Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister Under President Goodluck Jonathan, appears to be in more trouble as a London court approves the seizure of $41 million belonging to her
THERE were indications on Monday on how Diezani Alison-Madueke former Minister of Petroleum Resources, and a former managing director of a parastatal under the NNPC got themselves into trouble with the police in the United Kingdom.
It was learnt that the purchase of houses each in London by the former minister and the sacked NNPC top shot had sent the police investigators after them since 2013.
Alison-Madueke and the ex-MD had bought a house each in London through a mortgage but the two were said to have attracted suspicion when they offered to pay huge sum to clear the mortgage on the properties.
A source said the ex-minister’s house cost £12.5m. The source was however silent on the cost of the house bought by the former MD of the subsidiary of the NNPC.
It was learnt that the UK’s National Crimes Agency had dispatched a team to Abuja for an investigation into the incomes of the affected public officers because of the huge amount of money that was being paid steadily to defray the amount on the mortgage.
The source explained that the police suspected that the mortgaged London properties might have been serviced with laundered money from the Government of Nigeria.
The source said, “This particular investigation did not originate from Nigeria. I can tell you that this is different from the investigation being conducted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission into the financial operations of the NNPC under Alison-Madueke.
“This is a strictly UK investigation and it has to do with the procurement of a property in the UK for £12.5m through a mortgage arrangement in London.
“The UK authorities became suspicious when they realised that the agreed monthly amount for the mortgage was too high for the income of a public official without other sources of income.
“You know the (UK) people; they kept quiet when the whole arrangement was going on in 2013. They allowed the funds to go into their economy before they moved in against them with the intent to seize the properties.
“She was not the only person that bought the properties. The other guy, a close ally from the NNPC also bought a house in London. These are the issues the UK police are investigating.”
The investigation, which commenced in 2013 climaxed Friday last week with the arrest of Alison-Madueke and four others by the UK police for alleged fraud.
Another source disclosed that the embattled former Petroleum Minister will be arraigned in London with her brothers for alleged bribery and money laundering, it was learnt yesterday.
Investigations by our correspondent in the United Kingdom showed that she was arrested with her brothers Abiye Agama and Somye Agama.
They are directors of Hadley Petroleum Solutions Limited, a company the authorities believe to have been used for money laundering. The other directors are Ugonna Madueke (Son) and Abu Fari (Cousin).
The company was registered in June 2013 in Manchester, but was dissolved less than two years later in February this year without filing any account.
Abiye, 33, a point man of the firm, is a computer engineer and manager. He was a director in 11 other companies. He resigned from seven of them in one swoop early this year.
The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) last week arrested Mrs Alison-Madueke and five others as part of the investigation into allegations of bribery and money laundering. They were granted bail.
It could not be ascertained why the former minister was not arraigned.
But she had previously denied any wrongdoing when it was alleged that $20 billon of oil money had gone missing when she was in office between 2010 and 2015
However, a London (Westminster Magistrate’s Court) on Marylebone Road yesterday approved the seizure of $41,000 (£27,000) cash from her.
The seizure of the cash followed an application brought by the NCA under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the UK.
The court ruled that the money can be held for six months.
There was confusion earlier in the day that Mrs Alison-Madueke had appeared in court. However, it turned to be incorrect. She was not taken to court and had not been charged with any offence.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to curb corruption, saying “mind-boggling” sums were stolen during the Jonathan administration.
The NCA leads UK law enforcement’s fight to cut serious and organised crime. It has national and international reach and the mandate and powers to work in partnership with other law enforcement organisations to bring the full weight of the law to bear on serious and organised criminals.
The Proceeds of Crime Act says “The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) sets out the legislative scheme for the recovery of criminal assets with criminal confiscation being the most commonly used power.
“Confiscation occurs after a conviction has taken place. Other means of recovering the proceeds of crime which do not require a conviction are provided for in the Act, namely civil recovery, cash seizure and taxation powers.
“The aim of the asset recovery schemes in POCA is to deny criminals the use of their assets, recover the proceeds of crime and disrupt and deter criminality.
“Since 2010, more than £746 million of criminal assets has been seized (to 2013/14) across all four methods of recovery – a record amount.
“Over the same period, assets worth more than £2.5 billion have been frozen denying criminals access to these resources and £93 million has been returned to victims,” said a factsheet.
The EFCC raided the residence of the ex-minister at Asokoro same day she was arrested in the UK.
Although the raid did not yield any huge financial recovery contrary to media reports, the operatives from the Subsidy Unit of the EFCC carted away several documents from the residence.
The EFCC operatives, who insisted that only N1.2m was recovered from the Asokoro residence of the minister, said that the files moved away from her house were being analysed.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Monday declined to comment on the Alison-Madueke saga.
Uwujaren said he did not know anything about the ex-minister’s case.
Sourced from Agency report/The Citizen
— Oct 6, 2015 @ 08:35 GMT