A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Thursday ordered the permanent forfeiture the sum of $153m, which was said to have been diverted from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dieziani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.
The presiding judge, Justice Muslim Hassan, who had issued an interim forfeiture order on the funds on January 6, today gave a “final forfeiture order” on the amount. He expressed satisfaction with the argument of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that the monies were proceeds of illegal activity.
An EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, had in a nine-paragraphs affidavit in support of the ex-parte application seeking temporary forfeiture of the funds, disclosed that EFCC’s investigations showed how sometime in December 2014, Alison-Madueke invited a former Managing Director of a bank to her office where they allegedly hatched the plan of how $153,310,000 would be moved from NNPC to be saved for her.
He stated that the former minister allegedly instructed the bank MD to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms” of the bank, adding that the said MD accepted and implemented the instruction leading to the movement of $153,310,000 from NNPC to the bank.
Awolusi also averred that the said two former Group Executive Directors of Finance and Account of NNPC, B.O.N. Otti and Stanley Lawson, allegedly helped Alison-Madueke to move the cash from the NNPC in Abuja to the headquarters of the bank in Lagos.
He averred that in an alleged desperate bid to conceal the source of the money, the MD upon receiving it, instructed the Country Head of the bank to take $113,310,000 cash out of the money to the Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Lanre Adesanya, to keep.
The investigator claimed that the remaining $40m was taken in cash to the Executive Director, Public Sector Accountant, First Bank, Dauda Lawal, to keep.
He stated that out of the $113,310,000 handed over to Adesanya, a sum of $108,310,000 was invested in an off balance sheet investment using Sterling Asset Management Trustees Limited.
Awolusi alleged that the said $108,310,000 was subsequently changed to N23,446, 300,000 and saved in Sterling Bank, even as he disclosed that the EFCC had recovered the N23.4bn in draft and had registered it as an exhibit marked, EFCC 01.