EFCC Hands Over Seized Diezani’s Building For Use As Isolation Centre

ONE of the choice properties confiscated from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will now serve as an isolation centre for suspected cases of COVID-19 in Lagos.

The property, which comprises six flats of three bedrooms and a boys’ quarter, was handed over to the Lagos State Government by the EFCC on Friday.

The building was forfeited by Mrs Allison-Madueke following an order of a Federal High Court in Lagos in 2017.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Zonal Head of the EFCC in Lagos, Mohammed Rabo, said the gesture was a demonstration of the agency’s support in the effort to curb the spread of the virus.

“This gesture is part of the commission’s efforts in discharging its own social responsibility towards the fight against the spread of Coronavirus,” he said.

“The commission is always committed and ready, alongside its mandate in fighting economic and financial crimes, to also render any essential service that may be required of it in the fight against the pandemic.

“Therefore, the state should not hesitate to call on the commission any time the need for such an essential service arises,” Rabo said.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu commended the commission for the gesture, saying it was a welcome collaboration between the Federal Government and states.

More than N47 billion and $487.5 million in cash and properties have so far been traced to the former minister.

They include a block of six units serviced apartments at number 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, just a few metres away from the EFCC zonal operations hub.

The apartment has a standby power generator, sporting facilities, play ground and a water treatment plant.

The property was bought for N800 million (eight hundred million naira) on January 6, 2012.

There is also a 15-storey building in Banana Island, Lagos which she was said to have purchased for $37.5m.

The property comprises 18 flats and six penthouses.

Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of the building on August 7, 2017, following an ex parte application filed on July 17, 2017 by the EFCC.

The EFCC said on its website that “by far the most numbing, record-shattering acquisition of Alison-Madueke is to be found in the ritzy, nouveaux riches playground of Banana Island, Lagos.

“It consists of two apartments at the Bella Vista Court. The apartments, which are penthouses, are located on Block C-5, Flat 21, Plot 1, Zone N.

“For them, a $350 million (three hundred and fifty million US dollar) hole was allegedly dug in the Nigerian treasury on November 22, 2011, by Alison-Madueke.”

Other properties in Yaba, Lagos, also discovered by the commission are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street.

The Thurnburn Street property consists of 21 mixed housing units of eight 4-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of  3-bedrooms each and six 3-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments.

The Raymond Street property is made up of two en-suite 2-bedroom apartments and one 4-bedroom apartment.

The Yaba, Lagos properties, which cost N1 billion (one billion naira), were paid for on May 30, 2012; the same day Alison-Madueke spent N900 million on the Port Harcourt estate.

The EFCC said: “In Lekki Phase One, an upscale neighbourhood of Lagos, operatives found a twin four-bedroom duplex.

“The duplex is located on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, Lekki, Lagos, with an estimated value of over N200 million (two hundred million naira).

“Also in Lagos, a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos has also been traced to the former Petroleum Resources Minister.

“The land, which is located in Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki Peninsular, Lagos and currently being utilised as a dumping site, was bought on February 16, 2012 for N135 million (one hundred and thirty- five million naira).

“Plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi, Lagos, another property traced to Alison-Madueke, is a penthouse on the 11th Floor in the Block B Wing of the building. It was bought for N12 million (twelve million naira) on December 20, 2011.

“On plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, in the serene, upscale Asokoro District of Abuja lies a tastefully built and finished duplex.

“In the compound, there are also a guest chalet, a boy’s quarters, an elegant swimming pool, fully equipped sports gym and a host of other amenities.

“Investigators have discovered that the property acquired by the ex-minister in December, 2009, at the cost of N400 million (four hundred million naira) was never declared in any of the asset declaration forms filed by Alison-Madueke.

“Also linked to the former Minister in Abuja is a mini estate at Mabushi, Abuja.

“The estate located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, houses 13 three bedroom terrace houses, each with one bedroom en-suite maid’s quarters.

“It was purchased on April 2, 2012 at the princely sum of N650 million (six hundred and fifty million naira).”

The anti-corruption agency had also found in Alison-Madueke’s palatial residences in Abuja boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewellery worth several million pounds sterling.

President Muhammadu Buhari had instructed that all forfeited assets be sold and the money put in the Treasury Single Account.

Receiving members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption at the State House, Abuja in October last year, Buhari said that in the past, assets seized from officials who could not explain how they got them were returned to them when government was changed.

“Let’s see who will now take back the money from the treasury and give back to those people as was done in the past,” the President said.