Nigeria seeks arrest, extradition of former oil minister

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

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ABUJA, Nigeria (AFP) — Nigeria's main anti-corruption agency on Monday filed for the arrest of former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke after a judge approved a request for her to be charged with corruption.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said in a statement the application for warrant of arrest was a “condition precedent for Diezani's extradition” to face trial.

Alison-Madueke was arrested in Britain in October 2015 in a graft investigation where she was linked to a string of money laundering, bribery and asset recovery cases in Nigeria, Italy and the United States.

She has been on bail in Britain since.

EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu last month said he wanted Alison-Madueke to be extradited from Britain, but said the process was taking too long.

In the latest agency statement, the EFCC said it would submit details of the case against Alison-Madueke at a court in the capital, Abuja, on Tuesday to back up its application for her arrest.

Meanwhile, the body said a judge had granted permission for Alison-Madueke to be charged for “offences bordering on conspiracy” and illegally “accepting and giving gratifications”.

She would face five counts under Nigeria's Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 alongside her associate, former oil boss Jide Omokore, at a hearing set for February 25, it added.

Omokore is a former chairman of the Atlantic Drilling Company.

His company was awarded oil contracts by Alison-Madueke, who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan until 2015 and was the first female head of OPEC.

The pair are alleged “to have accepted and given gifts” on two properties in the upmarket Ikoyi and Banana Island areas of Lagos.

Both apartments were owned by companies linked to the former minister.

Omokore is already involved in another case in which he faces nine charges of “criminal diversion of funds” totalling US$1.6 billion, allegedly the proceeds of government oil sales.

His three co-defendants were senior executives at the State-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

EFCC prosecutor Faruk Abdullahi told the court Alison-Madueke had been under investigation for her alleged involvement at the time of her arrest in Britain.

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