Diezani Alison-Madueke defends ownership of $40 million jewellery

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

A former Nigerian minister of petroleum has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of violating her privacy by entering her apartment without a court order.

Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is still at large, said in an application through her lawyer that the action of the EFCC operatives is illegal.

The EFCC at a federal court in Lagos, last month, secured an interim forfeiture of hundreds of jewellery valued at $40 million allegedly belonging to Mrs Alison-Madueke.

The jewellery, comprising bangles, earrings, and wristwatches were recovered from homes traced to the former minister.

According to the EFCC, the items are “reasonably suspected to have been acquired with and or represent proceeds of the respondent’s unlawful activities.”

Mrs Alison-Madueke is facing multiple charges of money laundering before federal courts in Lagos and Abuja.

She is believed to be in the United Kingdom where she is also being investigated for money laundering.

In her filings before the court in Lagos, Mrs Alison-Madueke said the EFCC violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion” under sections 43 and 44 of the Nigerian Constitution.

The application was filed by Awa Kalu, a Professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of the former minister.

She said the federal court lacked the jurisdiction to have granted the July 5 interim forfeiture order because she had not been charged with any crime or served summons by the EFCC.

Mrs Alison-Madueke also said the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial because she was denied fair hearing.

The application, which had been scheduled to be argued on August 19 was, however, stalled due to Mr Kalu’s absence.

A lawyer from his chamber, Chukwuka Obidike, told the court that Mr Kalu was engaged in election petitions, and requested for an adjournment.

Nicholas Oweibo, the judge, adjourned the case till August 29.

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