The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that the process to bring back former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom has begun. Acting spokesman of the Commission, Mr. Tony Orilade, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja.
There have been calls from different quarters for the former minister to return to the country to answer several allegations of financial impropriety against her. According to Orilade, EFCC’s operations department had made presentation to the legal department to commence the process, noting that the process has commenced.
He, however, said that the action had to be processed through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, explaining that it was not something the Commission could commence and conclude on its own.
He said: “It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public. It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into. The whole process is a total package.
“This request to have Mrs. Alison-Madueke repatriated to Nigeria is just an aspect of her investigation and commencement of trial.”
In 2017, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6bn alleged loot recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government. Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the government.
Granting the application, the judge had said: “I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7.6bn reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application. In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”
In October 2017, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had said that Nigeria had no immediate plan to bring Alison-Madueke back home to face trial. The former minister, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the Federal Government repatriate her to Nigeria to face corruption charges against her.
But Malami said bringing her back to the country would jeopardise the investigation being carried out on her in the UK. He had said: “Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bordering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.
“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that. As things stand now, there is no need for that, since the UK Government is already investigating her.”
The EFCC spokesman could not, however, say the point at which it became necessary to seek the repatriation of the former minister.