Nigeria has issued an arrest warrant for its former oil minister

Nigeria’s embattled ex-oil minister.
Nigeria’s embattled ex-oil minister.
Image: AP Photo/Ronald Zak
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Nigeria’s plans to bring home its former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to face corruption charges is gathering pace.

A court in Nigeria’s capital on Tuesday (Dec. 4) issued a warrant of arrest, tasking the country’s anti-corruption and security agencies to detain Alison-Madueke within 72 hours. It means Nigeria will be requesting the former minister’s extradition from the United Kingdom where she has been under investigation for money laundering since 2015. However, with an election just months away, Nigerian authorities will be keen to have Alison-Madueke face justice in a Nigerian court sooner than later and now claim the British investigations are moving too slowly.

Convicting Diezani Alison-Madueke would be a major scalp for president Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption drive, in addition to two former governors being jailed for fraud this year. But it will do little to assuage claims by opposition politicians that the anti-corruption fight largely ignores the president’s allies. Indeed after being implicated in a $8 million fraud scandal in 2016, a top aide in Buhari’s administration was sacked but has not been prosecuted.

Many of the charges levied against Alison-Madueke will center on her supervisory role over Nigeria’s vast oil resources as the anti-corruption agency alleges she engaged in fraudulent dealings during her tenure as minister. Its a claim that’s backed up by documents from the US department of justice which has named Alison-Madueke as part of a lawsuit seeking to reclaim assets worth $144 million believed to have been proceeds of corrupt dealings. The assets include a $50 million luxury condo apartment in New York and a $80 million yacht.

The documents suggest Alison-Madueke wielded her influence to award lucrative contracts to businessmen in exchange for kickbacks in the form of, among other things, property in the United Kingdom worth £11.5 million.

Back home, Alison-Madueke has also been forced to forfeit millions of dollars in assets including a $37.5 million apartment complex in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, and up to $153 million in allegedly misappropriated funds.

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