Corruption Allegation: EFCC Specialises In Media Sensationalism And Lies–Diezani

By Ikenga Chronicles January 22, 2017

Emerging facts reveal that the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke was never in exile and would surely come back to Nigeria after her ongoing corruption and money laundering trial in London, United Kingdom.

On Saturday night, the spokesman for the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) Wilson Uwujaren, had challenged the former minister to come back to Nigeria if she believed she had done nothing wrong.

“She [Diezani] should return to the country and clear her name,” Uwujaren said without making further comments.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had recently ordered that the $153 million which was illegally lodged by the ex-minister through cronies in three banks be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.

However, Diezani denied ownership of the money, insisting that she had no access to funds from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC).

She said, “I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine. I do not know the basis on which the EFCC has chosen to say that I am the owner of these funds as no evidence was provided against me before the order was obtained and they have not in fact served me with the order or any evidence since they obtained it. As of the time of my writing this rebuttal (January 19, 2017), the EFCC has still not furnished me or my lawyers with a copy of the order.”

In her statement, Diezani also denied ownership of an $18m (N5.7bn) mansion located on Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro, Abuja, which was seized by the EFCC in June.

In a report by a television network, Al Jazeera, the anti-graft agency noted that the items in the house included jewellery, furniture and a bulletproof gymnasium worth about $2 million.

The ex-minister slammed the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, for taking the Al Jazeera reporter to the mansion and misleading the public.

Diezani said the house did not belong to her but to an oil magnate, Mr. Kola Aluko. Aluko is Diezani’s alleged front who is on the EFCC watchlist.

The ex-minister said, “On June 13, 2016, the EFCC once again took their well-trodden path to the media; this time claiming that they had ‘discovered’ a mansion in Asokoro, Abuja, worth $18m (about N9bn) which they purported to belong to me.”

“The EFCC went to the extent of bringing in Al Jazeera, an international TV station, to air a damaging documentary against me in this regard, showing a particular residential building in Asokoro, Abuja, which they told Al Jazeera belonged to me.”

“The EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu, personally took the Al Jazeera reporter to the building, alleging that it belonged to me. It has since become apparent that the house belongs to a company owned by Mr. Kola Aluko.”

“If this is not a witch-hunt or a personal vendetta against me, how is it that one of our country’s premier investigative agencies was unable to avail itself of facts that are freely available in the public domain?”

“Since the EFCC claimed that the alleged $18m Asokoro property belongs to me, then it should kindly produce the ‘authentic’ Certificate of Occupancy and land registry information and any other relevant information as proof of my ownership of the property.”

She also denied involvement in the $1.3bn Malabu oil scandal. Diezani said the matter was a legal issue which was handled by the then Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN).

“I wish to categorically state that I have never held any discussion on this matter with any individual or entities outside of official channels. As the Minister of Petroleum Resources, I did not participate in any activity relating to financial payments on the Malabu matter, other than those statutorily mandated to the Minister of Petroleum Resources by the Petroleum Act. My role in this matter was a purely statutory one as required by law in the Petroleum Act ” she said.

The ex-minister further slammed the EFCC for misleading the media regarding her estate in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

She said the estate was not worth billions of naira but only N394m and that she declared it in her Asset Declaration form which was submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Diezani said, “On November 9, 2016, the EFCC officials visited our family home in Yenagoa as pre-agreed and they were escorted around the premises. I was therefore completely shocked to once again see my name sensationally splashed across the front pages of newspapers and widely circulated on the Internet, with blaring headlines such as ‘EFCC uncovers Diezani’s multibillion-naira estate’.”

“There was absolutely nothing ‘hidden’ or ‘concealed’ about the home. I had declared it openly as required by law, in my Asset Declaration forms (Annex-4B). Yet the EFCC announced that it ‘just discovered’ my ‘hidden estate’ and labelled it a ‘multibillion-naira estate’ even though it had been given the Bill of Quantities, showing actual amount spent.”

In a parting shot to the EFCC, Diezani said, “The fight against corruption in Nigeria will be far better served if the EFCC focused on incontrovertible facts, as opposed to media sensationalism and completely distorted stories, in its bid to demonise and destroy a few specially chosen Nigerians.”

 

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