Court Dismisses Diezani’s Appeal To Recover $40m Jewellery Seized By Nigerian Govt

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to overturn the forfeiture of her $40 million worth of jewellery seized by the Nigerian government.

Diezani Alison-Madueke
Diezani Alison-Madueke

The Lagos Division of the appellate court on Friday ruled that her suit, against the July 19, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, lacks substance.

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Justice Nicholas Oweibo then ordered the seizure following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Diezani’s appeal is marked CA/L/1263/19. The schedule attached to the application listed jewellery categorised into 33 sets.

The breakdown: “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches.

“174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”

The items were seized from Diezani’s residence, at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja.

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Before the forfeiture, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that the assets were acquired with the proceeds of unlawful activities.

A detective with the commission, Rufai Zaki, in an affidavit, maintained that the jewellery were beyond Diezani’s “known and provable lawful income.”

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But the defence led by Prof Awa Kalu protested that the EFCC violated her “fundamental right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,”.

In an affidavit, Kalu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), buttressed his argument with sections 43 and 44 of the constitution.

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