FG, UK police tighten noose on her
EFCC uncovers multi-billion mansions linked to her in Port Harcourt, Lagos
Leave her alone, Ijaw leaders tell govt
From ADE ALADE, Abuja and FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa
For former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, her trouble comes in threes. Just at a time things appear quiet on her, a new flank of troubles opened and began pouring in again. Barely two weeks after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC got an interim court order to seize over $153 million allegedly linked to her in some four Nigerian banks, the anti-graft agency last week submitted to the UK authorities several bank and court documents, photographs and audio visuals linking Diezani to multi-billion naira estates in Nigeria.
Saturday Sun gathered that in the last four weeks, EFCC operatives were able to uncover multi-billion naira estates allegedly linked to the former super minister in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Rivers and Yenagoa, Bayelsa. It was gathered that photographs and visuals of the estates were compiled for the acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu to take to London last week, where he had meetings with detectives at the International Corruption Unit, ICU, of the United Kingdom National Crime Agency, UK NCA, which in 2015 arrested and has since then been investigating Diezani. Magu has since returned to Abuja.
Saturday Sun further gathered that with the cooperation received so far from the Magu-led EFCC on the case, the former oil minister who is currently holed in London due to her battle with cancer and her investigation, the NCA may soon file formal corruption charges against her in a London court. “Some of the documents received from the EFCC will help in the prosecution of the case against her”, an official of the agency not willing to be named because of the high profile nature of the case told Saturday Sun on Thursday.
Apart from mansions already placed under investigation and temporary forfeiture in Abuja and Yenagoa, Saturday Sun further gathered that more multi-billion naira estates allegedly linked to her were also recently discovered on Omerelu street, GRA Phase 1 Port Harcourt, Rivers State where she allegedly has two other mansion as well as others in Ikoyi and Lekki areas of Lagos. Pictures of some of the mansions were obtained exclusively by Saturday Sun.
Leave her alone, Attisa Kingdom warns FG
The people of Attisa Kingdom in Yenagoa local government area where Diezani Alison- Madueke hails from have warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Government to leave their daughter alone.
Speaking through the clan head, His Royal Majesty, King Godwin Igodo, the Ebeni- Ibe of Attisa Kingdon, they noted that other people have occupied the position of Petroluem Minister in Nigeria and are not being treated like Mrs Alison- Madueke.
The Monarch who is a close friend of Mrs Alison- Madueke’s father, King Fredrick Abiye Agama in an interview with Saturday Sun in his palace said people have been spreading stories about Diezani’s properties scattered across the country, allegations he claimed they have not been able to prove.
King Igodo while noting that he was not aware if money was seized from Mrs Alison- Madueke said a visit to Yenaka community would reveal that there is nothing in the community to indicate the level of wealth ascribed to her.
“I am not aware of her properties in Bayelsa or Port Harcourt that government wants to seize, people have just sat down to formulate stories about her and her wealth. Go toYenaka and visit the father’s house, if she has all that money, that house would not be like that. I am the clan head and I know what I am saying. People are just fond of bringing up stories about her to tarnish her image. It is not fair”
King Igodo noted that the persecution of Mrs Alison- Madueke must stop, adding that the continued harassment of her mother, Mrs Beatrice Agama is unfair and unjust.
“The Federal Government should leave my daughter alone. Federal Government should hands off our daughter. Federal Government should leave Diezani alone. Others have occupied that office and nobody is harassing them. They should leave Diezani alone. I even understand that they are molesting the mother. That woman, is an innocent woman, they should leave her alone. In Port Harcourt, Diezani’s mother still stays in the house the husband built, if she has that stupendous wealth as they claimed, she would have built another house for the woman to stay. Instead, it is the house the father built that the mother is still staying with all the other people there. They should leave her alone,” the king declared.
