The International Police (Interpol) has issued an arrest warrant for ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.
“We have filed the necessary processes and the Interpol has red-flagged Alison-Madueke. This means that the extradition process has been kick-started and the former minister may be arrested by the United Kingdom police or any police agency all over the world and repatriated to Nigeria,” a security source was quoted as saying yesterday.
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, had on December 5 vowed to comply with a Federal Capital Territory High Court order mandating the Commission to produce Mrs Alison-Madueke, in court within 72 hours to stand trial for alleged graft while in office. Magu, who made the vow at a briefing in Abuja, had also lamented that 80 percent of Nigeria’s looted funds were still trapped abroad, while 60 percent of the stolen wealth was hidden in Nigeria by fraudulent and highly placed persons he described as “sharks.”
He, however, vowed to take all necessary steps to unravel and retrieve the stolen wealth and bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, no matter how long and tedious the judicial process might be. He had said, in compliance with the court order, that the Commission had stepped up effort to persuade the British authorities to extradite Diezani to face prosecution for sundry economic and financial crimes, having not charged her for any offence in the last three years, as widely expected.
According to him, “We are going to comply with the court order to bring back the former minister. Our only predicament is that the former minister is in another country, which we are talking with over the matter. If she is here, we would simply hand her over to the judge. Let me also say that it is not true that Diezani has no case in Britain. All the EU countries are aware of her money laundering case. If we cannot get her within the deadline, we will go back to the court.”
He denied claims that the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office had not established any case against the former minister and was, therefore, not pressing any charges against her but expressed fears that the prolonged delay in charging her to court had already sent wrong signals to Nigerians at home and abroad.
With the latest revelation on Friday, the source said, with the extradition process started by the UK government, the former minister would be arrested by any police in the world. “By this request, all Interpol member countries were obliged to arrest the former minister anywhere she is seen on their territories. Attached to the extradition request was the November 4, 2018 order for her arrest by Justice Valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court.” When contacted on the development yesterday, EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade said he could only confirm that Interpol officials were at the Commission about three weeks ago where they promised to support the agency in its fight against financial crimes in Nigeria.
Allison-Madueke had left Nigeria for UK since 2015, just before the Buhari administration came onboard.