Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been charged with bribery in the United Kingdom.
According to Reuters, UK police said they had charged her with bribery offences, saying they suspected she had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
Alison-Madueke, 63, was a key figure in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, serving as petroleum resources minister from 2010 to 2015. She also served as president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Soon after her arrest, her family’s lawyer told AFP she would strongly contest corruption allegations that have dogged her during and after her time in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
The head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, Andy Kelly, said in a statement:
“We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million-pound contracts”.
The NCA said Alison-Madueke allegedly benefited from at least £100,000 ($127,000) in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.
The charges also detail financial rewards including furniture, renovation work and staff for the properties, payment of private school fees, and gifts from top designer shops such as Cartier jewellery and Louis Vuitton goods.
“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries,” Kelly said.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation,” said Andy Kelly, Head of the National Crime Agency’s International Corruption Unit.
The costs also include financial incentives such as furniture, restoration work and personnel for the residences, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer stores such as Cartier jewelry and Louis Vuitton products.
Alison-Madueke has been living in the upmarket St John’s Wood area of north London since she was first arrested, and undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer, according to her family.
At the time of her arrest, the NCA said only it had detained five people in London on suspicion of international corruption, without naming those held.