The Federal High Court in Abuja has scheduled October 23 for the hearing of the lawsuit filed by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, challenging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) order for the final forfeiture of her seized assets.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date on Wednesday after both Alison-Madueke’s lawyer, Benson Igbanoi, and the EFCC’s counsel, M.D. Baraya, regularized their processes in the ongoing suit.
The EFCC had previously planned to conduct a public sale of the seized assets, which are considered proceeds of crime and have been ordered by the court to be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government. The auctioning exercise began on January 9 and included properties believed to belong to Diezani.
According to former EFCC chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa, over $153 million and more than 80 properties have been recovered from Alison-Madueke, who was alleged to have fled to the United Kingdom after her tenure as the Minister of Petroleum Resources from 2010 to 2015 under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
In her suit, Alison-Madueke seeks an order to extend the time for seeking leave to apply to the court to set aside the EFCC’s public notice for the sale of her property. She argues that the various orders were made without jurisdiction and in violation of her right to a fair hearing.
The EFCC, in a counter-affidavit, urges the court to dismiss Alison-Madueke’s application, stating that the investigation clearly shows her involvement in criminal acts. The commission argues that the forfeiture orders were made after due process and that the properties have been disposed of in accordance with the law.
The hearing on October 23 will provide an opportunity for both parties to present their arguments before the court reaches a decision on the matter.