More details have emerged of the arrest of Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke: about other suspects, the process of her detention and the upcoming court procedure.
Three ex-ministers face arrest
Fresh reports say that three other ministers who served in Goodluck Jonathan’s administration are set to face arrest.
Sources disclosed to The Nation there was tension in Jonathan’s camp among the officials who feared some secret information could come out, as Diezani is said to be good at keeping written records and notes, and the EFCC reportedly seized a number of documents from her Abuja house during the Friday raid.
A source in an anti-graft agency said Alison-Madueke was “just one of the few cases of ex-ministers under investigation”.
“We have at least about three issues at hand but I will not disclose their names. Do not forget that these three cases are outside the matter of ex-minister Stella Oduah which is stuck in court. We have made our position known on this.
“The depletion of the $1billion in Sovereign Wealth Fund by about $700million is one of the priority cases with anti-graft agencies. There are also the issues of reckless granting of tax waivers to oil firms.”
Those subject to possible arrest are likely to be interrogated in connection with alleged reckless granting of waivers, funds diversion and “questionable contracts”.
Another source who pleaded for anonymity said:
“Those in Jonathan’s camp felt the ex-president’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari had created a window for mutual talks and negotiation on alleged graft findings by the new administration.
“They did not know that Buhari really meant business to retrieve looted funds. Actually, some ex-ministers, including Diezani, have already placed their counsel in Nigeria on standby in case of any invitation by anti-graft agencies. Their plan was that the matter would be settled in Nigerian court.
“But the arrest of the ex-Minister in London has added a new dimension to the anti-corruption agenda of the Buhari administration.
“Those in Jonathan’s camp were shocked by Diezani’s arrest. They have been desperately trying to get in touch with the ex-minister since yesterday without success.
“As at today (yesterday), they are worried that Diezani has cut off contact with everyone, creating fears that she might spill the beans.
“The fear in Jonathan’s camp is that Diezani might be given the James Ibori treatment. They are suspecting that she might be tried and convicted in the UK.”
The ex-presidential aide added:
“None of us has been able to reach out to Diezani because all her lines are off. She has also not called to share her travails with anybody.”
How Alison-Madueke was arrested
A Nigerian oil baron allegedly surrendered to the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) because he knew the game was over. His testimony enabled comprehensive investigation, it has been learnt from sources. The NCA said the investigation had initially started in 2013.
As the EFCC operatives raided Diezani’s home, they were said to have recovered millions of naira, Vanguard has learnt. However, one of the sources said it was only N1.2 million.
Alison-Madueke and four other Nigerians, who were granted bail shortly after the arrest on October 2, are expected to be arraigned in a London court on Monday.
According to Vanguard, the trial might draw thousands of Nigerians to London. The media confirms that more suspects may be arraigned before court.
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