Former OPEC President Diezani Alison-Madueke has been charged with bribery related to her time as the oil minister of Nigeria, according to the UK National Crime Agency on Tuesday.
Alison-Madueke, in office from 2010 to 2015, was the first woman to be oil minister in Nigeria and the first female president of the global oil cartel OPEC.
“We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts,” Andy Kelly, the head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, said in a statement.
According to the NCA, Alison-Madueke allegedly received at least £100,000 ($127,000) in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, private jet flights, luxury vacations for her family, and the use of various London apartments.
The costs also include financial incentives such as furniture, restoration work and personnel for the residences, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer stores such as Cartier jewelry and Louis Vuitton products.
Read also: The other side of Diezani Allison-Madueke
“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries,” Kelly said.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.”
The 63 years old former oil minister was arrested in London in October 2015 and released on bail. According to the NCA, she will appear in court in the British capital on October 2.
Her family’s lawyer told AFP shortly after her arrest that she would forcefully defend herself against the corruption allegations that have dogged her during and after her service in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
According to her relatives, Alison-Madueke has been living in the posh St John’s Wood area of north London since her incarceration and has had treatment for breast cancer.
The NCA stated just five persons had been detained in London on suspicion of international corruption at the time of her arrest, without naming those detained.
Later, the Nigerian government of Jonathan’s successor, Muhammadu Buhari, confirmed Alison-Madueke’s detention and said that its law enforcement agencies were cooperating with British counterparts.
Millions of pounds’ worth of assets connected to the case, according to the NCA, have been frozen as part of the inquiry.
Targeting transnational and organised crime, the Agency in March gave the US Department of Justice information that enabled them to collect $53.1 million in assets related to Alison-Madueke’s alleged misconduct.