ECONOMIC and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa has revealed that the total amount of the jewellery seized from former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke totals about N14.46bn ($35m).
Oil minister during the tenure of former president Dr Goodluck Jonathan, Ms Alison-Madueke has been the subject of a series of corruption probes, with the federal high court in Nigeria confiscating some of her assets and handing them over to the government. Under investigation both in Nigeria and the UK, Ms Alison-Madueke, who was in office between 2011 and 2015, has been accused of participating in largescale corruption, including using her position to allocate lucrative oil wells to close associates worth billions of dollars.
Since leaving office, Ms Alison-Madueke has taken refuge in the UK, where she was arrested and granted bail pending the filing of formal charges against her. Ms Alison-Madueke has been asked to forfeit UK properties worth over £11m and been forced to forfeit about N7.6bn hidden in a Nigerian bank to the government.
Former EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu, said that it is estimated that the total amount Ms Alison-Madueke stole totalled $2.5bn. So far, the EFCC has confiscated houses from her in Nigeria valued at about $80m and speaking before the House of Representatives yesterday, Mr Bawa said that they now believe more is to come.
Testifying before an ad hoc committee of the House probing the status of recovered loot at an investigative hearing, Mr Bawa said the jewellery is still in the custody of the agency, adding that it had not yet been auctioned. He said that court processes, procedures and administrative exigencies had stalled some of the seized assets to be auctioned.
Mr Bawa said: “Already the federal government has set up a committee under the chairmanship of the solicitor-general of the federation and I think they are working tirelessly. We have EFCC representatives on that committee and we believe at the end of the day Nigerians are going to appreciate what that committee will come out with in term of the mandate given to them.”
He added that in its quest to transform the agency, the EFCC would soon digitalise its processes, adding that it had also created and upgraded four additional department to restore confidence. He listed the departments to include intelligence, procurement, internal affairs and the information communication technology department.