…Nigerian govt affirms arrest
Chuks Isiwu 05 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian presidency, Sunday affirmed that it was aware of last Friday’s arrest of former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in London, on alleged corruption and money laundering.
Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, made the revelation in Abuja.
The affirmation came as SweetcrudeReports gathered that the former minister could face up to 10 years jail term, if convicted, according to the UK Bribery Act.
The Act specifies that “(1) An individual guilty of an offence under sections 1, 2 or 6 is liable — (a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both; (b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or to a fine, or to both.
“(2) Any other person guilty of an offence under section 1, 2 or 6 is liable — (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, (b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine”.
In affirming Diezani’s arrest on Sunday, Mr. Garba Shehu said: ‘“The government is aware of the arrest and all the government investigative agencies are working very closely with the British law enforcement.”
He added: “Nigerian authorities are saying for the first time that matters are being handled with seriousness and deep commitment. Nobody wants to give the impression that this government is frivolous and unserious.
“For this reason, government is only confirming active collaboration. Beyond this, we are not saying more. In due course, Nigerians will be briefed on updates as appropriate.”
But like the British authorities, Shehu did not reveal the identities of the other four people arrested alongside Diezani, all of who were also released on conditional bail by the police on Friday.
Following the former minister’s arrest by the UK Police in London, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, raided her Asokoro, Abuja residence also on Friday in search of materials that would serve as evidence against her.
The EFCC team reportedly recovered useful documents and cash running into millions of Naira.
Meanwhile, Diezani’s trial together with the other four suspects is expected to be conducted in London this week, but no exact date has been specified.
An official of the UK National Crime Agency NCA said the identities of all the suspects would only be unveiled at the point of charging them to court, explaining that the law establishing the NCA does not allow it to name those being investigated before charging them to court.