The British Government has formally asked the Nigerian Government to assist it with its investigations into the activities of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke when she held sway over the oil and gas sector between 2010 and 2015 and have requested details of transactions relating to the investigations in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the National Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC).
The former minister was arrested by the British National Crime Agency (NCA) alongside four other people in London last Friday, but was granted bail after over five hours of questioning on Friday and Monday. It emerged yesterday that most of the investigations so far centre around gifts-in-kind allegedly received by the former minister especially in the payments for rental accommodation in a London Flat in St John’s Wood area of London said to be occupied by the former minister, and several payments said to be for luxury cars while the then minister was in London by a number of oil traders who had contracts with Nigerian petroleum entities under her watch.
NCA said investigations on the former minister were commenced in 2013 by the British authorities under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and transferred to it earlier this year.
In furtherance of its investigation, sources close to the UK’s financial crimes bursting units informed THISDAY yesterday that the British authorities had formally requested for legal assistance of the Nigerian government to provide it with information on her bank statements, assets declaration, and other official records based on her activities while she was minister. This will be one of the first files before the next Attorney General expected to be appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari following senate confirmations of his ministerial list.
The request is similar to one made by the British authorities in previous cases involving politically exposed persons and is often written to the AttorneyGeneral of The Federation who determines what information to pass on.
Several sources further clarified that contrary to some media reports, the British authorities had not made a request to the Swiss Government for the arrest of Nigerian businessman, Mr. Kolawole Akanni Aluko.
Aluko who is currently being investigated as an alleged accessory in the allegations of corruption and money laundering against the then minister is said to be cooperating with the investigations.
A source close to the investigations explained the British police had already raided his “family office” in London where a search warrant was served and executed, following which, Aluko’s lawyers made contact with the NCA investigating officers who said they would invite Mr. Aluko when needed. He is currently in Switzerland awaiting summons, the sources said.
According to THISDAY checks, the law enforcement agencies were preoccupied with investigating two issues relating to Mrs. Alison-Madueke, Aluko and a London-based estate agent.
“The first is that Mr. Aluko was alleged to have rented and is paying for her current residence in St John’s Wood area of London.
“The second is that he was alleged to have paid for several the executive luxury cars through Continental Services Ltd which she uses in the UK when she was the minister and luxury goods comprising expensive bags, clothes, jewelry and furniture, using his credit cards either directly or through others including Mr and Mrs Sunday. Joseph Mordi, a staff of NNPC in London, and his wife” one source said. The investigations continue.
As reported in ThisDay Newspaper