There were indications at the weekend that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will apply to a United Kingdom court as an interested party in the trial of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
A team of the anti-graft commission is billed for London to begin the process of filing papers as a party to the case.

The EFCC may also avail the UK court of its findings and the forfeiture order of a high court in Abuja on the former minister’s $2.5 million homes and cars.

Diezani has been on trial in the Southwark Crown Court in the UK for an alleged £100,000 bribe.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) alleged that Diezani might 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”.

On October 2, 2023, a Magistrate Court granted bail to the ex-Minister for £70,000 after deeming her “a flight risk.”

The hearing of Diezani’s case will begin in November 2025.

According to a source, the EFCC is seeking to be an interested party in the case to enable Nigeria to have access to assets which may be seized from the ex-minister.

The source said: “This country may not be able to retrieve questionable assets from Diezani if the EFCC does not file an application as 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 $2.5million homes and cars.

“In another case, a former chairman of EFCC confirmed that the commission recovered $153million and secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80million.

“The allegations against Diezani by the EFCC border on alleged stealing of about $2.5 billion from Nigeria’s coffers as a minister.

“It is necessary for this nation to rise to the occasion because, in March 2023, the NCA also provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that enabled them to recover assets totalling $53.1 million linked to Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.

“Like the P&ID case, the EFCC has sufficient evidence to pull through a case against Diezani. We want all stolen, diverted and questionable assets back in the custody of Nigeria for the good use of our citizens.”

The source added: “I think the EFCC is collaborating with the NCA in the UK on this.

“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.”

Last year, the Head of the NCA’s international corruption unit (ICU), Andy Kelly, said the “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.”

Diezani was arrested in London in 2015 shortly after stepping down as minister, and was charged in August with six bribery offences.

She has spent more than eight years on police bail, living in St John’s Wood, an expensive area of London.

May 13, 2024

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