British government recovers N8bn worth of property linked to Alison-Madueke

British government recovers N8bn worth of property linked to Alison-Madueke

- The corruption allegations against Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke keep mounting by the day

- The former Nigerian minister of petroleum is facing corruption allegations both at home and abroad

- More revelations are coming from London where she is presently hibernating as some of her properties have been frozen

A report by Premium Times indicates that the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has frozen a £10million (over N4billion) worth of London property allegedly bought for Alison-Madueke.

According to the report, two properties at Regents Park in London, along with one in Buckinghamshire, have now been frozen based on the request of Nigerian authorities.

A London court gave the frozen order since September 2016, but details of the rulings have been kept secret until this period.

The agency was however reportedly too late in preventing two properties worth said to be worth £8million (Over N3billion) from being sold.

British Government recovers N8billion worth of property linked to Aliso-Madueke
One of the properties recovered by the British Government. Photo credit: Premium Times

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The affidavit stated that businessmen Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko were involved in the purchase of two of the properties allegedly bought for Mrs. Alison-Madueke.

The UK order also revealed that three of the properties have been frozen under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Apart from Alison-Madueke, Omokore and Aluko, the order also named three other individuals as defendants in the case, all of whom are believed to have received contracts or oil asset from the NNPC during Diezani's tenure as Nigeria's petroleum minister.

They include Aiteo’s Chief Executive Officer, Benedict Peters, a jeweler named Christopher Aire, and a lawyer named Donald Amamgbo. All received contracts from the NNPC. The order forbids the defendants from disposing of or dealing in the properties.

One of the properties sold before authorities found out about them is a massive nine-bedroom house in London’s exclusive Hampstead Garden Suburb was sold in May 2015.

Another property at 39 Chester Close was sold in July 2015, months before the NCA initially arrested Mrs Alison-Madueke.

UK estate agent, Daniel Ford & Co, assisted in the purchases of three of the properties, and UK solicitors firms, Addie & Co and Gordon’s Partnership, were conveyancers of the deals.

Meanwhile, the extent of the evidence against the former minister and the other defendants is still not certain.

The September 2016 forfeiture proceeding of the properties was held in private, meaning that the evidence that the NCA presented to support the seizure cannot be reached.

This evidence will be critical as what is on ground this will not be enough to secure criminal prosecutions against those mentioned, analysts say.

Aaron Sayne, a financial investigator and senior governance officer at the National Resource Governance Institute said: “In the U.S. and U.K., simply buying luxury items for a government official like Ms. Alison-Madueke isn’t against the law.”

“Investigators have to link the money involved to a crime that happened in Nigeria. And if the crime is bribery, they must also show that the items purchased rewarded her for helping someone win a government contract. That’s not easy to prove, especially well enough to stand up in court,” she added.

British Government recovers N8billion worth of property linked to Aliso-Madueke
Another London property linked to Alison-Madueke. Photo credit: Premium Times

Meanwhile, a coalition of CSOs under the auspices of the “Say No Campaign Nigeria” has called on the federal government to put in place mechanism for the repatriation and subsequent prosecution of Mrs Alison-Madueke for her alleged corruption charges.

The group in a press briefing held in Abuja today, Tuesday, August 22 called for a speedy trial of the ex-minister, emphasising the need to urgently prosecute suspects and promote the culture of accountability among public office holders, if the fight against corruption must be successful.

READ ALSO: FG set to review minimum wage in Nigeria

Watch the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stage an anti-corruption walk on the streets of Abuja on TV:


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