How Diezeani was pronounced guilty before trial

cNo sooner had the former Petroleum minister; Mrs. Diezeani Allison-Madueke left office than calls for her probe over corruption began to fly around by concerned citizens on the social media and in the media by the political class. It was not surprising however when the news broke of her alleged arrest in London by a crime agency that most media commentators went to town to castigate the first female OPEC president even without the knowledge of the charge sheet. It can be authoritatively revealed that there is no single legal case against the woman in any court in Nigeria while all the accusations may still be considered as mere allegations. It was gathered that the comments and editorials on Allison-Madueke has literarily pronounced her guilty even without trial.
According to reports, the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke in London, United Kingdom over allegations of bribery and corruption allegedly perpetrated during her tenure as minister.
Alison-Madueke who has been away in London receiving treatment for breast cancer since her tenure as petroleum minister ended on May 29 was said to have been released on bail after hours of interrogation by NCA operatives.
special mode 13.Those arrested with her were also said to have been granted bail after questioning.
Though, the NCA confirmed the arrest of “five Nigerians” over the said bribery and corruption allegations, the agency however refused to give out the identities of those arrested.
In a short statement on its website, the NCA said its International Corruption Unit had arrested five people across London on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences on Friday.
However, a top official of the EFCC confirmed that Alison-Madueke was indeed, the former minister arrested by the NCA.
When contacted the NCA official on phone late last night, he declined to state whether they will be charged to court in London or repatriated to Nigeria for trial. The official who refused to disclose his name on grounds that they do not reveal details of their investigations to the media except when necessary, adding that investigations were just at the very preliminary stage.
It was learnt that the arrests were initiated by the EFCC based on its working relationship with the British NCA.
The source said “They (EFCC) initiated the arrest after completing investigations into crimes allegedly perpetrated in the petroleum ministry during the tenure of Alison-Madueke. You know that the EFCC has a relationship with the NCA that has lasted for years. This British agency was formerly called formerly Serious Organised Crime Agency.”
The British High Commission in Nigeria also confirmed the five arrests; however, it also refused to disclose the identities of those arrested.
“This morning, five people between the ages of 21 and 60 were arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences. The crimes are being investigated by the National Crime Agency. The NCA does not confirm identity at arrest nor provide information that could be used to corroborate the identity of an arrested individual,” Joseph Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, at the High Commission said.
Few hours after her alleged arrest in London, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission swooped on Alison-Madueke’s house in Asokoro, Abuja in search of alleged incriminating documents.
EFCC operatives that invaded her house combing virtually everywhere and “turned upside down” the residence by the EFCC operatives.
The NNPC under Alison-Madueke was allegedly involved in several opaque deals, many of which have been cancelled by the Buhari administration.
Alison-Madueke according to reports, has consistently maintained that she was innocent of all the graft allegations against her.
All efforts to get official confirmation from the EFCC on the arrests in London could not be made. Another source said the anti-graft agency would issue an official statement on the arrest “as soon as it is ready to do so.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in New York on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly stated that people who allegedly misappropriated billions of naira belonging to NNPC would soon be arraigned.
Even though the names of the other four couldn’t be ascertained, but just after the arrest of Diezani in London, EFCC operatives who stormed her home in Abuja also allegedly stormed the home of one Jide Omokore, a business friend of hers while she held sway as oil minister.
There were reports that Omokore’s 9 Turnbull Street home in Ikoyi, was raided by EFCC operatives. His office on Glover Street, also in Ikoyi was also under lock-down by EFCC officials.
Even though her passport was seized and she was released on bail after hours of questioning by the London police, she was however, mandated to report at the Charing Cross Police Station on Monday, October 5, where she will continue answering question from the Seizure Organised Crime Agency.
The former minister is in the book for offences related to bribery, corruption and money laundering. When contacted, the British High Commission in Nigeria confirmed that some arrests were made Friday but declined to disclose the identities of those arrested.
Joseph Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, said, “This morning, five people between the ages of 21 and 60 were arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences. The crimes are being investigated by the National Crimes Agency.
“The National Crime Agency does not confirm identity at arrest nor provide information that could be used to corroborate the identity of an arrested individual,” he was quoted as saying.
Also the force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole said she was not aware but would have to make some contacts and get back . As at the time of filling this report, the police PRO had not gotten back to our reporter. But a source said the police are out to carry out the plans of President Buhari to ensure the repatriation of the country’s money stolen and freighted to foreign countries.
“Yes the police played a role in the arrest of the former petroleum minister and we are making collaborative moves to extradite her into the country to face charges of corrupt enrichment and money laundering,” the source said.
Asked how soon the extradition is expected to materialise, the source said he could not yet be certain due to some of the legal processes that would clear the way for the action.
But In its reaction, the presidency said last night that the arrest of the former petroleum resources minister in London was an indication that the world is actually listening to President Muhammadu Buhari’s appeal for assistance in the ongoing war against corruption in the country.
The presidency was reacting to questions as to whether the arrest of Mrs. Alison-Madueke and four others by the British crime agency was based on its request.
When the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina was contacted, he simply said, “We have no information”.
The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, however, said that although he was not aware of any request by the presidency for Deziani’s arrest, the action taken by the British Crime Agency showed that the world was listening to President Buhari.
Shehu said, “I am not aware of any request. But you are aware of what President Buhari told world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations; that they should assist in facilitating the return of stolen funds back to their countries of origin.
“If the arrest of the former minister has actually taken place in the U.K, then it definitely means that the world is listening to President Buhari’s call for assistance in the anti- corruption war”.

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