• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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$2.5bn fraud: EFCC to collaborate with UK prosecutors in Diezani’s case

Diezani Allison-Madueke

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has shown interest in collaborating with United Kingdom prosecutors in the trial of Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum minister, in a UK court.

The EFCC team plans to travel to London to begin the process by submitting the necessary documents, as reported by the Nation.

A source familiar with the matter stated that the EFCC aims to present its findings and the Abuja high court’s forfeiture order regarding Diezani’s properties and vehicles, valued at $2.5 million, to the UK court.

The source explained that without the EFCC’s involvement as an interested party, Nigeria might not recover assets from Diezani.

“This country may not be able to retrieve questionable assets from Diezani if the EFCC does not apply to an interested party. We have received an advisory on this important bend to Diezani’s trial and we will be part of the case in the UK. A team will leave for London any moment from now to explore legal opportunities and file necessary papers as an interested party.

“The overall aim is for Nigeria to benefit from Diezani’s trial, especially the recovery of all assets linked to funds looted in this country. The EFCC has sufficient evidence against Diezani, including a court order on the former minister’s $2.5 million homes and cars.

“In another case, a former chairman of EFCC confirmed that the commission recovered $153 million and secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $ 80 million. The allegations against Diezani by the EFCC border on the alleged stealing of about $2.5 billion from Nigeria’s coffers as a minister.” the source said.

The source added that Nigeria needs to act, citing the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) provision of evidence to the US Department of Justice in March 2023, leading to the recovery of assets totalling $53.1 million linked to Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.

According to the source, the EFCC has strong evidence to succeed in a case against Diezani, similar to the P&ID case. The commission seeks the return of all misappropriated, misdirected, and dubious assets to Nigeria.

“It is also unclear if the UK court will ask Diezani to return to Nigeria to serve prison terms if convicted. This is why we also need to be an interested party in the case in the UK,” he said.

Last year, Andy Kelly, head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, remarked on the significance of the charges in a comprehensive and intricate international investigation.

Diezani faces trial at Southwark Crown Court in the UK for an alleged bribe of £100,000.

The NCA suggested that Diezani might have received benefits totalling at least £100,000, including cash and various luxury items and properties.

On October 2, 2023, a Magistrate Court set bail for the former minister at £70,000 due to flight risk concerns. Diezani’s trial proceedings are set to begin in November 2025.

In October 2023, Lateef Fagbemi, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, submitted an arrest warrant and extradition request for Diezani Alison-Madueke to the Crown Prosecution Services of the United Kingdom.