Money laundering: ‘Diezani’s trial in the UK to begin in June’

by Azeez Adeniyi

The United Kingdom has set a date for the trial of former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and four others for alleged corrupt practices, The Nation reports.

According to the newspaper, the trial will begin in June and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has taken evidences to the UK.

It was gathered that part of the evidence are the proceedings of a Federal High Court in respect of the order of  final forfeiture of $153million allegedly traced to the ex-minister.

It was also learnt that one of the suspects had been found at a hideout in London.

A source in the anti-graft agency confirmed that the trial will begin in June.

The source said: “The UK investigators have gone far on the allegations against Diezani. From the records made available, the ex-minister and four others will face trial as from June.

“We have taken more evidence to the UK, including all court records relating to the final forfeiture of $153million. We have a huge pile of documents.”

He added, “In fact, one of the suspects on the radar of investigators has been located in London and he is under surveillance.”

The EFCC on Sunday had denied reports that it was negotiating with the former minister.

The source also denied any such negotiations.

“There is no basis to negotiate with the ex-Minister in view of the overwhelming evidence at our disposal. You should ask yourself what purpose the negotiation will serve.

“The EFCC is set for the trial of the ex-minister at home and abroad. It is curious to be talking of a curious negotiation with someone who has a prima facie case to answer.

“The ex-minister has forfeited $153m; we have had far-reaching investigation on her involvement in the $115m poll bribery scandal; we have seized some of her choice properties and she has consistently maintained that she is ready for trial. So, what is the basis for negotiation when we have a good case?”

The former minister’s movement has been restricted to the UK after the National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested her and four others for alleged money laundering in 2015.

Some of the assets already linked to the former minister are a block of six units service apartments on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi; Six units terrace flats in Yaba, Lagos Mainland; Twin four-bedroom duplexes in Lekki Phase I; and Two duplexes on Banana Island.

Others include; a duplex in Asokoro District, Abuja; a mini-estate in Mabushi, Abuja; a set of 12 terrace duplexes at Omaremi Street  in Port Harcourt; Large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island in Lagos; multi-billion Naira estate in Yenagoa; Two apartments in Dubai marked as J5 Emirates Hills (30million Dirham) and  E146 Emirates Hills valued at 44million Dirham

Also is a hotel in Port Harcourt under investigation and $37.5m mansion on Banana Island in Lagos.

The former minister had however denied some of the assets linked to her including the $153 million.

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