Court stops EFCC from seizing London properties wrongly linked to Diezani - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Court stops EFCC from seizing London properties wrongly linked to Diezani

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from seizing four London properties that were wrongly linked to the former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke.   

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, also barred the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Crown Prosecution Service (United Kingdom), the National Crime Agency (UK), as well as three British Investigators-  Helen Hughes, Stacey Boniface and John Bavister- from confiscating the assets.

Justice Adeniyi held that evidence before the court established that the said properties legally belonged to a billionaire businessman, Mr. Benedict Peters and his companies.

The judgement followed a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/0536/17, which Mr. Peters who is the owner of AITEO, filed alongside his three companies, Colinwood Limited, Rosewood Investments Limited and Walworth Properties Limited.

The Claimants had in the suit they filed through their legal team led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, accused the defendant of misrepresentation of the the true ownership of the assets, alleging that facts about the properties were concealed.

They told the court that owing to gross misstatements and concealment of facts, the EFCC obtained interim forfeiture orders it relied upon to request for Mutual Legal Assistance that culminated in two restraint orders in the United Kingdom.  

Consequently, the Claimants prayed the Nigerian court to intervene in the matter, insisting that the wrongful linkage of the properties to the erstwhile Petroleum Minister and the subsequent restraint orders in the UK, occasioned hardship, grave damages, loss of earnings, loss of goodwill and subjected the Plaintiffs to public contempt, odium and opprobrium. 

In his judgement, a copy of which was obtained by Vanguard on Tuesday, Justice Adeniyi, said the court was convinced that the defendants attempted to by unlawful means, extract by intimidation and coercion, the assets, properties and monies to which the Claimants are legitimately entitled.

"It is hereby declared that the Defendants, by fraudulent design, suppressed and misrepresented facts in supposition that the Claimants' properties namely: (1) 270-17 Street, Unit #4204, Atlanta,
Georgia; (2) Flat 5 Parkview, 83- 86
Prince Albert Road, St. John's
Wood, London; (3) Flat 59 Harley
House Marylebone, London; and
(4) Apartment 4,5 Arlington Roed,
London; legitimately acquired, belonged to Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria, and/or were unlawfully acquired, a fact they knew or ought to know was untrue, incorrect, which act constitutes the tort of carousel fraud.

"It is hereby further declared that the predominant purpose of the deceitful sham allegations by the Defendants that the Assets/ Properties listed in relief 1 above belonged to persons other than the Claimants was directly intended (albeit to inflict economic loss on the  as it was to unlawfully profit the Defendants.

"It is hereby further declared that the unlawful means of conspiracy of the Defendants was to extract by intimidation, coercion, the assets, properties and monies to which the Claimants are legitimately entitled.
"The Defendants, their operatives, officers, agents, servants in whatever manner and howsoever called, are hereby jointly or severally restrained from interfering with the proprietary rights and/or interests of the Claimants, their agents, alter-ego or privies in relation to the properties listed in this suit.

"The Defendants either by themselves jointly/ severally, their operatives, officer, investigators, servants, agents, associates and howsoever called, are hereby restrained from  interfering/ continued  with the person of the 1st Claimant, either by way of arrest, criminal indictment, charge, interdiction, extradition, or in any other manner infringing on his personal liberty and freedom of movement on the facts and circumstances of this case, especially in the face of subsisting judgments of various Courts on the issues.

"The sum of (Two Hundred Million Naira) only is hereby awarded as general damages, jointly in favour of the Claimants against the Defendants, jointly and severally, for the unlawful interference, economic loss, loss of Corporate goodwill  from creditors, expropriation of personal Assets and proprietary rights of the Claimants", the court held.

Source: Vanguard

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