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EFCC Pursues Diezani’s Extradition for Money Laundering

In a significant development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has obtained an arrest warrant as it commences the extradition process of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom back to Nigeria. This move is in response to the 13-count charges of money laundering leveled against her by the anti-graft agency.

The EFCC has disclosed that the money laundering charges against Alison-Madueke span multiple jurisdictions, including Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Nigeria.

Alison-Madueke recently appeared before the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, where she faced allegations of receiving a £100,000 bribe. District Judge Michael Snow granted her £70,000 bail with several conditions, including an 11 pm to 6 am curfew, the requirement to wear an electronic tag at all times, and a £70,000 surety to be paid before leaving the court building.

In August, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed suspicions that Alison-Madueke had accepted bribes in exchange for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.

A source within the Federal Government, who spoke anonymously, disclosed that informal interagency collaboration between the EFCC and the UK’s NCA has led to the ongoing trial of Alison-Madueke at the Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

Diezani Alison-Madueke served as the Minister of Petroleum Resources from 2010 to 2015 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. She left the country shortly before the handover to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

The EFCC has alleged that the former minister embezzled $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government during her tenure.

The EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, welcomed Alison-Madueke’s arraignment in the UK and announced that the EFCC had obtained an arrest warrant and initiated extradition proceedings to bring her to trial in Nigeria. Oyewale emphasized that criminality knows no jurisdictional boundaries, and the money laundering charges against Alison-Madueke span multiple countries, including Nigeria.

In a statement on its website, the NCA outlined the allegations against Diezani, which include benefits such as cash, chauffeur-driven cars, private jet flights, luxury family holidays, and the use of multiple London properties. The charges also detail financial rewards, including furniture, renovation work, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer shops.

In March 2023, the NCA provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that enabled the recovery of assets totaling USD $53.1 million linked to Diezani’s alleged corruption.

Andy Kelly, the Head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, stated that these charges mark a milestone in a thorough and complex international investigation. Bribery, he emphasized, is a pervasive form of corruption with devastating consequences for developing countries, and international cooperation is crucial to tackling this threat.

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