Journalists wait in vain for Diezani at London police station, court

Embattled former Minister of Petroleum in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, did not appear in Court 10 of the Westminster Court, London yesterday.

The former Minister was arrested on Friday in the United Kingdom for alleged bribery and corruption-related charges.

Journalists waited in vain at the Charing Cross Police Station, London where she was expected to report and at Court 10 where she was expected to be arraigned.

A twitter user @sampiranty had, relying on an email from the court, “confirmed” that the former minister reported in court at 10am on Monday.

Another tweet @ogundamisi, however, claimed that the ex-minister was not at the Westminster Magistrate Court.

Ogundamisi said he left the said court around 3pm, saying Diezani was not at the said court on Monday.

Sam Piranty, who said he relied on the account of the court’s email, however, later apologised for the “confusion”, adding that the Clerk of the court had clarified that the ex-minister was not in court on Monday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives, who raided the Abuja home of Allison-Madueke, just at about the time of her arrest in the UK on Friday, reportedly recovered cash running into millions of naira.

EFCC officials are also said to be interrogating a former managing director of one of the subsidiaries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and three former executive directors of the oil corporation who served while Alison-Madueke was Petroleum Resources Minister.

The four are said to be under investigation by officials of the Subsidy Unit of the EFCC and their counterparts from the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom in relation to the former minister’s case.

The four were said to be “very close” to Alison-Madueke while in office.

“The man has been sacked now. He has been reporting to the EFCC since. Even three former executive directors are also reporting to the EFCC to tell the agency what they know about the NNPC funds,” a top official of the anti-graft agency said.

Check however indicated that the former MD being investigated was not among the oil barons that were picked up in the UK for alleged complicity in the money laundering case against the former minister.

It was further gathered that security agents were also probing an estranged ally of the former minister and two others in the UK.

The UK authorities have been keeping the identities of the affected people in line with their practice of keeping the identities of those arrested until they are taken to court.

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