UK court charges ex-petroleum minister, Alison-Madueke with bribery
Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, appeared in a London court on Monday to face charges bordering on receiving bribes in the form of cash, according to Reuters.
Other charges against the former minister were receiving luxury goods, flights on private jets and the use of high-end properties in Britain in return for awarding oil contracts.
Alison-Madueke was arrested in London in 2015, shortly after the expiration of her office, and was charged in August with six bribery offences.
She has spent the past eight years on police bail, living in St John’s Wood, an expensive area of London.
She made her first court appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court, and spoke only to give her name, date of birth and address. She was not asked to enter a plea.
According to Reuters, the charges against her, read out in court, all related to events alleged to have taken place in London during her time as a Nigerian minister.
Prosecutor Andy Young said she was alleged to have accepted a wide range of benefits in cash and in kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts which he said were worth billions of dollars in total.
The advantages included a delivery of £100,000 ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside.
They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.
Britain, Nigeria’s former colonial ruler, has long been a destination of choice for affluent members of the Nigerian political elite seeking to enjoy the benefits of their wealth.
London is a global money-laundering hub but it remains rare for public figures like Alison-Madueke to face prosecution for corruption-related offences.