More ministers of former president Goodluck Jonathan are facing possible arrest following Diezani Alison-Madueke, arrest in London on Friday. A source in one of the anti-graft agencies told The Nation last night that Mrs. Alison-Madueke is “just one of the few cases of ex-ministers under investigation.”
“We have at least about three issues at hand but I will not disclose their names. Do not forget that these three cases are outside the matter of ex-Minister Stella Oduah which is stuck in court. We have made our position known on this. The depletion of the $1billion in Sovereign Wealth Fund by about $700m is one of the priority cases with anti-graft agencies. There are also the issues of reckless granting of tax waivers to oil firms.”
A source, who spoke in confidence, said:
“Those in Jonathan’s camp felt the ex-president’s visit to President Buhari had created a window for mutual talks and negotiation on alleged graft findings by the new administration. They did not know that Buhari really meant business to retrieve looted funds. Actually, some ex-ministers, including Diezani, have already placed their counsel in Nigeria on standby in case of any invitation by anti-graft agencies. Their plan was that the matter would be settled in Nigerian court. But the arrest of the ex-Minister in London has added a new dimension to the anti-corruption agenda of the Buhari administration.
“Those in Jonathan’s camp were shocked by Diezani’s arrest. They have been desperately trying to get in touch with the ex-Minister since yesterday without success. As at today (yesterday), they are worried that Diezani has cut off contact with everyone, creating fears that she might spill the beans.
“The fear in Jonathan’s camp is that Diezani might be given the James Ibori treatment. They are suspecting that she might be tried and convicted in the UK.”
A former presidential aide said:
“None of us has been able to reach out to Diezani because all her lines are off. She has also not called to share her travails with anybody.”
How Diezani was arrested,
It was gathered yesterday that the voluntary surrender to the National Crimes Agency (NCA) by a Nigerian oil baron laid the foundation for a comprehensive investigation, and arrest of Diezani. The said oil baron, according to sources, was allegedly fronting for the ex-Minister and may be holding some looted funds in trust for her.
It was learnt that following surveillance and monitoring by security agencies, the oil baron confided in a former Head of State who encouraged him to open up to the NCA on all such slush accounts. “The oil magnate voluntarily surrendered to NCA because he knew the game was up. He was not having peace where he was staying in the UK. But the former Head of State assisted in cracking this financial crime.”
Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her alleged accomplices are expected to be arraigned in a London court tomorrow.