|Three more ex-ministers risk arrest for graft, money laundering|
•Disquiet in Jonathan’s camp
•How Diezani’s collaborator surrendered to UK agency
•Her business partners go underground
Three more ministers of the Goodluck Jonathan era are facing possible arrest in the aftermath of Friday’s detention of ex- Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in London for alleged corruption.
Although Alison-Madueke and the four other suspects arrested along with her were granted bail same day, tension has already gripped the Jonathan camp following what sources described as threat by the once powerful ex-minister to open up on certain deals which she was directed to execute.
She is said to be good at keeping records, including handwritten notes.
A source in one of the anti-graft agencies said last night that Mrs. Alison-Madueke is “just one of the few cases of ex-ministers under investigation.”
“We have at least about three issues at hand but I will not disclose their names,” the source said, adding, “do not forget that these three cases are outside the matter of ex-Minister Stella Oduah which is stuck in court. We have made our position known on this.
“The depletion of the $1billion in Sovereign Wealth Fund by about $700million is one of the priority cases with anti-graft agencies. There are also the issues of reckless granting of tax waivers to oil firms.”
The ex-ministers are believed to have been implicated by Permanent Secretaries.
They are likely to be quizzed in connection with alleged reckless granting of waivers, depletion of the Sovereign Wealth Fund by $700m without the knowledge of the National Economic Council, and “questionable contracts.”
The camp of the former president was in disarray yesterday following the arrest of the ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, investigation showed.
Sources said London was thought to be a safe haven for after leaving office in May.
Apart from being a Chevening Scholar, courtesy of the British High Commission, it was learnt that security agencies in the UK did not give her any inkling as she was shuttling between Nigeria and the UK.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Those in Jonathan’s camp felt the ex-president’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari had created a window for mutual talks and negotiation on alleged graft findings by the new administration.
“They did not know that Buhari really meant business to retrieve looted funds.
“Actually, some ex-ministers, including Diezani, have already placed their counsel in Nigeria on standby in case of any invitation by anti-graft agencies. Their plan was that the matter would be settled in Nigerian court.
“But the arrest of the ex-Minister in London has added a new dimension to the anti-corruption agenda of the Buhari administration.
“Those in Jonathan’s camp were shocked by Diezani’s arrest. They have been desperately trying to get in touch with the ex-Minister since yesterday without success.
“As at today (yesterday), they are worried that Diezani has cut off contact with everyone, creating fears that she might spill the beans.
“The fear in Jonathan’s camp is that Diezani might be given the James Ibori treatment. They are suspecting that she might be tried and convicted in the UK.”
A former presidential aide said: “None of us has been able to reach out to Diezani because all her lines are off. She has also not called to share her travails with anybody.”
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