EFCC Refuses to release Dieziani’s Properties, Insists $40m Jewellery, Gold Iphone Beyond Income

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stood on its position in its appeal to the Federal High Court in Lagos for the final forfeiture hearing on the money laundering suit against former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

EFCC had on July 5 secured the order for the temporary forfeiture of 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone valued at $40 million belonging to Mrs Diezani.

The commission, on Monday, in an affidavit deposed to by an investigator, Rufai Zaki, insisted that the items were beyond Diezani’s “known and provable lawful income.”

Mr Zaki said investigation showed that Diezani, who was appointed minister in 2010, began to acquire the jewellery in 2012 from Bukola Oyewumi of Trinket Box Bespoke Jewellery at Ikeja City Mall, Alausa, Lagos.

Zaki said the former minister did not use her salary or any of her legitimate income to acquire the assets in question, adding that the EFCC was in possession of the UBA account she used in collecting her salary as minister.

The investigator said Diezani also bought jewellery from Minal Ratanani of Bella Vista Apartment, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos.

He said Ratanani told the EFCC that Diezani bought jewellery worth $865,300.00 from her over a period and she paid in cash.

Diezani’s counsel, Nnamdi Awa-Kalu, however, argued that the seizure of the items amounted to a violation of his client’s constitutional right to own properties.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo adjourned till September 11 for ruling.

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