The United Kingdom government has charged the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke with bribery, oil contract fraud, and other offences.
According to reports, she was charged by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after an indication that she had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
The 63-year-old ex-minister served during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, from 2010 to 2015.
She was the president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Speaking about the charges, Andy Kelly, Head of the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) International Corruption Unit, said, “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million-pound contracts.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.”
The NCA said Alison-Madueke was accused of benefitting from at least £100,000 in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.
Assets worth millions of pounds relating to the alleged offences have already been frozen as part of the ongoing investigation.
In March this year, the NCA also provided evidence to the US Department of Justice that enabled them to recover assets totalling USD$53.1m linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.
ICU officers have also worked closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria during the investigation, as well as the with the NCA-hosted International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre.
The IACCC brings together specialist anti-corruption investigators from agencies around the world to tackle allegations of corruption involving politically exposed people. It is currently working in 37 different jurisdictions.
Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS, said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised the NCA to charge Diezani Alison-Madueke with bribery offences.
“The CPS made the decision to authorise the charge after reviewing a file of evidence from the NCA relating to allegations of bribery in Nigeria.
“Criminal proceedings against Ms Alison-Madueke are active and she has the right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.
“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a criminal court to consider.”