Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has appeared at the Westminster Magistrates Court in the UK over an alleged £100,000 bribe.
The district judge, Michael Snow, approved of Alison-Madueke’s bail for £70,000.Snow regardless levied other conditions on Alison-Madueke after considering her “a flight risk”.
The conditions included an 11 pm to 6 am curfew, an electronic tag to be worn at all times and a £70,000 surety to be paid before she could leave the court building.
The next time she will appear in court will be on October 30 at Southwark Crown Court, which deals with criminal cases.
A source told TheCable that the ex-minister was charged alongside her brother and Timbo Ayinde, an oil businessman.
During today’s proceedings, she was given a name, date of birth, and address by Alison-Maduek.
She was asked not to formally enter a plea, although her lawyer, Mark Bowen, told the court that she would be pleading not guilty.The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), in August, said they suspected Alison-Madueke had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
In a statement published on its website, NCA said Alison-Madueke “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”.
“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 jewelry and Louis Vuitton goods,” the statement reads.
‘COMPLEX INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION’
This year, in March, the NCA also provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that enabled them to recover assets totaling USD 53.1 million linked to Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.
Head of the NCA’s international corruption unit (ICU), Andy Kelly, 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.
Alison-Madueke October 2015 and four other persons were arrested in the UK over alleged bribery and money laundering offenses.
A magistrate court in the UK granted Alison-Madueke bail but her passport was seized. She was asked to report at the Charing Cross police station afterward.
Alison-Madueke was the minister of petroleum resources from 2010 to 2015 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Shortly before Jonathan handed over to ex-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 Nigeria’s coffers as minister.