Diezani loses bid 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.

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.

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 Dezani’s residence, at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja.

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.”

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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