Allison Maduekwe Arrested in London

The immediate past Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was yesterday arrested with four other people by the UK National Crime Agency. She was however granted bail after she had been detained for  several hours. According to London Police she will be charged to court for money laundering. Regarded as the most powerful minister in the Dr Goodluck Jonathan Administration,

Alison Madueke was arrested yesterday morning for alleged offences relating to money laundering, bribery and corruption being investigated by the UK National Crime Agency.

This is coming as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last night sealed off her house in Asokoro area of Abuja. The identities of the four other people arrested along with her could not be immediately ascertained as at press time. Two top British officials in London confirmed the development on the condition of anonymity because they had no permission to speak on the issue.

When contacted, the British High Commission in Nigeria confirmed that some arrests were made Friday but declined to disclose the identities of those involved. Joseph Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, said, “This morning, five people between the ages of 21 and 60 were arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences. The crimes are being investigated by the National Crime Agency. The National Crime Agency does not confirm identity of any arrest nor provide information that could be used to corroborate the identity of an arrested individual.” The UK National Crime Agency also confirmed the arrest and added that the identities of those arrested would be officially disclosed at the point of being charged to court.

Late yesterday evening, heavily armed EFCC operatives had invaded the former minister’s mansion at Frederick Chiluba Street, Asokoro, Abuja. They stormed the house in three white Hilux trucks and two Hilux buses. Two of the trucks were unmarked while one belonged to the Nigerian Police. The EFCC operatives cordoned off the house and did not allow vehicles to stop in front of the duplex. Some were inside the premises and others were outside.

It was not clear whether Alison-Madueke was arrested based on request from the Federal Government given that President Muhammadu Buhari had on September 27 hinted that those who misappropriated billions of naira belonging to Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC would soon be prosecuted. Mr. Buhari said at a meeting with President Xi Jinping of China in New York that his administration was determined to fully sanitize Nigeria’s oil industry and make it totally free of corruption and shady deals.

Before now, Mrs. Alison-Madueke had been alleged to be involved in many corrupt dealings that have not been proved. The allegations included keeping $700 million in her house and losing the sum of N2billion in various foreign currencies to her domestic staff on June 3, 2014. Under her tenure, the NNPC was rocked by a missing $20billion scandal, over which the new General Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has promised to invite foreign auditor for a full forensic audit of the corporation’s accounts. Former Central Bank Governor and now the Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi alleged that NNPC could not account for $20billion although the initial allegation was that $40billion was missing.

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