Diezani: Group demands repatriation, prosecution of ex-petroleum minister

– These are not good times for Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

– A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have insisted on the repatriation of the former minister

– Alison-Madueke is facing allegations of corrupt practices while she held sway at the ministry of petroleum.

A coalition of CSOs under the auspices of the “Say No Campaign Nigeria” has called on the federal government to put in place mechanism for the repatriation and subsequent prosecution of the former minister of petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke for her alleged corruption charges.

The Nigerian media has been awash with stories of the illegal acquisition of property by the former minister.

The group in a press briefing held in Abuja today, Tuesday, August 22 called for a speedy trial of the ex-minister, emphasising the need to urgently prosecute suspects and promote the culture of accountability among public office holders, if the fight against corruption must be successful.

Speaking at the briefing, the director of of the group, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, stated that the former minister “has had a trail of overwhelmingly frightening and shocking records of corruption allegations and damning reports of abuse of office against her by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), of which she is yet to be questioned or indicted.”

He expressed his disappointment over the inability of the anti-graft agency to arraign the ex-minister despite the outrageous charges levelled against her by the EFCC.

His words: “Unfortunately, two whole years into the administration that is reputed to have zero tolerance for corruption, it has only reported to have confiscated Diezani’s $115million and $37.5million property including the proceeds from rent with no effort to indict her.”

He further called on the support of the United States of America and the United Kingdom to “accede to Nigeria’s request for Diezani Alison Madueke to face corruption charges in Nigeria.”

He continued: “Besides the allegations of $20billion fraud within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under her watch, Diezani Alison Madueke is widely reported to allegedly embezzled $90billion from the NNPC coffers, acquired $153million worth of assets and misappropriated $73million of NNPC funds to support Goodluck Jonathan’s rerun in 2015.

“She was also accused of conspiring with Mohammed Belgore (SAN), and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman to launder about $115million.”

Below are the key demands of the group:

1. Demand that the federal government must, as a matter of exigency, ensure the repatriation of Diezani Alison Madueke.

2. Set up mechanisms for her speedy trial, if convicted, ensure all parties involved take full responsibility for their crimes in the light of legal punitive provisions.

3. We call on the Government of United States America and Britain to accede to Nigeria’s request for Diezani Alison Madueke to face corruption charges in Nigeria. In the burning interest of accountability, justice and good governance.

Mr Nwagwu therefore called on well-meaning Nigerians to support the fight against corruption and join the movement that advocates for transparency, accountability and good governance.

Last week, the former minister dared the EFCC to without further delay, publish details of the NNPC’s accounts from where the said $153.3 million tied to her was taken.

She also said that the report that Italian prosecutors indicted her for sharing in the loot of the $1.3 billion OPL 245 oil block deal, which involved Malabu and the Joint Venture Multinational partners, ENI (AGIP) and Royal Dutch was false.

“I do not know the basis on which the EFCC has chosen to say that I am the owner of these funds as no evidence was provided to me before the order was obtained, and they have not, in fact, served me with the order or any evidence since they obtained it.

“Let me re-state categorically as I have always maintained, for the record, I have not and will never steal money from or defraud the Federal Government of Nigeria. I am willing to respond to charges brought against me that follow duly laid down procedures,” the former minister said n a statement distributed to journalists in Abuja.

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