The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is insisting on the extradition of a former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke to the country to answer money laundering offences committed while in office.
EFCC request is coming up amidst Diezani’s ongoing trial in Britain for an alleged £100,000 bribe.
Mrs Alison-Madueke is standing trial for bribery, among other charges.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke was arraigned by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) before a Westminster Magistrates’ Court for an alleged £100,000 bribe.
According to news agency, Reuters, the NCA said it suspected that the ex-minister had accepted bribes for awarding multi-million pounds oil and gas contracts.
She was also charged with receiving bribes in the form of cash, luxury goods, flights on private jets, and the use of high-end properties in Britain in return for oil contracts.
The former minister, during her appearance only gave her name, date of birth, and address.
According to the Reuters report, she was not asked to formally enter a plea. But her lawyer Mark Bowen told the court she would be pleading not guilty.
The charges against her as read out in the court, all related to events alleged to have taken place in London while she held the fort as minister under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Prosecutor Andy Young said Mrs. Alison-Madueke was alleged to have accepted a wide range of advantages in cash and in-kind from those seeking oil contracts which he said were worth billions of dollars.
The advantages included: the delivery of £100,000 (about $121,620) in cash; payment of private school fees for her son; and use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside.
Other advantages included: the use of a Range Rover car; payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars; furniture and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.
District Judge Michael Snow granted Mrs. Alison-Madueke bail but imposed terms, including an 11 pm to 6 am curfew, an electronic tag to be worn at all times and a £ 70,000 surety to be paid before she could leave the court building.
Her next court appearance will be at Southwark Crown Court, which deals with serious criminal cases, on October 30.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke is the second high-profile Nigerian politician to face prosecution in Britain in recent years, following former Delta State Governor James Ibori, who was convicted of fraud and money laundering in 2012.
He got a 13-year jail sentence, which he has since served out.
The former minister was arrested in London in 2015, shortly after stepping down as minister. She was charged in August with six bribery offenses.
She has spent the past eight years on police bail, living in St John’s Wood, an expensive area of London.
But reacting, the EFCC in a statement by its Acting Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Dele Oyewale, said the commission has initiated an extradition process against Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
The statement said: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), welcomes, with keen interest, the arraignment of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke at the Westminster’s Court in London, United Kingdom, following alleged bribery allegations.
“Although the charges preferred against her at the London court, are diametrically different from the 13-count charges bordering on money laundering the EFCC has risen against her, it is instructive to note that criminality is criminality, irrespective of jurisdictional differences.”
“No crime can go unpunished.
“To bring the former Minister to trial in Nigeria, an arrest warrant has been obtained and extradition proceedings have been initiated.
The Commission is on course on her trial. She will soon have her day in our courts.”