A former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison Madueke, has been charged with bribery offences following an investigation by National Crime Agency of the British government. There are suspicions that she accepted bribes in exchange for granting oil and gas contracts worth millions of pounds.
Aged 63, Alison-Madueke held the position of petroleum minister from 2010 to 2015 during the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan. Additionally, she assumed the role of president for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from 2014 to 2015.
“We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts,” said Andy Kelly, Head of the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) International Corruption Unit.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.”
The Delta State indigene according to the NCA, is alleged to have profited from a minimum of £100,000 ($127,000) in cash, chauffeur-driven vehicles, private jet trips, extravagant family vacations, and the utilization of various London properties.
The charges against her also outline monetary benefits such as furniture, property renovations, staffing for the properties, covering private school tuition fees, and receiving presents from upscale designer stores like Cartier and Louis Vuitton, including jewelry and goods.
The NCA stated that she presently resides in the affluent St John’s Wood neighborhood in west London and is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 2nd.
In October 2015, Alison-Madueke was taken into custody in London shortly after stepping down from her position. She has also been under scrutiny in both Nigeria and the United States.
The NCA also mentioned that assets valued at millions of pounds connected to the alleged crimes were frozen. Additionally, they shared evidence with the U.S. Department of Justice, leading to the recovery of assets totaling $53 million linked to Alison-Madueke.
In recent years, Nigerian courts have issued rulings ordering the confiscation of assets worth tens of millions of dollars. These assets encompass properties, automobiles, substantial jewelry collections, and even a gold iPhone.
The British charges have emerged a month following a London court’s decision to seize $130 million from James Ibori, a former governor of a Nigerian oil state, in a separate yet equally significant case related to political corruption in Nigeria.
Given its advanced legal and financial sectors along with its prosperous real estate market, Britain functions as a worldwide hub for money laundering. The NCA’s anti-corruption division forms part of the government’s endeavor to counter the influx of illicit funds.
Meanwhile, speaking over the development, Andy Kelly, Head of the NCA’s International Corruption Unit—ICU 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.”
Previously, she refuted allegations of corruption, but attempts to contact her on Tuesday were unsuccessful.