BY OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the permanent forfeiture of a property located at Banana Island, Lagos bought for $37.5m in 2003 by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke to the federal government.
Justice Obiozor, who made the order while ruling on an ex parte application to that effect by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), also ordered that the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70 realised as rents on the property should equally be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge had earlier had on July 19, 2017 granted the commission a temporarily order to seize the property known as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, which is said to have 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses.
The court further ordered that the temporary forfeiture of the property, which has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses be published in a national newspaper to enable anyone interested in the property and funds to appear to convince the court why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, the counsel to the EFCC, Anselem Ozioko, told Justice Obiozor that the publication order had been complied with.
Ozioko told the court that despite his efforts to personally serve the respondent in the case, including Rusimpex Limited, they have refused to come to court to show cause why the forfeiture order should not be made final.
The lawyers said it appears as if the respondents are not willing to contest this application, he then urged the judge to go ahead and order the permanent forfeiture of the property and the funds.
Justice Obiozor, in a short ruling, held, “In the face of the publication, which I find in Exhibit B of the affidavit of compliance before me, and there being no responses from any interested party, I have no other option but to grant the orders as prayed.”