Ask EFCC to return my $40m jewellery – Diezani begs court

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Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, has approached the court to secure the release of her jewellery worth $40 seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Diezani accused the EFCC of invading her residence and illegally taking 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40m.

She said the anti-graft agency violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.

The EFCC had, on July 5, 2019, secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the Federal Government.

The anti-graft agency told the court that it found and recovered the jewellery and the customised gold iPhone “on the premises of Diezani;” adding that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”

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According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “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.”

But in the application filed on her behalf by Kalu (SAN), Diezani, contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to have granted the interim forfeiture order in the first place, as she had not been charged with any crime or served with any summons by the EFCC.

However, due to Kalu’s absence, Justice Nichola Oweibo adjourned the case till August 29.

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