Nigeria is looking for the extradition of former oil minister and the first female president of OPEC from the UK to face trial in her home country, because a corruption investigation in Britain is taking too long, the head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said on Monday.
Diezani Alison-Madueke served as petroleum minister of Nigeria between 2010 and early 2015 under then Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, until he was defeated in the elections by current president Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Alison-Madueke was also the first female president of OPEC.
She was arrested in 2015 in London as part of a two-year-long investigation by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) into global corruption, bribery, and money laundering. Alison-Madueke was released on bail after being questioned. She has been on bail ever since, according to AFP.
Police and investigators suspect that Alison-Madueke was involved in siphoning off billions of U.S. dollars from Nigerian oil deals and state accounts when she was overseeing Nigeria’s oil industry, for personal benefits, including for buying luxury homes in London and in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.
More than two years ago, a Nigerian ad-hoc parliamentary committee revealed that there were no formal contracts between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and trading companies that received $24 billion worth of Nigerian crude oil between 2011 and 2014.
According to the results of the investigation, Alison-Madueke illegally allowed for a swap of Nigerian crude oil for refined products to trading firms Duke Oil and Trafigura.
The former Nigerian oil minister denies wrongdoing. Now Nigeria seeks extradition from the UK to put her on trial at home.
EFCC’s chairman Ibrahim Magu told a news conference in Abuja on Monday that “It is very unreasonable that she is not being tried there,” referring to the UK.
“That’s why I say, if you cannot prosecute her, bring her here. We will prosecute her… We cannot wait endlessly like this. I think three years and above is sufficient to take her to court,” AFP quoted Magu as saying.