The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to seize a mansion reportedly owned by Kola Aluko in Duba, just 48 hours after the US Department of Justice released details of how part of the $1.5 billion oil production contracts funds were laundered.
The EFCC will also apply for the forfeiture of two houses belonging to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, who was implicated by the US authorities as a beneficiary of the laundered cash.
The Nation reports that about five luxury properties have also been traced to a former official of the defunct Oceanic Bank. All the properties have been identified and documented for forfeiture with the UAE authorities.
On January 19, 2016, Nigeria signed six agreements with the UAE, following a state visit by President Muhammadu Buhari. The pact includes 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).
A source revealed that all the suspicious assets had been located in the highbrow Jumeirah, which is the most expensive and exclusive area in Dubai.
For “security reasons”, the addresses of the mansions of Aluko and the ex-Oceanic Bank official, a woman, have not been disclosed.
“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,” he said.
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.
“We are already employing the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement to get this done.”