The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Sterling Bank Plc to temporarily forfeit to the Federal Government a sum of N7,646,700,000 said to have been illegally kept in the bank’s custody by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order following an ex parte application argued before him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He adjourned till August 28, 2017 for the bank and any other interested party to appear before him to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The EFCC had told the judge that the N7.6bn was part of a sum of $153,310,000 which Diezani allegedly siphoned from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation sometime in 2014.
The anti-graft agency said Diezani stashed the money in three banks, adding that the Federal Government had since February last year, through an order by Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, recovered part of the money from the other banks.
The anti-graft agency recalled that the Federal Government had recovered N23.4bn, $5m and another N9.08bn out of the $153.3m.
It urged the court to order Sterling Bank to deliver up to the Federal Government the N7.6bn still in its custody.
In an eight-paragraph affidavit, an operative of the EFCC, Usman Zakari, averred that Diezani laundered the N7.6bn in connivance with other officials of the NNPC.