The Federal High Court in Lagos today ordered the forfeiture of three landed properties with the market value of N6.42 billion traced to the fugitive oil trader, Kola Aluko.
Kola Aluko who is an ally of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke has been on the run since 2015.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission gave the value of the properties located in Abuja and Lagos as $73m and N350m.
According to a report by SaharaReporters, the EFCC gave the names of the properties as 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 anti-graft agency said Plot 3389 and Plot 3390 in Abuja were purchased for N350m and $18m, respectively.
The EFCC said the Lagos property was bought for $55m.
The EFCC said the funds used to procure the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Following an ex-parte application on Tuesday, Justice Mohammed Liman ordered the properties temporarily forfeited to the government.
EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, had 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.
He said, “The properties sought to be attached are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of an unlawful diversion from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“That the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
An operative of the EFCC, Sambo Mayana, said the anti-graft agency investigated Aluko after receiving from Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr Debo Adeniran, “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.”
After granting the forfeiture order, the judge directed the EFCC to publish it in a national newspaper.
The case was 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.