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Diezani Alison-Madueke arrested in London.

Its been reported that Nigeria’s former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on Friday, a source from Nigeria’s presidency circle and another with links to her family confirmed this.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke was minister under former president Goodluck Jonathan from 2010 until May 2015.

Although it has not been officially confirmed if her arrest was at the instance of the Governmwent of Nigeria, under Alison-Madueke’s watch, oil-related scandals involving billions of dollars became almost commonplace in Africa’s top oil producer, ranging from fuel subsidy fraud to missing crude revenues.

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Diezani Alison-Madueke arrested in LondonA police spokesman in London said he had no record of such an arrest. The National Crime Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A statement for the British High Commission in Abuja said that five people between the ages of 21 and 60 had been arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences on Friday morning.

“The crimes are being investigated by the National Crime Agency,” it said, without naming anyone.

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Former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi was sacked while Alison-Madueke was in office after he raised the alarm over tens of billions of dollars of oil revenues that had been unaccounted for at state oil company NNPC between January 2012 and July 2013.

A litany of graft cases

That ​Diezani Alison-Madueke arrested in London now to some observers has been long expected.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke, one of the most influential officials of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, was first appointed into the federal cabinet in 2007.

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A former board member of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, she was later appointed Minister of Transport by former President Umaru Yar’adua. In December 2008, she was redeployed to the mines and steel development ministry.

After former Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became acting president, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was appointed Nigeria’s first female petroleum minister in February 2010, a position Mrs. Alison-Madueke held till May 29, 2015 when Mr. Jonathan left office.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s tenure as petroleum minister turned out one of Nigeria’s most controversial, amid unending allegations of massive corruption.

Under her watch, dubious oil marketers stole trillions of naira of oil subsidy money. She retained her position despite an indictment by the House of Representatives which investigated the fuel subsidy scandal.

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Probes by independent audit firms, including the KPMG and PriceWaterhousecoopers, confirmed that billions of dollars of oil money were missing. The most notable case of missing money involved $20billion in 2014, as alleged by a former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi.

Several shady deals exposed by PREMIUM TIMES and confirmed by government and independent auditors were linked to the former minister and her cronies.

Long before her stint in the oil and gas sector, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was investigated by the Nigerian Senate on allegation she paid N30.9 billion to contractors while she held office as transportation minister.

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In 2009, the Senate indicted and recommended her prosecution for allegedly transferring N1.2 billion into a private account of a toll company without due process.

Regardless of the indictments, Mrs. Alison-Madueke got elected in November 2014 as the first female president of oil producing countries alliance, OPEC.

The former minister consistently denies wrongdoing. In June, after leaving office, she rejected all allegations of embezzlement saying she never stole from Nigeria.

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Many Nigerians had been expecting her arrest after President Muhammadu Buhari officially replaced Jonathan at the end of May.

Buhari, a former general, won the elections at the end of March after promising to crack down on corruption, which is endemic in Africa’s biggest economy.

Story Sources: Reuters Africa, Premium Times

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