Two Firms Challenge Forfeiture Of Diezani’s Associate’s Properties

A Federal High Court in Lagos will on November 21 hear applications by two firms seeking to challenge the forfeiture of three landed properties in Lagos and Abuja belonging to oil Marketer, Kola Aluko.

Justice Mohammed Liman had ordered the initial forfeiture of the properties belonging to Aluko an associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.

Justice Liman had on October 22 gave the ordered after entertaining an ex parte application filed by the EFCC.

The properties are 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 judge also directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper.

He then adjourned till Tuesday for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

When the case was called yesterday, Rotimi Oyedepo told the judge that he had been served two applications by Aluko’s counsel, Quadri Aderogba and another lawyer, Ammed O. Ammed, who said he represented parties seeking to be joined to the suit.

On his part Ammed told the court that he was representing Trelou Investment Incorporation and RMCG Development Ltd, adding that his application was challenging the court’s jurisdiction on the matter.

While Aderogba informed the court that his application was a preliminary objection to the interim order.

But, Oyedepo, who prayed for a short adjournment to enable him respond to the applications, said the court only adjourned for interested parties to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government, not applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

Justice Liman upheld his application and adjourned till November 21, for hearing of all applications.

According to the EFCC, Plot 3389 and Plot 3390 in Abuja were purchased for N350m and $18 million, respectively, while the Lagos property was bought for $55million.

It said the funds used to procure the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

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Oyedepo told 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.

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.

He claimed that the petition alleged 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,” Mayana claimed.

17th October 2021
Nigerian Pantagraph
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