Nigeria’s ex-oil minister battles slew of graft cases both at home and abroad

She has always denied the allegations, which involve billions of dollars siphoned from oil deals and state coffers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 9:10pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 10:36pm

Nigeria’s former oil minister faces charges only at home but her name crops up in a growing number of international cases that lift the lid on the scale of alleged corruption in the country’s oil sector.

Since leaving office in 2015, Diezani Alison-Madueke has been implicated in bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds, and money laundering cases in Nigeria, Britain, Italy and the United States.

She has always denied the allegations, which involve billions of dollars siphoned from oil deals and state coffers.

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, elected in 2015 on a promise to eliminate graft, has said that “mind-boggling” sums of public money were stolen by previous administrations.

Officials in Abuja say they are talking with US prosecutors about repatriating the money if the civil forfeiture claim is successful.

Alison-Madueke served under president Goodluck Jonathan from 2010 to 2015 and was Nigeria’s first female minister of petroleum resources.

On her watch, the former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi was sacked for claiming the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to remit US$20 billion.

The fight against corruption will receive a boost. At last, the chickens are coming home to roost
Debo Adeniran

In one case heard in Nigeria in February, Alison-Madueke was accused of diverting some US$153 million from the NNPC coffers. Prosecutors in Lagos last week began proceedings to ­recover US$1.76 billion of assets owned by Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore, whose companies were awarded oil contracts by Alison-Madueke.

On Wednesday, another judge ordered the forfeiture of Alison-Madueke’s US$37.5 million luxury Lagos property, saying it was bought with ill-gotten funds.

Finally, Diezani-Madueke was arrested in London in October 2015 in connection with a British inquiry into international corruption and money laundering, but she was freed on bail.

Anti-graft campaigners hope the growing body of evidence will boost current President Muhammadu Buhari’s faltering war on corruption. Debo Adeniran, of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders lobby group, said the latest cases involving Alison-Madueke, Aluko and Omokore could be a “morale booster”.

“The fight against corruption will receive a boost. At last, the chickens are coming home to roost.”