Monday, October 5, 2015

How Diezani Alison-Madueke Laundered Looted Money, Her Accomplices Revealed

How Nigeria’s Ex-Minister Of Petroleum Madueke Laundered Looted Money, Her Accomplices Revealed

An investigation by SaharaReporters has revealed some of the ways in which former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and her network of accomplices, family members, and shell companies sought to conceal and launder an astonishing amount of the former minister’s corruptly acquired wealth. The laundered funds are the focus of twin investigations by British and Nigerian anti-corruption agencies.

Last Friday, the International Corruption Unit of the British National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested Mrs. Alison-Madueke and four other suspects in London.

SaharaReporters has exclusively obtained intelligence documents and briefing on financial information regarding Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s extensive acts of corruption and money laundering. Our investigation also involved interviews with several individuals in possession of highly sensitive information about the illicit flow of funds to the former minister’s front companies and individuals.

An intelligence analyst with intimate knowledge of the embattled ex-minister’s family and business network told SaharaReporters that UK investigators were focusing on several real estate properties in the United Kingdom. The source added that “[Diezani Alison-Madueke] was most likely aware that the Crown Prosecution [in the UK] was investigating her properties going back as early as 2013.”

SaharaReporters learned that British prosecutors decided to be low-key about their investigation of Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s suspicious ownership of real estate assets in the UK because the UK Foreign Office and security establishment did not want to unsettle UK-Nigerian ties by going after the former minister during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sources in the Nigerian government and law enforcement told SaharaReporters that the National Crime Agency (NCA), which arrested Mrs. Alison-Madueke and four other suspects last Friday, did so unilaterally and without the cooperation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). However, once the EFCC read media reports about Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s arrest, their agents moved swiftly to search her residences in Abuja and elsewhere in Nigeria. The EFCC’s action led to media reports, now established to be misleading, that UK and Nigerian authorities were coordinating their investigations of the former minister.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke was the most powerful minister in the Jonathan administration, and had long been linked to shady deals and policies in Nigeria’s oil sector. She fled Nigeria in May, days before the official end of her tenure as Minister of Petroleum and the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Earlier in May, SaharaReporters reported that Mrs. Alison-Madueke booked herself a seat on the same flight in which then President-elect Buhari was traveling to London, and made awkward attempts to strike up a conversation with Mr. Buhari. A source on the flight told SaharaReporters that Mr. Buhari quietly ignored the former minister during the flight.

A Nigerian who met Mrs. Alison-Madueke in the UK said the former minister claimed she was receiving medical treatment.

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