Indications emerged yesterday that former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, may have been lurking in diplomatic cover to evade arrest and repatriation to face trial over alleged corruption charges against her in Nigeria.
Documents obtained by LEADERSHIP Weekend from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFCC) showed that the former minister who left the shores of the country immediately after she vacated office on May 28, 2015 perfectly lobbied to be appointed as Trade and investment Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Dominica, an international appointment that took effect from June 1, 2015.
Diezani, it was gathered, finalised the plan with the office of the Prime Minister, Commonwealth of Dominica. The plan, which eventually worked, saw Diezani being appointed as commissioner in a letter dated May 29, 2015 and signed by Prime Minister Roosevelt Kerry. Diezani was not only offered the citizenship of Dominica, a Caribbean island, but also an appointment as Trade and Investment commissioner and a diplomatic passport issued on May 21, 2015 , with an expiry date of May 20, 2020.
In the appointment letter issued by Prime Minister Kerry, she was assigned the task of “direct promotion and marketing of Dominica as a trade and investment domicile, as well as an emerging and unique tourist destination in the Caribbean”.
Outlining her duties, Kerry also said, “I envisage you playing an active role in the coordination of road shows and trade and investment expositions, as well as providing facilitator services to businessmen interested in investing or doing business with the Caribbean region. Dominica is ideally placed and equipped to serve as the perfect hub for such commercial activities in this region”.
The 32-page passport with number is DP0000445 has in one of the pages a restraining statement against arrest of the holder of the diplomatic passport. “The President of the Commonwealth of Dominica requests and requires in the Name of the Government of Dominica all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary”, it noted.
When contacted, a top official of the EFCC, who did not want his name in print because he is not authorised to speak on the matter, confirmed the development.
He noted that the commission will operate within the ambit of the law and ensure that Diezani is brought to justice. He said having successfully secured the diplomatic passport, the former Nigerian Petroleum minister became immune to arrest by any law enforcement agency, including the Interpol. He added: “Diezani is believed to be busy working for the Commonwealth of Dominica, strengthened by a diplomatic shield which no law enforcement agency around the world can ignore.
“Besides, her British citizenship is another protective hedge she has been using against repatriation to Nigeria to answer overwhelming charges of corruption against her”. Diezani is billed to face trial for sundry allegations of corruption, fraudulent ownership of 76 properties in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt valued at about N23billion. The EFCC has already preferred a 14-count charge bordering on stealing and concealment of $153million against her.
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