Diezani’s loot: 80 houses, $153m, recovered, not finished – EFCC

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, has disclosed that a staggering US$153 million and 80 houses have been confiscated from the fugitive former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The former Minister has been hibernating in London, the British capital, since 2015, and has several cases of fraud dangling on her neck like the sword of Damocles.

According to the EFCC boss, the Commission had recovered US$153 million from Madueke, and secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued over US$80million.

This was contained in an exclusive interview Bawa granted NTA’s Cyril Stober but which was run in the current edition of the commission’s in-house magazine, EFCC Alert!

In the interview, Bawa spoke on a wide range of issues including the Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s trial, conviction and ongoing retrial, allegation of media trial, clamour in some quarters for creation of special courts to speed up trials, forfeited assets and plea bargain, among others.

On the alleged mega looting by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, Bawa said: “There are several cases surrounding that. As you may have read, I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80million. We have done quite a bit on that.

“The other cases as it relates to the $115million INEC bribery as the media has sensationalised it, is also ongoing across the Federation. We are looking forward to the time when we will, maybe, have her in the country, and of course review things and see what will happen going forward. The case has certainly not been abandoned.”

On the status of the corruption case involving the former Abia State Governor and Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the EFCC boss said: “The position is very clear. The EFCC succeeded in 12 years to get him convicted at the Federal High Court. Of course, he went to the Supreme Court, and because the judge that convicted him has been elevated, the ruling was made and the EFCC as a respecter of the rule of law, we have taken it as it is. The Supreme Court has ordered that we should go back to the Federal High Court in Lagos. Now we are at the Federal High Court in Abuja, and we have applied to the court for the case to be transferred to Lagos as ordered by the Supreme Court to enable us start all over again.

“It however, draws a precedence, and those are the issues; law as the lawyers will say, is a living thing; we had the ACJA in 2015, we have had this problem of elevation of judges from High Court to Court of Appeal, and we pushed that they should be given the opportunity to finish their cases, because some of these cases have taken a very long time. We thought we had succeeded in getting this in ACJA. The law was however, not seen as such. Now we may have to solve the problem from the Constitution, and then we will be home and dry.

Senator Kalu had, in December 2019, been convicted and jailed 12 years for a N7.65billion fraud allegedly perpetuated when he was Abia State governor between 1999 and 2007. He was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and his former Abia State director of finance, Ude Udeogu.

But on May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court nullified the conviction.

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