The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) suspects this sprawling estate in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, belongs to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
It was discovered by operatives of the anti-graft agency in the course of their investigation of public funds allegedly stolen by the former minister.The investigators conducted a search on some of the houses on the estate.
Acting Chairman of the EFCC , Mr. Ibrahim Magu has already left Nigeria for London in connection with the investigation of the ex-minister and some upscale properties traced to her at home and abroad.
About five bank chiefs are likely to face trial over the $153million allegedly withdrawn by the ex-minister from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation( NNPC) in December 2014.
The Nation gathered that the EFCC team,acting on intelligence,uncovered the sprawling estate which is coded as BGIS/OK/02/16/310.
It is located on Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Street, off Goodluck Jonathan Road in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
A source familiar with the investigation said:
“Following our obtaining a court order to recover some assets belonging to Diezani, we were able to gather intelligence which led to the location of the hidden estate in question in Bayelsa State.
“Our operatives also conducted searches in some houses on the estate based on tip off on the ex-minister.
“We will follow due process in invoking the relevant laws on asset forfeiture on all the mansions in the estate.”
On the EFCC boss, Magu’s trip to London,a second source said:
“We are getting closer to the biggest fraud trial in the UK. The Acting EFCC chairman has left Abuja for London to compare notes with his colleagues.
“The EFCC is collaborating with prosecutors in the United Kingdom by providing incontrovertible evidence against the ex-minister.
“Some of the UK investigators visited Nigeria in 2016. A few of our crack detectives have been in and out of the UK too.“Magu’s trip is part of the crystallization and consolidation of evidence against Diezani.”
Four banks have been fingered in how Diezani laundered $153,310,000.
The EFCC told a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday that the huge cash was wired from NNPC accounts to Fidelity Bank before it was given to Sterling Bank , Access Bank Plc, First Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc for safe keeping.
The breakdown of how the loot was hidden is as follows: Access Bank ($5million); Sterling Bank (N23, 446, 300,000); and First Bank (N9,080,000,000).