Diezani & Siblings to face trial in UK for alleged bribery, money laundering

Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke

Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, is to be arraigned in London with her brothers for alleged bribery and money laundering, it was learnt yesterday.

Investigations 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 and Abu Fari.

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.

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.

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