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Monday, 25 September 2017

Ex-Minister Of Petroleum Resources, Diezani’s lawyer Obstructs EFCC from Interrogating Her in UK

       
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says its
investigative group has not been permitted to meet with previous Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the United Kingdom, where she has been remaining since 2015 when investigation concerning her residency started.EFCC, in a counter-affidavit filed before Federal High Court, Abuja, said it had been investigating the ex-minister for various allegations of corrupt practices, including abuse of office, money laundering, stealing of public funds and illegal acquisition of properties within and outside Nigeria.

But the commission stated that its efforts to interrogate her over the allegations had been abortive as her lawyer, John Binns of BCL Solicitors, refused to allow the commission’s team of investigators, led by Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, to meet with her in the UK earlier in March this year.

The EFCC’s counter-affidavit was in response to a motion filed by the former minister, seeking an amendment to the heading of the charges filed against a businessman, Mr. Olajide Omokore, and five others by adding her name to the list of defendants so that she could defend herself in respect of allegations against her in one of the nine counts.

A detective, Rufai Zaki, who deposed to EFCC’s counter-affidavit, added that it was not yet possible to bring the former minister back to Nigeria as she was being investigated by the UK’s Metropolitan Police for several other financial crimes, saying the probe had reached an advanced stage.

The EFCC had preferred nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6bn, alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government, against Omokore and the other five defendants.

In one of the nine counts, the anti-graft agency alleged that Alison-Madueke and other officials aided and abetted Omokore in committing money laundering offences in relation to the diversion of the crude oil money.

Zaki, the deponent to the EFCC’s counter-affidavit, stated that Alison-Madueke had absconded to the UK after leaving office in 2015 upon realising that EFCC had started investigation her activities.

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