Detectives have been deployed in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, in the ongoing probe of former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. Of interest are five choice houses believed to be Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s. It is all part of the last leg of the investigation of the ex-minister in collaboration with the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom. Amid the Port Harcourt operation, another asset of the ex-Minister in Abuja, allegedly worth over N500million, has been confiscated pending her trial. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier seized a mansion worth N3.58billion from the ex-minister, bringing the haul in Abuja to about N4.08billion of assets believed to be hers. The EFCC received intelligence report on the property allegedly acquired by Mrs. Alison-Madueke in Port Harcourt.
The tracking of the assets is said to be part of the probe of about $10billion allegedly looted in cash and assets by some former public officers. The properties under surveillance in Port Harcourt are said to be worth over N3billion A top source in EFCC, who spoke in confidence, said: “Based on latest intelligence, we have been able to trace more choice assets to Mrs. Alison-Madueke in Port Harcourt. We have drafted more operatives in Rivers State. “We have identified more than five of such assets but we need to verify the ownership by going through some documents before attaching the properties in line with our mandate.“In the next one week, our team in Port Harcourt would have completed their assignment. We will then release the value of the assets.“We are also on the trail of some accomplices who were used for the property deals.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “We are still working in collaboration with NCA in the UK. I think we are getting closer to the final leg of the Mrs. Alison-Madueke probe.”Another property, which is believed to be worth N500million, has been seized from the ex-minister. The source said the property is believed to be at Frederick Chiluba Close in Asokoro District in Abuja. The asset is now placed under interim forfeiture until the court decides otherwise,” he added. Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke the Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.
“Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’ Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: “The sourt may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do. ”Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.” The NCA in the UK arrested and quizzed Mrs. Alison-Madueke and four others on October 2, 2015 for alleged bribery and corruption and money laundering. Also the EFCC has interrogated three to five more suspects since the interrogation of Mrs. Alison-Madueke by the NCA. The NCA last year obtained permission from a Westminster Magistrate’s Court to seize 27,000 pounds from Mrs. Alison-Madueke and two other women.
Source: THE NATION