UK Police Charges Diezani Alison-Madueke With Bribery
By Adedapo Adesanya
Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke has been charged with bribery offences relating to her time as Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Tuesday.
The head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, Mr Andy Kelly, said in a statement that, “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million-pound contracts.”
The NCA said Mrs Alison-Madueke allegedly benefited from at least £100,000 ($127,000) in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.
Charges against her 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, the NCA said.
Since she left office, she has been dogged by corruption allegations but denies the charges.
The 63-year-old woman has been on bail since first being arrested in London in October 2015, and following this fresh development, she will appear in court in the British capital on October 2, the NCA said.
“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries,” Mr Kelly said.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation,” he added.
Mrs Alison-Madueke has been living in the upmarket St. John’s Wood area of north London since she was first arrested, and undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer, according to her family.
At the time of her arrest, the NCA said only it had detained five people in London on suspicion of international corruption, without naming those held.
The administration of erstwhile President Muhammadu Buhari later confirmed Mrs Alison-Madueke’s arrest and said its law enforcement agencies were cooperating with their British counterparts.
The NCA said that assets worth millions of pounds in relation to the case had been frozen as part of the investigation.
In March, the agency, which targets international and organised crime, provided evidence to the US Department of Justice, allowing them to recover assets totalling $53.1 million linked to Mrs Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.