By Eric Elezuo
Reactions have trailed the judgment on Tuesday of the High Court sitting in Lagos which ordered the total and permanent forfeiture of jewelry allegedly valued at $40 million, and belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
In his ruling, Justice Nicholas Nicholas Oweibo held that Diezani, through her lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN), failed to show cause why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
But expressing utter disbelief in the justice system that gave judgment to the EFCC, a close family source of the Alison-Madukes who does not wish to be named, told The Boss that it is unheard of that a case that was not in any way established or proved could be awarded the way it was done to the applicant, asking “where has it been established that she stole public funds to buy jewelry?”
The source noted that the Maduekes are not the run off the mill family, and had been in many lucrative jobs before she became a minister, and as a result can afford to buy her jewelry and any other item. He noted that there is no minister who does not have other jobs they do to complement their income, wondering why Diezani’s case turned different.
“Lest we forget, this is a woman that is almost 60 years, who has been working as a high calibre professional at senior positions in the private sector for many years becoming minister. Are we saying that she could not have owned jewelry before becoming minister,” the source wondered.
Further expressing displeasure at the ‘miscarriage of justice’, the source alleged that “they broke into her home without a search warrant, and with no one present”, stressing that the former minister was not even served through her lawyer, and ‘nobody knows how the value of the seized items jumped from the initial two million to 40 million’.
The source queried as follows: “how do we know that the jewelry in question are all hers, especially as she had not been able to verify that what is being bandied even belong to her.”
Faulting the anti-graft agency’s allegation that the items in question were beyond Diezani’s legitimate earnings, the source lamented that “no matter how anyone looks at this, it is a clear case of miscarriage of justice’.
Mrs. Maduke has been in the radar of the EFCC ever since the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2015, with claims of financial misappropriations which are yet to be proved.