British authorities announced on Tuesday that they have formally charged former Nigerian oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke with bribery offences.
The charges stem from suspicions that she accepted bribes in exchange for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts during her tenure.
Nigeria, known as Africa’s most populous nation and a prominent oil producer, has long grappled with pervasive political corruption. Former colonial ruler Britain has become a preferred destination for Nigerian officials seeking to enjoy the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains.
Alison-Madueke, 63, held the position of petroleum minister from 2010 to 2015, serving under former President Goodluck Jonathan. Also, she assumed the role of president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from 2014 to 2015.
Andy Kelly, Head of the National Crime Agency’s International Corruption Unit, stated, “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts. These charges mark a significant milestone in a comprehensive and intricate international investigation.”
Alison-Madueke was detained in London in October 2015, several months after leaving office. She has been subject to investigations in both Nigeria and the United States.
While she has previously denied allegations of corruption, she was not reachable for comment on Tuesday. A London-based lawyer representing her in 2015 did not promptly respond to requests for comment.
The National Crime Agency disclosed that Alison-Madueke is presently residing in the affluent St John’s Wood neighborhood of west London. She is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 2.
The charges against her encompass various financial benefits, including cash sums exceeding £100,000 ($127,000), chauffeur-driven cars, private jet flights, luxurious family vacations, and the utilization of multiple upscale properties in London.
The NCA also outlined additional rewards such as furniture, property renovations, staffing for residences, private school tuition payments, and extravagant gifts from high-end boutiques, including Cartier jewelry and Louis Vuitton merchandise.
The agency further indicated that substantial assets linked to the alleged offences have been frozen. It confirmed its cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice, leading to the recovery of assets totaling $53 million tied to Alison-Madueke.
Recent years have witnessed Nigerian courts ordering the seizure of assets amounting to tens of millions of dollars, encompassing properties, vehicles, substantial amounts of jewelry, and even a gold iPhone.
This announcement comes within a month of a London court’s order for the confiscation of $130 million from former Nigerian oil state governor James Ibori. Although unrelated, this case also sheds light on the prevailing issue of political corruption in Nigeria.
Britain’s well-developed legal and financial sectors, coupled with a thriving property market, have made it a global hub for money laundering. The anti-corruption unit of the National Crime Agency forms part of the government’s concerted efforts to combat the inflow of illicit funds.
Gen Z Baddie, Ilebaye Crowned Winner of Big Brother All-star Season
Ilebaye the Gen Z Baddie., evicted 3rd week of Big Brother Level-Up season, emerged winner Of All-Star season.
In a thrilling finale that had fans on the edge of their seats, Gen Z sensation Ilebaye emerged as the winner of Big Brother All-Star Season with 30.08% of the votes, Investor King reports.
The 23-year-old Kogi-born captivated viewers with her intelligence, wit, charisma, and strategic gameplay.
The Big Brother All-Star Season was a battleground of the best, bringing together fan-favorite contestants from previous seasons. Cross, Pere, Adekunle, Ceec, Mercy, and Ilebaye were the 6 housemates who made it to the finals.
Ilebaye’s victory comes with a grand prize of 120 million naira, a weekend getaway for two, and an SUV, a year’s supply of Pepsi, among other rewards.
In her final speech, Ilebaye thanked her fans for their support and said she was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the BBNaija All-Stars season. She also promised to use their platform to impact the world positively.
Controversial Lagos Socialite Sam Larry Arrested in Connection with Mohbad’s Death
The Lagos State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of Balogun Eletu, popularly known as Sam Larry, a prominent Lagos socialite, in connection with the ongoing investigation into the tragic demise of Ilerioluwa Aloba, known as Mohbad, the late singer who passed away under mysterious circumstances.
Sam Larry’s arrest took place at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Thursday evening as he arrived from Kenya.
A police source, requesting anonymity due to a lack of authorization to speak on the matter, revealed that Sam Larry was promptly taken to the state police headquarters for questioning.
Sam Larry’s name has been in the spotlight since the demand for justice surrounding Mohbad’s untimely death gained momentum.
The arrest follows the police’s previous invitation of both Sam Larry and Mohbad’s former music label boss, Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, for questioning regarding the singer’s demise.
In a significant development, pathologists have recently completed the autopsy on Mohbad, with the police now awaiting the results.
This development followed the exhumation of Mohbad’s remains, conducted collaboratively by the Nigeria Police Force and health officials.
Also, the nurse who administered the injection to the late singer before his tragic passing on September 12 has also been arrested as part of the ongoing investigation.
As the investigation continues, the Lagos State Police Command is determined to unravel the circumstances surrounding Mohbad’s death and ensure justice is served.
Minister Betta Edu Vows to Overhaul NPower Program and Eradicate Poverty
Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, has revealed a series of challenges plaguing the NPower program, vowing to overhaul the initiative to ensure it fulfills its mission of alleviating poverty for millions of Nigerians.
During the Arise TV interview, Minister Edu expressed her commitment to transforming the NPower program and addressing its longstanding issues.
She explained that the NPower payment list contains the names of individuals who should not be part of the program, revealing the gravity of the problems that her ministry is actively working to rectify.
“First of all, when we came onboard, we found lots of issues with the NPower program that made us re-engage the entire plan,” Edu stated. “One of the things was that there were persons registered on the NPower beyond the envelope that was provided for the program.”
The revelation of individuals beyond the program’s intended scope raises questions about the program’s effectiveness in targeting those most in need of assistance.
Edu further highlighted financial mismanagement as a critical issue affecting NPower beneficiaries. “Funds were released for payment for people under NPower, and they were not paid in a timely manner by the managers of the funds of the NPower beneficiaries,” she declared.
This mismanagement of funds not only hinders the program’s ability to provide timely support but also undermines the trust of beneficiaries in the system.
Perhaps the most concerning aspect disclosed by the minister is the inclusion of individuals on the payment list who should not be there and those who do not contribute to the program despite receiving payments.
Edu said, “There were also people who were on the payment list who are not supposed to be there, and there are persons who are there but are not providing any services but have been enrolled to have payment.”
Such irregularities in the program’s implementation not only waste resources but also deprive those genuinely in need of the support they require.
Also, Edu acknowledged the issue of individuals who had surpassed their allotted time with the NPower program but still expected to receive payments. She referred to this as an “exit plan,” which has led to continued financial obligations that the program may not be able to sustain.
To address these pressing concerns, Minister Edu disclosed that a committee has been established to scrutinize and provide recommendations for improving the NPower program. The committee, headed by the secretary of the ministry, is expected to propose reforms based on its findings.
Minister Edu’s commitment to reforming the NPower program aligns with the broader goal of President Tinubu’s administration to uplift 133 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030, in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She declared, “For poverty alleviation, we are targeting at least 133 million Nigerians between now and 2030, which is in line with the SDGs that we signed at the United Nations.”
However, Edu emphasized that the government is not content with maintaining the status quo.
“The difference here is that we are not going to continue doing things the same way and expect different results,” she affirmed.
“There are different plans we are working on, and we believe very strongly that by the next one year, we should be able to say that at least we have removed 20 million Nigerians out of poverty.”
The commitment to addressing the NPower program’s flaws and the ambitious goal of poverty eradication signal a new direction in the fight against poverty in Nigeria, one that aims to be more efficient, transparent, and impactful for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
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