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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

UK Detectives In Nigeria For Alison- madueke’s Case - promiseCRIB'

Ex-minister’s accounts frozen
As part of the ongoing probe and preparation
for the arraignment of a former Minister of
Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-
Madueke, some investigators from the United
Kingdom have visited Nigeria to gather
evidence.
The ex-minister is under investigation over the
missing $20billion oil cash, phoney crude oil
lifting contracts, $115million poll bribery
money, the $1.092b Malabu oil deal and the
N5.2billion ($25m) oil cash paid by an Indian oil
firm for an oil block
The UK team inspected the former minister’s
multi-billion naira mansion, her £600,000 exotic
wrist watch and gold and diamond jewelry
which have been confiscated.
There were indications last night that the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) has also frozen Mrs Alison-Madueke’s
bank accounts.
The commission may attach some assets of the
ex-minister under the Interim Forfeiture Order
in Sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act, The
Nation learnt.
The UK investigators came into the country as
part of the build-up to the trial of the ex-
minister in London.
Mrs Alison-Madueke and four others were
arrested in London on October 2, 2015 by the
National Crime Agency( NCA).
The NCA said all the suspects were released on
“conditional police bail, pending further
investigation both in the UK and overseas”.
A source, who confirmed the visit said it was the
“continuation of the London end of the
investigation of the ex-minister.”
Besides restricting her movement to the UK, a
London (Westminster Magistrate’s Court) on
Marylebone Road had approved the seizure of
$41,000 (£27,000) cash from Mrs Alison-Madueke.
“With the outcome of the fact-finding mission
of the UK team, I think so far, the investigation
has reached a convenient bend for the
prosecution of the ex-minister,” the source said,
pleading not to be named because of the
“sensitivity” of the matter.
An EFCC source confirmed that the former
minister’s accounts in some major banks had
been frozen. “It is too early to disclose the
amounts involved in order not to prejudice
investigation. We are discovering more on daily
basis as some complicit banks are now
cooperating,” he said, adding:
“We are allowed by law to place suspicious
accounts and assets under interim forfeiture
until the court decides otherwise.
“We are collaborating with anti-graft agencies in
other jurisdictions on her case.”
Sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act on forfeiture
read: “Any property subject to forfeiture under
this Act may be seized by the commission in the
following circumstances- (a) the seizure is
incidental to an arrest or search; or (b) in the
case of property liable to forfeiture upon
process issued by the Court following an
application made by the Commission in
accordance with the prescribed rules
“Whenever property is seized under any of the
provisions of this Act, the Commission may-(a)
place the property under seal; or (b) remove the
property to a place designated by the
Commission.
“Properties taken or detained under this section
shall be deemed to be in custody of the
Commission, subject only to an order of a
court.”
There is an ongoing probe by the EFCC of Mrs
Alison-Madueke’s involvement in a $115m (N23,
299,705,000billion) 2015 poll bribery scandal.
The anti-graft agency has quizzed Managing
Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi
Okonkwo and the bank’s Head of Operations,
Martin Izuogbe in connection with the scandal.
Four companies, according to investigation by
the anti-graft agency, allegedly gave the
following amount to the bank for use to bribe
officials of the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC). Northern Belt Gas Company
Limited ($60m); Auctus Integrated($17,884,000);
Midwestern Oil and Gas($9.5m); and Leno Laitan
Adesanya ($1.85m).
“The ex-minister sent $25.77million
(approximately $26m) to bring the total amount
to $115million( N23, 299,705,000billion).
Mrs Alison- Madueke has twice in six months
appeared before a London court to answer
charges regarding the £27,000 money
laundering and bribery allegation made against
her by the NCA..
She will be returning to the court again in
September, after the Westminster Magistrate
court granted the request of the NCA on March
31, 2016 for another six months to enable the
Agency gets more time to tighten its case.
Mrs Madueke will be on bail along with her
mother Mrs Beatrice Agama who is the lead
suspect; son, Ugonna Madeueke, family friend
Ms Melanie Spencer, the wife of a Ghanaian oil
tycoon, Kevin Okyere till when the court
reconvenes in September to decide on a
direction for the case.
It is typical of the NCA drawing its motivation
from the Proceeds of Crime Act to always ask for
more time for its investigations so it can build a
water tight case.
The Proceeds of Crime Act says: “The Proceeds
of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) sets out the
legislative scheme for the recovery of criminal
assets with criminal confiscation being the most
commonly used power.
“Confiscation occurs after a conviction has taken
place. Other means of recovering the proceeds
of crime, which do not require a conviction, are
provided for in the Act, namely civil recovery,
cash seizure and taxation powers. The
investigation is now global extending to Nigeria
and Switzerland where billionaire Business man
Kola Aluko was questioned and home raided on
the request of the NCA.
Aluko, who has Swiss nationality and owner of
Atlantic Energy had some oil deals with NNPC
while Madueke was in charge. He is believed to
be a key figure in the money laundering
network.
Atlantic Energy signed a lucrative strategic
alliance in 2011 with NNPC while Madueke was
in charge of Petroleum Ministry giving it rights
to sell oil from four big blocks on behalf of
Nigeria. Before the oil price crashed, Aluko said
the commercial value of the contract was
estimated at $7bn.
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