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I Never Stole A Dime From Nigeria : Alison Madueke

I Never Stole A Dime From Nigeria : Alison Madueke

*Ex-minister slams EFCC, Buhari, says she never stole from Nigeria

The former Minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke has slammed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of corruption levelled against her.

Alison-Madueke also faulted President Buhari’s war on corruption saying that it is aimed at rubbishing the image of some select Nigerians.

The former minister 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.”

She also revealed that she left $5.6bn in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) dividend funds, adding that during her time, there was no fuel scarcity.

Alison-Madueke also said the EFCC sensationalised the story about the estates in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, saying it was her family house which she declared in her Asset Declaration form with the Code of Conduct Bureau.

She 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.

“The EFCC (officials) were taken on a tour of the compound which consisted of a main house, and two outhouses – an obi (meeting bungalow) and a staff quarters (BQ) building – above which we built three guest rooms and a parlour.

“The other two structures are the gate and generator houses. Construction began in late 2011 and was handled in phases. During the visit, the EFCC was given the bill of quantities, which up  to the time construction stopped in early 2015, due to my illness, was at approximately N394m which was declared in the Code of Conduct documentation attached (the costs were partially funded by a loan – see code of conduct – Annex4B, the work is still uncompleted and the contractor is still being owed). Building costs escalated as a result of delays in construction and external factors such as the extreme flooding of late 2012 that covered most of our areas in the Niger Delta.”

She also denied any involvement in the $1.3bn Malabu oil scandal involving the very lucrative oil bloc known as OPL 245.

The former minister said “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.”

Alison-Madueke also said she is the owner of the $18m (N5.7bn) mansion located on Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro, Abuja, as reported by the EFCC.

She further revealed that the multi-billion Naira property belongs to Kola Aluko, a close associate of hers, according to reports.

On the Asokoro mansion, she had this to say:“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.”

According to Punch, the former minister also faulted reports saying that the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered that the $153m which she allegedly stashed away, be forfeited to the Federal Government.

She said she never had access to funds from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“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,” the former minister added.

Reacting to the claims by Alison-Madueke, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said the former minister should come back to Nigeria and clear her name.