The United Kingdom (UK) government has charged Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum resources, to court over an alleged £100,000 bribe.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said they suspected Diezani had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
In a statement published on its website on Tuesday, NCA said Diezani will appear at Westminster magistrates court on October 2, for the case.
“She is 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,” the statement reads.
“Her charges also detail 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.”
In March this year, the NCA also provided evidence to the US department of justice that enabled them to recover assets totalling USD $53.1 million linked to Diezan’s alleged corruption.
Andy Kelly, head of the NCA’s international corruption unit (ICU), said the “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,” Kelly added.
In October 2015, Diezani and four other persons were arrested in the UK over alleged bribery and money laundering offences.
A magistrate court in the UK granted Diezani bail but her passport was seized while she was asked to report at the Charing Cross police station.
Diezani was the minister of petroleum resources from 2010 to 2015 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Shortly before Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, she left the country.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that the former minister stole $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was a minister.
She denied the allegations, while the EFCC has since commenced a process to extradite her.
The federal government had secured a forfeiture order of Diezani’s properties located in Banana Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, including 18 flats and six penthouses.
Over the past few years, Diezani and two of her business associates — Kola Aluko, and Jide Omokore have been facing trial over alleged fraud in the procurement of oil contracts and money laundering in Nigeria and the US.
In 2017, the US government filed a suit to recover $144 million in assets that were purportedly acquired with proceeds from a shady scheme in Nigeria’s oil industry.
Aluko and Omokore were said to have paid bribes between 2011 and 2015 to Diezani in exchange for contracts.
Diezani reportedly used her position to secure contracts for Aluko and Omokri’s shell companies through a subsidiary of the defunct Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) — now the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.