Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, appeared before the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London on Monday morning, October 2, to face bribery charges filed against her following an investigation by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
Diezani, who also served as president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was a key figure in the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government between 2010 and 2015. According to NCA, Diezani accepted bribes during her time as Minister for Petroleum Resources in exchange for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts. She was 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 detailed 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 jewellery and Louis Vuitton goods. The charges against her, read out in court, all related to events alleged to have taken place in London during her time as a Nigerian minister.
The Prosecutor Andy Young said she was alleged to have accepted a wide range of benefits in cash and in kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts which he said were worth billions of dollars in total. The advantages included delivery of £100,000 ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside. They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Head of the NCA’s International Corruption Unit (ICU), Andy Kelly, had on August 22 announced plans to charge the former Petroleum Minister to court.
“We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts. These 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.”
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