World News of Fri, 17 Feb 20173
Nigeria court grants forfeiture of over $150m linked to former oil minister
A Federal High Court in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, on Thursday issued an order allowing the country’s anti-graft body to confiscate over $150m belonging to former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
According to Judge Muslim Hassan, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had proven beyond reasonable doubt that the monies were proceeds from illegal activity.
The prosecution proved that the funds had been diverted from the state oil firm, the Nigerian National Oil Company (NNPC) and placed in three banks at the request of Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
The former minister, appointed by former president Goodluck Jonathan, has consistently denied that she diverted these public funds, claiming that he did not have access to the NNPC’s treasury.
The Central Bank of Nigeria announced in May 2016 that it was participating in the investigation into corruption targeting the former oil minister.
The EFCC opened an investigation against Alison-Madueke, who was accused of transmitting 115 million dollars (100 million euros) from national oil revenues to the Nigerian Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce the results of the presidential election March 2015 in favor of Goodluck Jonathan.
The EFCC said it had interviewed the leaders of several banks in the country, as well as members of the Electoral Commission and executives of local oil companies.
Goodluck Jonathan lost the election to his opponent Muhammadu Buhari, who has promised since his coming to power to wage a fierce fight against corruption that is plaguing the country’s most populous continent.
Ms. Alison-Madueke, 56, has already been implicated on several occasions in corruption cases. While still in office, the former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, had revealed that there was a shortage of $20 billion in oil revenues in the state coffers.
In October 2015, she was also arrested in London, where she was treated for breast cancer, as part of a UK investigation into suspicions of corruption and large-scale laundering.