The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is reportedly making moves to seize known assets of former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and those of her accomplice, Kola Aluko in the United Arab Emirates. Nigeria and the UAE has an existing agreements, namely Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters (the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth).
The Nation claimed an EFCC source squealed that the properties had been documented and are located in the highbrow Jumeirah, which is the most expensive and exclusive area in Dubai. Of the eight properties said to have been identified, two of them, namely J5 Emirates Hills (30million Dirham) and E146 Emirates Hills valued at 44million Dirham, are linked to two Alison-Madueke. However, the addresses of the mansions of Aluko and the ex-Oceanic Bank official, a woman, have not been disclosed for “security reasons”.
“The EFCC still has a valid Mareva Injunction to freeze some foreign accounts and seize some assets linked with Diezani and her business associates in the United Kingdom and some jurisdictions.
“Some of the offshore financial institutions, where accounts are frozen, include BNP Paribas (Switzerland), LGT Bank (Switzerland), Standard Chartered Bank (London),Barclays Bank (London), Standard Energy (Voduz, Switzerland), HSBC (London), Corner Bank (Lugano, Switzerland) and Deutsche Bank (Geneva). “Besides the luxury properties traced to Diezani and Aluko in the US, we have identified more in Dubai. “So far, we have commenced the process of ensuring the forfeiture of these assets by the suspects. The EFCC is also verifying the assets linked with Aluko’s business partner, Chief Jide Omokore in Dubai too.
“All the steps taken so far are in line with the relevant laws in the UAE and the six agreements signed with Nigeria when President Buhari went on official trip.” According to the source, the EFCC believes that “some of the assets were bought with part of the $1.5billion oil production contracts.
”These oil barons and their ilk acquired these properties when Dubai was a safe haven for looted funds. But the UAE has strengthened its laws in a manner that there is no more hidden place for the corrupt,” the source said, adding that the only hurdle the EFCC has to cross is the legal process in the UAE to retrieve the assets.
“We are already employing the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement to get this done.” He said. The Federal Government has ratified all the agreements with the UAE. This development will hasten asset recovery and retrieval of looted funds.
“We will do our best to comply with their legal procedure,” the source said. This is coming after the US Department of Justice filed a suit to seize and recover assets traced to Aluko and Jide Omokore, two accomplices of Alison-Madueke.