FG Intensifies Efforts to Reclaim Stolen Assets Amid EFCC's Involvement in Diezani's UK Trial

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is intensifying its efforts to pursue justice against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, by seeking to join her ongoing trial in the United Kingdom as an interested party.

This decision underscores Nigeria’s determination to secure access to assets that may be seized from the former minister, who is facing charges related to bribery and corruption.

According to sources, a team from the EFCC will soon depart for London to initiate the process of filing papers as a party to the ongoing trial.

The commission aims to present the UK court with its findings and the forfeiture order issued by a high court in Abuja concerning Diezani’s $2.5 million homes and cars.

Diezani has been facing trial at the Southwark Crown Court in the UK for allegedly receiving £100,000 in cash, along with other benefits such as chauffeur-driven cars, private jet flights, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) alleges that she may have benefitted from at least £100,000 in cash and other perks.

A source disclosed to The Nation that the EFCC’s application to join the trial is crucial for Nigeria to recover assets that are subject to question from Diezani.

“Our country may not be able to recover assets that are in question from Diezani if the EFCC does not file an application as an interested party,” the source stated. “We have received advice on this significant development in Diezani’s trial, and we will be actively involved in the case in the UK.”

The EFCC possesses substantial evidence against Diezani, including a court order regarding her $2.5 million homes and cars.

In another case, a former chairman of EFCC confirmed that the commission recovered $153 million and secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80 million.

The allegations against Diezani by the EFCC center around the alleged misappropriation of about $2.5 billion from Nigeria’s coffers during her tenure as a minister.

In March 2023, the NCA provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that facilitated the recovery of assets totaling $53.1 million linked to Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.

The collaboration between the EFCC and the NCA in the UK is viewed as a significant stride in combatting corruption and recuperating looted assets.

Andy Kelly, Head of the NCA’s international corruption unit (ICU), emphasized, “Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption that enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries. We will continue to collaborate with partners here and overseas to combat this threat.”

Diezani was arrested in London in 2015 shortly after stepping down as minister and was charged in August with six bribery offenses. She has spent more than eight years on police bail, residing in St John’s Wood, an affluent area of London.