on opposition.

            Ask someone like Tinubu or Obasanjo to account for monies their have in bank account, they will rather let go part of the funds to be left of the hook than going public.

            That is why EFCC tried it on Patience and she refuses to be intimidatd.

          • Fisher Grace

            Hmmmm, from what you have said so far, it seems the EFCC isnt as transparent as they claim to be. It would be a good idea if they can make the evidences used in this case available to the public.

  • Spoken word

    Finally.Thank God PMB.

    • Julius

      Indeed, bro !

  • PolyGon2013

    Have the militants start bombing yet to protest this forfeiture? Th count down begins:10,9,….

    • Julius

      lolz.

  • Rommel

    More grease to the elbows of the EFCC

  • Rrrr

    Where are those criminals supporting looters.

  • Fredodo1

    These woman is heartless, period!!!

  • olat

    Since dis case started what have the CBN done to the institutions involved?

    God bless Magu n his team.

    • Peter_Edo

      We now know why they ALL wanted him out. And it speaks volumes that the presidency is behind Magu…

  • zacchaeus Akinleye

    God bless Justtice Hassan. May his type flourish in the land. Let the Magu manhunt continue and let’s cleanse this land of thieves.

    • Arabakpura

      Can we all even think that this is all happening when the big masquerade is absent? These EFCC guys should really be enabled and emboldened!

  • sammyctu ode

    God still loves Nigeria that’s why he brought PMB to expose all these pdp ruthless pigs. How much of this money does she intend to give the millions of poor ND people? NONE PERIOD cos her intention was to succeed the current balyesa governor. This evil woman will rot in hell forever. Just this afternoon my wife was complaining bitterly how expensive things are in the market cos animals like diezani ran Nigeria aground. May she, Jonathan and others rot in hell forever. If Jonathan has any shame left he must stop talking and flying all over the world cos he is a real wild animal whom we trusted but betrayed us.

  • Kunle Ajayi

    We all should reason, even for a second and find solution.How do we stop individuals from having access to and controlling humongous amount of money at all levels ?

  • Ejire

    Those who are supporting these looters will never know peace. They will never come out of recession even after when the good people of Nigeria will have said goodbye to the menace caused by the criminals.

  • agatha

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    • Arabakpura

      Do they eat the bit coin?

  • Spoken word

    when will people that have been raping Nigeria face the consequences of their actions.

  • share Idea

    Nigeria is a country where anything goes. How EFCC will claim in court that Deziani moved money from NNPC without telling us the account of NNPC that was debited for the money.

    Why I like democracy is that individuals will have their say any time. Intimidation going on in the country in the name of fighting corruption will be challenged if not now but later. How EFCC will be charging some justics to court for not disclosing monies paid into their account but same EFCC could not prosecute banks executivs that received funds without letting the authorities about such huge amount of money.