Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to get rid of an order that gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission the right to take all of her seized assets.
In a motion filed on Monday, Alison-Madueke asked the court to give her more time to ask for permission to ask the court for permission to stop the EFCC from selling her property at a public auction.
The News Agency of Nigeria said that the anti-corruption agency planned to hold a public sale of all of Alison-seized Madueke’s assets starting on January 9. This was written in the agency’s public notice, which came after several court judgments/orders were made in favor of the commission as final forfeiture orders against the former minister’s property and personal belongings.
But in a motion marked “FHC/ABJ/CS/21/2023” and filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo on January 6 by her lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, the ex-minister asked the court for five things. Alison-Madueke is the one who filed the suit, but the EFCC is the only one who has to answer it.
The former minister said the different orders should be overturned because they were made without the right to do so.
She said that she wasn’t given a fair chance to be heard during the whole process that led to the orders.
She said, “The different court orders that were made in favor of the respondent and based on which the respondent put out the public notice to sell the items in the public notice were made in violation of the applicant’s right to a fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and other similar constitutional provisions.”
She said that she hadn’t been given the charge sheet, the proof of evidence for any of the charges, or any other summons about the criminal charges that were pending against her in court.
She also said that some of the final forfeiture orders against her assets were made in error because important facts were hidden or not told to the courts.
“The various applications on which the courts made the final order of forfeiture against the applicant were based on gross misstatements, misrepresentations, non-disclosure, concealment, and suppression of material facts. This honorable court has the power to set aside the same ex-debito justitiae, as a void order is the same as if it had never been made.
“The orders were made without taking into account the applicant’s constitutional right to a fair hearing and his or her right to property.
“The applicant was never given any court papers during the whole process that led to the order of final forfeiture,” she said, among other reasons.
But in a counter affidavit signed by EFCC detective Rufai Zaki, the commission asked the court to reject Alison-request. Madueke’s
Zaki was part of the team that looked into a case of criminal conspiracy, official corruption, and money laundering involving the ex-minister and a few other people. He said that the investigation showed that the ex-minister had done some illegal things.
He said that Alison-Madueke was charged with the crime FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018, which is the case number.
“We are relying on the charge FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018, which was filed with this honorable court on November 14, 2018, and was also attached as Exhibit C to the applicant’s affidavit,” he said.
The EFCC official, who said he had seen the ex-motion, minister’s said that most of the depositions were not true.
He said that, contrary to what she said in the supporting affidavit, most of the cases that led to the final forfeiture of the disputed property were “actions in rem” that were heard and decided by this honorable court at different times.
He said that the courts had told the commission to put an ad in the newspaper asking people to explain why the property shouldn’t be given to the Federal Government before any final decisions were made.
In response to one of the forfeiture applications, Zaki said that someone named Nnamdi Awa Kalu was the ex-lawyer. minister’s
He said, “We humbly rely on the Hon. Justice I.LN. Oweibo’s judgment from September 10, 2019, which is shown in Exhibit C of the applicant’s affidavit.”
The officer said that, contrary to what Alison-Madueke said, the court had ordered the final forfeiture of the assets in this case since 2017 and that this decision had not been changed or overturned on appeal.
He said that the properties had been sold the right way, according to the law.
When Justice Ekwo brought up the issue, Alison-lawyer, Madueke’s Oluchi Uche, said that the EFFC had just served them with the counter affidavit on Friday and that they needed time to respond.
Farouk Abdullah, who was there for the agency that fights corruption, didn’t object, so the judge put off hearing the case until May 8.