EFCC to Collaborate with UK Prosecutors in $2.5bn Diezani Fraud Case

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to join forces with UK prosecutors in the trial of former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is facing charges in a UK court. Over the weekend, it emerged that the EFCC plans to act as an interested party in the case.

A team from the EFCC is expected to travel to London to initiate the process by filing relevant documents. According to sources, the EFCC aims to share its findings and the Abuja High Court’s forfeiture order concerning Diezani’s $2.5 million worth of properties and vehicles with the UK court.

An insider revealed, “This country may not be able to retrieve questionable assets from Diezani if the EFCC does not file an application as an interested party. We have received an advisory on this important bend to Diezani’s trial, and we will be part of the case in the UK. A team will leave for London any moment now to explore legal opportunities and file necessary papers as an interested party.”

The goal is for Nigeria to benefit from the trial by recovering all assets linked to funds allegedly looted during Diezani’s tenure as minister. The EFCC has substantial evidence against Diezani, including a court order on her $2.5 million homes and cars.

In a separate case, a former EFCC chairman confirmed that the commission had recovered $153 million and secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at approximately $80 million. The EFCC alleges that Diezani stole about $2.5 billion from Nigeria’s coffers while in office.

The source emphasized the importance of Nigeria’s involvement in the UK case, noting, “In March 2023, the NCA provided evidence to the US Department of Justice, enabling the recovery of assets totaling $53.1 million linked to Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption. Like the P&ID case, the EFCC has sufficient evidence to pursue a case against Diezani. We want all stolen, diverted, and questionable assets back in Nigeria’s custody for the benefit of our citizens. The EFCC is collaborating with the NCA in the UK on this.”

The source also highlighted the uncertainty surrounding Diezani’s potential extradition to Nigeria to serve prison terms if convicted. “This is why we also need to be an interested party in the case in the UK,” they added.

Last year, Andy Kelly, Head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, described the charges as a milestone in a thorough and complex international investigation. He stated, “Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries. We will continue to work with partners here and overseas to tackle the threat.”

Diezani is currently on trial at Southwark Crown Court in the UK for an alleged £100,000 bribe. The National Crime Agency alleges that she received benefits worth at least £100,000, including cash, chauffeured cars, private jet flights, luxury family vacations, and multiple London properties. On October 2, 2023, a Magistrate Court granted her bail for £70,000, considering her a potential flight risk.

Her trial proceedings are scheduled to commence in November 2025. In October 2023, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, submitted a warrant of arrest and a request to the Crown Prosecution Services of the United Kingdom for Diezani’s urgent extradition.

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