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Court orders former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke to forfeit $153million to FG

A Lagos state Federal High Court has ordered the former Minister of Petroleum, ‘Diezani Alison-Madueke’ to temporarily forfeit the sum of $153million to the FG.

Justice Muslim Hassan gave the order after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had filed an exparte application.

The funds were reported to be domiciled in three Nigerian banks with N23billion domiciled with Sterling bank, N9billion domiciled with First Bank and $5million domiciled with Access Bank.

Justice Muslim Hassan issued an interim order, ordering Sterling bank and any other bank to prove the legitimacy of the money within the next 14 days. According to Justice Hassan's order, if the banks fail to prove the legitimacy of the money within the appointed time, the money will be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

An EFCC investigator, ‘Moses Awolusi’ revealed that the anti-graft agency had discovered that Diezani Madueke and former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo were communicating.

According to Moses Awolusi, in December 2014, Diezani invited Okonkwo to her office where they connived to move money from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to Okonkwo for safe-keeping.

Awolusi also revealed that two former NNPC Group Executive Directors of Finance and Account assisted Diezani in moving the organization's funds to Fidelity Bank.

Justice Hassan has adjourned the case to Tuesday, 24th January 2017 for the defendants to appear and give concrete reasons why the money should not be forfeited permanently.

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