Missing $20bn: “It’s more painful that the allegation came from a good friend” – Diezani

The former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, says it’s impossible that she stole $20billion from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Diezani, in an interview with Dele Momodu’s The Boss, stated that $20billion cannot disappear from the nation’s coffers and still remain untraceable.

“If there is one issue I must pursue in this world, it is the biggest lie of this money. How can $20 billion disappear just like that? Where did it disappear to? Is it possible that such an amount would not be traceable?

This is more painful coming from someone I considered a good friend who should appreciate the gravity of such an allegation. I challenge anyone to come forward with facts showing that I stole government or public money. I’ve never stolen Nigeria’s money.”

“Rather, I worked hard to halt the rampant business of round-tripping. When I brought in (former PPMC boss) Reginald Stanley to clean up the place, I requested for a list of the defaulters.

There were about 92 of them and I made sure we sanctioned them. You can imagine the threat to my life but I was ready to defend the economic interests of my country.”

“In fact, we were able to reduce the oil subsidy by about half. No one has applauded our effort. There were those who said the then Governor of Central Bank (Sanusi) must have been angry at me because of the way the Presidency treated him.

In all honesty, he was being blocked from seeing the President by some of Oga’s people (presidential aides) but it had nothing to do with me. I was the one who even told Oga about the development and Oga said he would meet him in London on one of his trips.”

“Unfortunately my boss fell ill and was rushed to King Edward Hospital and the meeting was aborted. Sanusi and I had been friends. There was no way I would have done anything bad to him. He even came to my house to inform me about his interest in heading the African Development Bank and we discussed for about two hours.

I promised to support him and I spoke to Oga about it. We were together on the Reconciliation Committee that looked into the accounts of NNPC. Yes there were gaps but not on the alarming scale being circulated. Markafi (former Governor of Kaduna State) did a thorough job. You know he is a very sound accountant.”

During the course of the interview, Diezani also denied ownership of exquisite properties in different parts of the world.

“It is so sad that anyone could say such about me. Let me say something to you, I live with my husband in the same house we have lived since we married in 1999. Ask anyone who knows us.

“Our house in Abuja was bought in 2007 by my husband and as an architect and lover of interior décor, I did it up to our own taste.

“Anyone who tells you I have houses anywhere should feel free to publish them.

“That was how they said I bought an expensive property in Vienna. I went to court and I won the case. I never saw the house before except in picture.

“The house I stay in London is rented. As a woman, I love to look good. Some of my dresses and jewelleries are often dumped on me by those I buy from and I pay them when I can.”

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