Diezani: EFCC investigates five prominent associates, seize vehicles, cash

*Embattled Diezani Alison-Madueke.

*Embattled Diezani Alison-Madueke.

*More arrests to be made soon
*As NCA officers arrive in Nigeria to collaborate with Commission

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

03 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, disclosed that it has seized some bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from prominent Nigerians associated with the money laundering allegation leveled against the former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The latest seizures are coming as there are reports that some detectives from the British National Crime Agency (NCA) are already in the country to collaborate with the EFCC in its bid to prosecute the former minister for fraud and corruption.

A ranking official of the EFCC, who confirmed the presence of the NCA counterparts in the country, said both agencies are probing the suspects for allegedly conniving with Alison-Madueke to steal billions of dollars through oil contracts and bribery.

The former minister was arrested in London on October 2 for alleged money laundering, bribery and corruption.

The official, however, wouldn’t disclose the names of the “high profile” suspects so as
not to jeopardise the investigation, but added that the Commission has restricted the movement of the suspects to Nigeria, pending the conclusion of investigation.

He explained that due to the international scope of the crimes, some of them may be extradited to the United Kingdom, UK, if the former minister is going to face trial, hence the presence of the NCA officials.

The official also noted that the Commission is still searching the homes and businesses of more suspects linked with the former minister, adding that more arrests may soon follow.

According to him, “It is too early to declare whether they are guilty or not. But in line with international best practices, the EFCC has invoked the assets forfeiture clause in its Act to seize some choice bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from these suspects.

“The movement of the affected suspects has also been restricted to Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation.

“The case at hand involves a high-net worth syndicate with tentacles across the different industries. But we are already cracking the investigation.”

Asked if the suspects will be tried in Nigeria, the official added: “It is uncertain or remote because the NCA has initiated a process in the UK, we will not want to duplicate the process.

“If necessary, some of the suspects might be extradited to the UK for trial. This depends on NCA because EFCC is only collaborating with the agency.”

The official pointed out that, ‘’Some officials of the NCA are in the country for collaboration with the EFCC on this investigation of the allegations against the ex-minister.

“It is obvious that the EFCC has more knowledge of the terrain than the NCA in tracking down some of these suspects. That is why we are working together on this case,” he added.

Alison-Madueke and four others have been under investigation. On October 2, they appeared before the NCA team in the UK.

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