The former Nigerian oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been formally charged by the British Anti-Criminal Commission with bribery in a high-profile case. She stands accused of accepting millions of British pounds in bribes in exchange for facilitating oil and gas contracts.
Scheduled to appear before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 2, Diezani Madueke has been under the spotlight since her initial arrest in London in October 2015. Despite remaining on bail, her legal journey has continued as she vehemently contests the allegations. Her defense centers on challenging the bribery claims, which have persisted since her tenure under former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan.
The international anti-corruption unit of the National Crime Agency disclosed that Diezani is suspected of profiting from substantial rewards, including luxurious vehicles, chartered jets, extravagant holidays, and upscale properties in London. Andy Kelly, the head of the international anti-bribery division, highlighted that these charges are integral to a multifaceted international investigation.
A prominent figure in the oil industry, the 63-year-old Diezani Alison-Madueke held pivotal roles as Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum between 2010 and 2015 and as the head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The National Crime Agency revealed additional details of her alleged financial gains, encompassing items such as furnishings, beauty treatments, domestic staff, school fees for her children, and lavish offerings from luxury brands like Cartier and Louis Vuitton.
The ongoing investigation has led to the freezing of assets worth millions of pounds tied to the purported illicit activities. In a significant move last year, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency seized over $153 million in funds and more than 80 properties linked to the former minister, who is believed to be residing in London.
Diezani Alison-Madueke’s name has been intertwined with a series of allegations spanning money laundering, bribery, and asset forfeiture cases across Nigeria, Italy, and the United States. Notably, she broke new ground as the first woman to hold the role of oil minister in Nigeria and to lead the OPEC group of oil-rich nations worldwide.
Andy Kelly emphasized, “We are accusing Diezani Alison-Madueke of abusing her position in Nigeria and reaping financial benefits from multi-million pound contracts that she awarded.” Addressing the accusations, Diezani was quoted in a Nigerian newspaper in November 2015, stating, “I challenge anyone to come up with proof that I have stolen government or public money. I have never stolen Nigerian money.”