Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the temporary forfeiture of three landed properties belonging to Oil marketer, Kola Aluko, an associate of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke to the federal government.
Justice Liman gave the order following an ex parte application filed and argued by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo.
EFCC gave the valued of the landed properties located in Abuja and Lagos as $73 million and N350 million.
The anti-graft agency listed the properties as Plot 3389 and Plot 3390, House 2, Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro Cadastral Zone, Abuja; as well as Avenue Towers, Plot 1391 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Commission claimed that the Plot 3389 and and Plot 3390 in Abuja were purchased for N350m and $18m, respectively. It said the Lagos property was bought for $55m.
The EFCC also maintained that the funds used to procure the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Oyedepo had informed the judge that Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 2016 empowered the court to make such a forfeiture order.
“The properties sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful diversion from the federal government of Nigeria.
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“That the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria,” the lawyer alleged.
An operative of the EFCC, Sambo Mayana, also stated in an affidavit attached to the application, that the anti-graft agency investigated Aluko after receiving from Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, “a damning intelligence report and a petition alleging fraud, lack of transparency and unethical conduct in the transfer of production rights in the oil mining leases against the respondent and his cronies.
“That there are suspicious financial transactions involving the 1st respondent, KAA and Atlantic Energy Holding Limited based in the British Virgin Island.
“That the company, in the course of three years, received large suspicious transfers from two sister companies, namely: Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, based in Nigeria.”
After granting the forfeiture order, Justice Liman ordered the EFCC to publish it in a national newspaper.
He adjourned the matter till November 12 to allow anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited to the government.