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Diezani appeals seizure of $40m assets

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has filed an appeal at the Federal High Court Lagos for the reversal of an interim order secured by the EFCC for the interim forfeiture of her 2,149 pieces of jewelry and a customised gold iPhone all valued at $40m, seized by the anti-graft agency last month.

On July 5th, the agency secured an interim order to confiscate the former Minister’s jewelries and iPhone which is believed to be proceeds from acts of corruption perpetrated while she was in office.

In an application filed by her counsel, Professor Awa Kalu, Diezani who is currently in the United Kingdom, accused the EFCC of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order. 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.

She urged the court to reject the prayer by the EFCC to permanently forfeit the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the Federal Government.

According to the court papers, the jewelleries 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.”

The former Minister argued that the entry into her apartment by EFCC operatives was illegal as it was without a court order.

Justice Nichola Oweibo adjourned the case till August 29.

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