Nigeria court seizes former oil minister's US$37.5mn mansion

BananaThe property is located in Banana Island, an artificial island off the foreshore of Lagos. (Image source: Phil Norton/Flickr)The federal high court of Nigeria has passed an order saying that the Nigerian government can permanently confiscate the former petroleum minister’s mansion worth US$37.5mn, as the minister is facing corruption charges

The property is owned by Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum minister, who was a member of cabinet from 2011 to 2015. In April 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused her with money laundering cases and being indulged in unlawful activities while buying the property in 2013.

The property is located in Banana Island, an artificial island off the foreshore of Lagos. The gated community is the seat of some of Nigeria’s richest people who have million dollars of property there. The alleged property is a 15-storey apartment block which has 18 flats and six penthouses.

According to a Reuters report, the court’s final verdict comes after Alison-Madueke and two other defendants did not showed up in the court following last month’s order to prove the ownership of the property.

The source has reported that the court also ordered permanent seizure of US$2.74mn and US$269,000 that were said to be part of the rent collected on the property.

The move is a victory for the country’s anti-corruption body against Alison-Madueke who was charged with a series of corruption allegations in last few years.

The US Justice Department has filed a complaint in July 2017, to recover about US$144mn in assets allegedly obtained through bribes to Alison-Madueke, said the source. It further added that in October 2015, the former Nigerian minister was briefly arrested in London for questioning about charges on missing public funds. However, no charges were brought against her in that time.

Before her arrest, she denied her involvement in any wrongdoing about missing public funds in a statement to the source.

Alison-Madueke’s stands on the court’s order are unclear. She was last traced in Britain, said the source.

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