Nigerian court seizes 56 houses linked to ex-oil minist…
A Nigerian court has ordered the seizure of 56 properties linked to the country’s former oil minister, who is facing corruption allegations.
Local media and agency reports said the houses, penthouses and flats in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt were worth between £5.5m and £17m.
The properties, bought through front companies, were linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke and her cousin, Donald Chidi Amamgbo.
Anti-corruption investigators found documents at Amamgbo’s office that suggested he owned 18 companies and properties in Britain and the US, a court has heard.
He told Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the companies had been registered to hold property on Alison-Madueke’s behalf.
The 56-year-old, who was also the first female president of the oil organisation OPEC, was arrested and bailed in London in October 2015 as part of a British police investigation into corruption.
Last month, a court in south London ordered a freeze on five upmarket properties in the British capital linked to Alison-Madueke and a number of her associates.
Two properties listed in the case were sold in 2015 for about £7.5m before action could be taken.
In August, another Nigerian judge ordered the confiscation of Ms Alison-Madueke’s £28m luxury apartment complex in the upmarket Banana Island area of Lagos.
The previous month, US authorities announced they had started proceedings to seize £110m of assets belonging to associates of the former minister.
Among them were an £61m superyacht and a £38m luxury apartment in New York allegedly bought with the proceeds of suspect oil contracts awarded by Alison-Madueke.
She was oil minister between 2010 and 2015, when former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was dogged by corruption allegations.
She denied wrongdoing when it was claimed that £15bn of oil money had gone missing when she was in office.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was elected on a promise to tackle endemic government corruption and claw back what he said were “mind-boggling” sums of stolen public money.
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