Court orders final forfeiture of Diezani’s N7.6bn loot

A Nigerian court seized $21 million on Monday from bank accounts linked to a former oil minister accused of corruption as investigators continue to claw back her fortune.

Federal high court judge Abdulazeez Anka ordered the immediate forfeiture of 7.6 billion naira ($21 million, 17.9 million euros) allegedly held in local bank accounts by Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was once one of Africa’s most prominent female politicians.

Nigeria’s anti-graft Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which accuses Alison-Madueke of corruption, argued in court that she had illicitly laundered the funds with the help of top oil officials.

Since leaving office in 2015, Alison-Madueke has been implicated in bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds and money laundering cases in Nigeria, Britain, Italy and the United States.

The former president of the global oil cartel OPEC, the first female to hold the post, Alison-Madueke has always denied the allegations which involve billions of dollars syphoned from oil deals and state accounts.

The ruling followed two applications by the EFCC which earlier this month successfully seized properties worth $44 million that Alison-Madueke allegedly purchased with the proceeds of corruption.

President Muhammadu Buhari, elected in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform, is seeking to stamp-out Nigeria’s widespread graft.

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