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Court orders forfeiture of Kola Aluko’s $73m, N350m properties

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the forfeiture of three landed properties in Lagos and Abuja belonging to Mr Kola Aluko, an ally of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke.

Justice Mohammed Liman made the order following an ex parte motion filed by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo.

The EFCC said first defendant Aluko is the Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd (AEDC) and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited (AEBD).

His co-defendant is a firm, District Heights Ltd.

The anti-graft agency said the properties were valued at $73 million and N350 million

The properties are: Plot 3389 and Plot 3390, House 2, Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro Cadastral Zone, Abuja as well as Avenue Towers, Plot 1391, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The EFCC said Plot 3389 and Plot 3390 in Abuja were purchased for N350m and $18 million respectively while the Lagos property was bought for $55million.

According to it, the funds used to procure the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

Oyedepo told the judge that Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 2016 empowered the court to make such a forfeiture order.

“The properties sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful diversion from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“The respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the lawyer said in the application.”

In an attached sworn affidavit, an operative of the EFCC, Sambo Mayana, said the anti-graft agency investigated Aluko after receiving from Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, “a damning intelligence report and a petition alleging fraud, lack of transparency and unethical conduct in the transfer of production rights in the oil mining leases against the respondent and his cronies.

“That there are suspicious financial transactions involving the 1st respondent, KAA and Atlantic Energy Holding Limited based in the British Virgin Island.

“That the company, in the course of three years, received large suspicious transfers from two sister companies, namely: Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, based in Nigeria.

“The Respondent and his crony Olajide Jones Omokore are the operators and beneficial owners of the Atlantic Energy companies mentioned above including Atlantic Energy DMCC and Atlantic Energy SA.

“That the first Respondent is close crony of the erstwhile Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources. Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke.”

After granting the application, Justice Liman directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper.

He adjourned till November 12, 2019 for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

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