Also speaking, a relative of the Agamas, Hon Omeleh Gershom Esueze said the people of Bayelsa and Ijaw leaders are not happy with the way President Muhammadu Buhari is persecuting all those who worked for former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, it is obvious that with the way Buhari has gone after Mrs Alison- Madueke, the Federal Government wants to humiliate Jonathan. He further declared that the Ijaw people would protect Diezani and would not allow her to be disgraced by Buhari, saying that “it is for the government to prove that she stole money.
“The truth of the matter is that we are angry. It has become clear now that Buhari wants to humiliate Jonathan and that is why they are doing all what they are doing to Diezani. Former governors that embezzled their states funds are in Buhari government. He has not ordered the arrest of these people. The anti-graft war of the Federal Government is selective. Buhari wants to disgrace and humiliate Jonathan but Buhari is not God. We the people and God would defend Diezani, Pateince Jonathan and others that are being persecuted by the Buhari government because they served in Jonathan’s government.
“Diezani was not the only person that worked in Jonathan’s government, yet everyday what you read is only about Diezani. Other women like Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala served in this government but because she is being protected by the Igbo people, nobody is harassing her. We are going to protect Diezani too, nothing must happen to her”
For the spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), Eric Omare, Buhari government has shown it thrives on misrepresentation of facts to hoodwink the people.
“On the issue of the seized N35 billion, what we understand was that the money should have been remitted by the Nigeria National Petroluem Corporation (NNPC) which it did not do and the money has been seized. It has nothing to do with Diezani, unless they want to say Diezani and NNPC are the same. The media should be careful and not allow the government and its anti- corruption agencies to mislead it”
On the plan to seize some assets in Port Harcourt and Yenagoa traced to her, Omare said the Buhari government should learn how to do things in line with the rule of law.
“Nobody is opposing the war against corruption. We all want corruption to end in this country. However, due process must be followed. Government cannot just wake up and seize property”
Once upon a powerful minister
Though her name, Diezani means ‘look before you leap’, her recent troubles show she may not have studied her terrain too well before leaping into the troubled waters that now threaten to drown her.
On the other hand, it is possible she may have calculated wrongly and found herself in what has turned out to be nightmare. Who would have imagined Nigeria’s once powerful oil minister with billions of petro-dollar funds at her command being invited and quizzed by law enforcement agents in any part of the world?
If the re-election for second term of Dr Goodluck Jonathan had pulled through, Diezani surely would not be in the mess of an arrest and possible prosecution and conviction on alleged money laundering charges. If and many Ifs. But like many human situations, times and chance have changed the equation: Diezani knows now, even if she hadn’t contemplated such.
In the recess of her cold abode in the United Kindom, she would have plenty time to to reflect on her eight years sojourn in government, from 2007 when she was first appointed Minister for Transportation by President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Indeed, most of her political life has seen her swimming in one controversy or another. Easily, the most controversial of ex-President Jonathan’s ministers, Diezani was seen by many as the alternate president and chief bursar of the last administration. She was not only powerful, many top government officials crossed her path with trepidation. She had the eyes and ears of the No1 citizen.
This is the story of Diezani Allison-Madueke, nee Agama, born into a royal and wealthy family in Bayelsa State. She lived up to that reputation of royalty, luxuriating in opulence fit only for a princess as she bestrode the corridors of Nigeria’s power house, Aso Rock Villa under President Jonathan.
Only God will vindicate me – Diezani
The embattled former Minister has expressed displeasure with reports of allegations of corruption against her.
She described as cold-hearted, those maligning her in the media while she was battling cancer.
While reacting to a recent report that she owns
a property in Abuja allegedly worth $18 million, she said
“This will not be the first time calculated attempts have been made to demonise and damage my reputation in the public space. Many times, my detractors have got away with these irresponsible smear campaigns because they have become accustomed to my characteristic approach of silence in the face of these callous attacks.”
According to her, “This, to say the least, is the height of journalistic brigandage and a sheer mockery of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war before the eyes of the world who are watching and asking if the war against corruption is a circus show where suspects are prosecuted and sentenced on the pages of newspapers and video blogs without anything as remotely in the semblance of a trial in the courts of law.
