Monday, October 26, 2020

Nigeria seeks extradition of former minister Madueke in money laundering case

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According to a new report, the former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, is to be extradited from Britain.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is to approach Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami( SAN) this week with a request to file charges against Mrs Alison-Madueke based on its findings.

As part of its investigation, the EFCC had traced N47.2 billion and $487.5million to the ex-minister.

Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of the property.

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According to a fact-sheet, the EFCC has concluded the investigation of the allegations against Mrs Alison-Madueke.

More than 50 suspects in some of the cases linked with her have been arraigned in court, especially the alleged N23.29billion 2015 poll bribe.

The EFCC review team felt it will be “in the interest of justice to extradite the ex-minister to Nigeria for trial”. She is believed to be in Britain.

Some of the investigated allegations against the ex-Minister, with substantial evidence, include the following:

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Release of $1.3b NNPC cash to the Office of the national Security Adviser (ONSA) in 2014 to fight kidnapping in Niger Delta; whereabouts of $18.5billion earnings by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); $15.8billion NLNG dividends between 2000 and 2014( especially about $9b component between 2010 and 2015); $1.7billion oil contracts involving Mrs Alison-Madueke and two business associates; N23.29b 2015 poll bribery scam; $37.5m property on Banana Island; and Acquisition of many properties at home, in Britain, and in the UAE

A source, who spoke in confidence, told The Nation that: “The EFCC has reached a convenient bend to request for the extradition of Diezani from the UK. Most of the cases against her have reached maturity level for her trial at home.

“The commission will formally approach the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami( SAN) to assist it to invoke the extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UK against Diezani.

“Through the office of the AGF, appropriate charges will be filed in court to commence the process for the extradition of the ex-Minister.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The extradition process is without prejudice to the ongoing investigation of Diezani in the UK.

“The US end of Diezani probe has been done. The EFCC has also hauled evidence to the UK to assist the authorities. Some detectives from the UK have visited this country too.

“For the Nigerian flank of the probe, it is necessary to extradite Diezani to answer allegations against her.”

The source, however, added that the AGF has the final say on whether or not to initiate the extradition process. He stressed that all the allegations against the former minister are within the extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UK.

“Having also alleged that the said $153.3million was ‘wired’ from NNPC, the EFCC should also publish details of the NNPC accounts from where the said $153.3 million was taken, with proof that I authorised such a transaction/transactions, acting either in my private capacity or as The Honourable Minister of Petroleum.

“Let me state for the record that as Minister of Petroleum, the operation and management of NNPC finances were outside my purview as outlined in both the Petroleum Act and the NNPC Act.

“The only involvement I had in NNPC finances was in terms of statutory matters, where the Petroleum Act prescribes that as minister, there were certain duties or actions which I had to perform or take in relation to NNPC.”

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