The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured an arrest warrant against former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Also, the commission had initiated extradition proceedings to bring Diezani back to Nigeria.
Diezani was arraigned yesterday at Westminster’s Court in London, United Kingdom (UK) following alleged bribery.
He was arraigned for bribery offences following an investigation by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
In its reaction to Diezani’s arraignment in London, the EFCC said it had initiated the extradition process against the former minister.
The anti-corruption agency hailed her arraignment before Westminster’s Court in London.
In a statement issued by the acting head, media and publicity of the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, the EFCC said it “welcomes, with keen interest the arraignment of a former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke at the Westminster’s Court in London, United Kingdom, following alleged bribery allegations.
“Although the charges preferred against her at the London court, are diametrically different from the 13-count charges bordering on money laundering the EFCC has raised against her, it is instructive to note that 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, United Kingdom, United States of America and Nigeria.”
The EFCC also said, “to bring the former minister to trial in Nigeria, an arrest warrant has been obtained and extradition proceedings have been initiated.
“The commission is on course for her trial. She will soon have her day in our courts.”
Diezani, aged 63, who also served as president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was a key figure in former President Goodluck Jonathan-led government between 2010 and 2015.
According to NCA, Diezani accepted bribes during her time as minister in exchange for awarding multi-million pounds oil and gas contracts.
She was alleged to have benefitted from at least £100,000 in cash, chauffeur driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family and the use of multiple London properties.
Her charges also detailed financial rewards, including furniture, renovation work and staff for the properties, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer shops such as Cartier jewellery and Louis Vuitton goods.
Diezani, who currently lives in St John’s Wood, London, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday.
LEADERSHIP had last August 22 reported the head of the NCA’s International Corruption Unit (ICU), Andy Kelly, saying, “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,” he said.
Assets worth millions of pounds relating to the alleged offences have been frozen as part of the investigation against her.
In March this year, the NCA also provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that enabled them to recover assets worth $53.1 million linked to Diezani’s alleged corruption.
ICU officers have also worked closely with the EFCC during the investigation, as well as with the NCA-hosted International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre.
The IACCC brings together specialist anti-corruption investigators from agencies around the world to tackle allegations of corruption involving politically exposed people. It is currently working in 37 different jurisdictions.
Chief crown prosecutor for the CPS, Andrew Penhale, said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised the NCA to charge Diezani Alison-Madueke with bribery offences.
“The CPS made the decision to authorise the charge after reviewing a file of evidence from the NCA relating to allegations of bribery in Nigeria.
“Criminal proceedings against Ms Alison-Madueke are active and she has the right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.
“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a criminal court to consider.”