THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has welcomed the arraignment of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, at the Westminister’s Court in London, United Kingdom.
The former minister is being tried following alleged bribery allegations.
The EFCC is trying to extradite Allison-Madueke from the United Kingdom to Nigeria to face the 13-count charges bordering on money laundering levelled against her by the anti-graft agency.
This was disclosed on Monday, October 2, in a statement by the newly appointed spokesperson of the EFCC, Dele Oyewale.
Oyewale said although the charges preferred against Diezani at the London court differed from the 13-count charges bordering on money laundering by the EFCC, ‘criminality is criminality’, irrespective of jurisdictional differences.
“No crime can go unpunished. The money laundering charges for which Madueke is answerable to the EFCC cover jurisdictions in Dubai, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Nigeria.
“To bring the former Minister to trial in Nigeria, an arrest warrant has been obtained, and extradition proceedings have been initiated,” Oyewale stated.
The Commission said efforts to bring her back to Nigeria for her trial were on course.
Reports say the former minister appeared before the Westminster Magistrates Court in London over an alleged £100,000 bribe.
Alison-Madueke was given a £70,000 bond by district judge Michael Snow, along with other conditions like an 11-night to 6 a.m. curfew, an electronic tag that she had to wear constantly, and a £70,000 surety that had to be paid before she could leave the courthouse.
In August, the UK’s National Crime Agency stated that it believed Alison-Madueke had taken bribes in exchange for awarding multi-million dollar oil and gas contracts.
The former minister is accused of acquiring a minimum of £100,000 in cash, chauffeured cars, private jet flights, opulent family vacations, and utilising numerous London properties.
The charges against her also outline financial benefits such as furniture, property renovations, staffing, covering private school fees, and receiving gifts from upscale designer stores like Cartier Jewellery and Louis Vuitton items.
In the statement, the head of the NCA’s International Corruption Unit (ICU), Andy Kelly, said, “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million-pound contracts.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.
“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries. We will continue to work with partners here and overseas to tackle the threat.”
NCA also disclosed that assets worth millions of pounds in connection with the crime were already frozen as part of the investigation.
Similarly, in March 2023, the US Department of Justice recovered assets totalling USD 53.1m linked to Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption through the evidence provided by the NCA.
Diezani served as the Minister of Petroleum Resources from 2010 to 2015 during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure.
She fled the country just before Jonathan ceded power to his successor, former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
The former minister was accused by the EFCC of stealing $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was a minister.