If the reports we are gathering are to be taken to the letter, then the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke’s travail in the court of justice has just began. According to pointblanknews and its sources, the Federal Government has concluded arrangements to commence the trial of Mrs Alison-Madueke and all those fingered in fraudulent activities in the oil sector which has cost the country over $50Billion.
Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was arrested by a combined team of Interpol and Met Police in London on Friday and released on bail whilst her passport was withheld, may be walking towards her date with Blind lady of the temple of Justice.
Already, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Department of State Security Service, DSS, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, the Ministry of Justice and other agencies set up to probe the Petroleum Ministry and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, have all concluded reports and findings and forwarded to the Presidency.
According to reports from an investigator, who pleaded anonymity, he said the Presidency is bent on commencing the trial in earnest because of its belief that a large chunk of the monies stolen by companies and individuals, who operated in the oil sector, would be recovered.
Source close to the findings from investigators informed that a sum of $4.5Billion which was supposed to have been deposited into the Federation Account by Atlantic Energy have been traced to foreign accounts in overseas. Investigators discovered that in 2013, Atlantic Energy lifted about 2million barrels of crude oil with cash value of $240million, but paid $68million only. In 2014, investigators also discovered that Atlantic Energy lifted about 500,000 barrels of crude oil at a cash value of $54 million but paid nothing to the federation account.
Chief among those slated for prosecution in the next two weeks are those indicted in the fraud associated with the petroleum subsidy where billions were allegedly stolen by marketers, and those involved in series of fraud in the Petroleum sector, a source privy to the investigation reportedly told Pointblanknews.
Others slated to face trial for varying degrees of fraud and money laundering are: Transfigura which is unable to account for $80million, Ontario Oil which defrauded the oil sector of $135million, Aiteo $150million, Sahara Energy $120million. It is also gathered that some serving and former officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, linked to several fraudulent activities carried out in the oil sector will also be prosecuted. The source alleged that the former NNPC officials and Oil Marketers helped or connived with the former Petroleum Minister to defraud the nation of over $50Billion.
These allegations are not a new story as even a Swiss non-governmental organization, the Berne Declaration had revealed how Nigerian oil marketing companies perpetrated widespread subsidy fraud running into several billions of dollars. Titled “Swiss Traders’ Opaque Deals in Nigeria,” the Berne Declaration also accused the NNPC of colluding with international oil traders to defraud Nigeria.
At home, before now, Mrs. Alison-Madueke had been alleged to be involved in many corrupt dealings that have not been proved. The allegations included keeping $700 million in her house and losing the sum of N2billion in various foreign currencies to her domestic staff on June 3, 2014.
Under her watch, dubious oil marketers stole trillions of naira of oil subsidy money. She retained her position even after the House of Representatives investigated the scandal and indicted the minister. In March 2014, the House of Representatives mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to investigate the alleged squandering of N10 billion over a two-year period on the arbitrary charter and maintenance of a Challenger 850 aircraft for unofficial use by Alison-Madueke. Acting on what it termed reliable evidence, the House said it learnt that Alison-Madueke had sunk at least N3.120 billion into the maintenance of a private jet dedicated to the service of herself and her family contravening the fiscal responsibility act.
PriceWaterHouseCoopers was contracted to carry out an audit on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, accused of diverting billions of dollars, after a former Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi had alleged missing $20 billion oil money. President Jonathan had on February 3 received the report of the forensic audit on the accounts of the NNPC from Uyi Akpata, the country senior partner for PriceWaterHouseCoopers, but his government declined repeated demands to make the document public.
In an interview with the Financial Times of London, Diezani Alison-Madueke had been quoted stating that the government could not publish the report ahead of elections as only the country’s Auditor General had the powers to do so. The highlight of the report concluded that less than $2billion was missing.
It must be noted that her battle at the hallowed chamber of the National Assembly had even began before her assumption as Minister of Petroleum Resources. As Transport Minister in 2009, Alison-Madueke was investigated by the Nigerian Senate on allegation she paid N30.9 billion to contractors while she held office as transport minister and was indicted and recommended for prosecution for allegedly transferring N1.2 billion into a private account of a toll company without due process.
In all these, the former minister has consistently denied any wrong doings, holding on to her public offices sometimes even at the leniency of the courts.
Only time will tell if she is guilty or just a victim of pull her down syndrome as her supporters have always alluded.