Diezani appears in UK court over alleged bribery
By Jennifer S. Kuwanta
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, appeared before the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London on Monday morning, October 2, to face bribery charges filed against her following an investigation by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
Diezani who also served as president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was a key figure in President Goodluck Jonathan-led government between 2010 and 2015. According to NCA, Diezani accepted bribes during her time as Minister for Petroleum Resources in exchange for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts.
She was 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 detailed 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.
The charges against her, read out in court, all related to events alleged to have taken place in London during her time as a Nigerian minister.
The Prosecutor Andy Young said she was alleged to have accepted a wide range of benefits in cash and in kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts which he said were worth billions of dollars in total.
The advantages included a delivery of £100,000 ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside. They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.