“When did it become a crime to own a property in Nigeria? When did it become a crime for a woman of my status to have in her possession, jewellery? Jewelry, which women all across the world, including the woman selling tomatoes in Bodija market have in abundance in their closets? In which court of law, anywhere in the world was I prosecuted by the EFCC and found guilty of corruption?
“With all sense of modesty, I say this only for posterity and for the records. I have strived within my means and the blessings of God to live a decent and accomplished life. I studied architecture in England and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Howard University, United States of America in 1992. When I returned to Nigeria that same year, I joined Shell Petroleum Development Corporation. In 2002, I obtained an MBA at Cambridge University, United Kingdom.
“In April 2006, I was appointed by Shell the company’s first female Executive Director in Nigeria. In July 2007, I was appointed by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Minister of Transport. The next year in December 2008 I became Minister of Mines and Steel Development. In April 2010, I was appointed Minister for Petroleum Resources and served in that capacity till May 2015.
During this period as Petroleum Minister, I had the honour of serving Nigeria and representing her in the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) where I was elected first female President. All through my career, I have strived to maintain a record of hard work, integrity and excellence, giving my best to society, because my parents raised me in the consciousness that a man or woman’s greatness is defined not by the amount of wealth they have acquired but the impact of their service to God and humanity.
“Coming at such a critical time in my life when I am battling cancer, this poorly executed propaganda bares on its face like tribal marks, a clearly malicious attempt to victimise an innocent woman in what appears an exaggerated plot to validate and give credibility to the anti-corruption crusade under Nigeria’s new regime.
“People who are battling cancer or those who have lost their loved ones to this medical condition understand what I am going through at this time. This is what makes me ponder at the cold-heartedness of those who will go any length to defame and destroy in the name of propaganda. What happened to our shared humanity?
“I have absolute regard for the law and believe that people who have breached the laws that govern societies should be made to face the wrath of the law. But in a civilised society, a responsible government owes its citizens absolute commitment to the principles of rule of law, equity, fairness and justice. I have been wrongfully and maliciously maligned and those behind this reckless action know it. I leave them to posterity, their conscience and above all the Almighty God who is the final judge of all.”
Diezani: Bank chiefs fail to claim $153m
By Lukman Olabiyi
Two weeks after Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos ordered the temporary forfeiture of $153,310,000, which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueze, allegedly siphoned from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and stashed in four Nigerian banks, none of the parties has shown interest in proving the legitimacy of the fund yet.
The judge, Justice Hassan had given the banks, some of their executives and any other interested party 14 days to appear before him to prove the legitimacy of the funds running into billions when converted into the Naira, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), out of the allegedly stolen $153.3m, over N23 billion, another N9 billion and $5m were kept in three separate banks.
Justice Hassan gave order of temporary forfeiture of the monies to the Federal Government on January 6 while ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the Commission against the banks, and since then neither the banks nor any interested party has appeared before the court or the EFCC to claim the fund or prove its legitimacy.
Saturday Sun investigations at the court revealed that since the judge gave the verdict over two weeks ago, nothing new has happened, while it seems all the interested parties have accepted their fate based on the order.
A source within the court who spoke to Saturday Sun on the matter, disclosed that the case file was no longer with Justice Hassan, adding that the judge had returned it to the ‘admin judge’ for re-assignment.
According to the source, Justice Hassan heard the matter as a vacation judge and the vacation was over now. “All the cases that were heard during vacation due to urgency then, their files had been returned to the admin judge for re-assignment”, the source added. The court was on vacation between December 19, 2016 and January 6.
Another reliable source at the EFCC also confirmed that nobody has shown interest in the fund “and the only thing the Commission is waiting for now, is for the 14 days given by the court to lapse.”
In a nine-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the ex-parte application, an EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, had claimed that the anti-graft agency discovered through its investigations how sometime in December 2014 Diezani allegedly removed the whopping sum of $153,310,000 from NNPC and given to some bank chiefs for keeps.
According to Awolusi, Diezani instructed the bank chiefs to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms.”