The United Kingdom (UK) national crime agency on Tuesday has charged Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum resources, with bribery offences.
The agency said they suspected she had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
Diezani Alison-Madueke, aged 63, who also served as president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was a key figure in the Nigerian government between 2010 and 2015.
The NCA suspects she accepted bribes during her time as Minister for Petroleum Resources, in exchange for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts.
She is alleged to have benefitted from at least £100,000 in cash, chauffeur driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.
Her charges also detail financial rewards including furniture, renovation work and staff for the properties, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer shops such as Cartier jewellery and Louis Vuitton goods.
Madueke, who currently lives in St John’s Wood, London, will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 2 October.
Andy Kelly, Head of the NCA’s International Corruption Unit (ICU), said: “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.
“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries. We will continue to work with partners here and overseas to tackle the threat.”
Assets worth millions of pounds relating to the alleged offences have already been frozen as part of the ongoing investigation.
In March this year, the NCA also provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that enabled them to recover assets totalling USD$53.1m linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.
ICU officers have also worked closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria during the investigation, as well as the with the NCA-hosted International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre.
The IACCC brings together specialist anti-corruption investigators from agencies around the world to tackle allegations of corruption involving politically exposed people. It is currently working in 37 different jurisdictions.
Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS, said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised the NCA to charge Diezani Alison-Madueke with bribery offences.
“The CPS made the decision to authorise the charge after reviewing a file of evidence from the NCA relating to allegations of bribery in Nigeria.
“Criminal proceedings against Ms Alison-Madueke are active and she has the right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.
“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a criminal court to consider.”