Efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to rid the country of corruption got a boost on Tuesday as a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered that two penthouse structures, linked to a former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, should be temporary forfeited to the Federal Government.
The court also ordered that the two properties: Penthouse 21 building 5, Block C, 11 floor (Bella Vista Estate) Banana Island, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 22, Block B (Admiralty Estate) also in Ikoyi, Lagos, be forfeited to the government, pending the conclusion of investigation.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun made the order while granting an ex-parte application of interim forfeiture of the said properties by the EFCC’s lawyer, Anslem Ozioko.
The anti graft agency had in the ex-parte application marked FHC/L/CS/1793c/17, which has Diezani Alison-Madueke, Donald Amagbo, Schillenburg LLC, and Sequoyah Property Limited, as respondents, asked the court for an interim forfeiture order to forfeit the said buildings to the federal government.
The anti graft agency had sought the court for an order prohibiting any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the said assets/properties, as they were suspected to be proceed of unlawful activity.
Besides, EFCC asked the court for an order authorising it to appoint a competent person(s)/ firms to manage the said two properties.
Ozioko had told the court that the application was brought pursuant to sections 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act number 14, 2006, and section 44(2)(b) and ( k) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The EFCC had in an affidavit deposed to by one of its investigators, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated that during investigation into the ownership of the two properties, YF Construction Development and Real Estate Limited, and the firm’s deputy Managing Director, Mr. Fadi Basbous, volunteered extra-judicial statement, wherein he stated that the two properties were sold for $3.570 million, and $1.194 million, and owned by Sequoyah Properties Limited, and Schillenburg LLC.
The deponent also stated that the payment for the Penthouse 22, Block B, 8, Gerrard Road Ikoyi, and Penthouse 21, Building 5,Block C, 11 floor, Plot1, Zone N, FGN layout, Banana Island, Ikoyi, were made by Mrs Angela Jide-Jones, and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, respectively.
The deponent further stated that the said Mrs. Angela Jide-Jone, is the wife of Jide Omokore, while the said Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, is registered and promoted by Jide Omokore.
The deponent also stated that Jide Omokore paid for the properties through his wife, Angela, and one of his companies, and directed the developers (seller) of the properties to sign the agreements with Schillenburg LLC and Sequoyah Properties Limited, both of which are linked to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The deponent also stated that Schillenburg LLC was registered in Hongkong, and transferred on March 30, 2012, to Donald Chidi Amamgbo as sole owner, while Sequoyah Properties Limited, is registered in Nigeria, on October 11, 2011, with fictitious names of Chukwudima Nwako and Olisa Eloka, as shareholders and directors, adding that Donald Chidi Amamgbo stated in his extra judicial statement that he incorporated Schillenburg LLC and submitted same to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke for a transaction.
But Justice Olatoregun granted the application and ordered that the two properties be temporary forfeited to the Federal government, and also prohibit any disposal, conveyance mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or the said properties.
The judge, however, refused to grant the order authorising the anti-graft agency to appoint a competent person(s) or firm to manage the said two properties.
Justice Olatoregun later adjourned the matter till December 15.
Peter Fowoyo, Lagos