The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared that it is ready to testify against a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and oil barons, Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Punch gathered that evidence had been sent to the US Justice Department, as well as the UK’s National Crime Agency with a view to repatriating part of the $1.6bn allegedly stolen by Alison-Madueke, Aluko and Omokore.
Omokore, Aluko and four others are standing trial before a Federal High Court on nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6bn alleged to be proceeds of the sale of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.
Speaking on the matter, a top source at the anti-graft agency said, “We have sent evidence to the UK and the US on this case. The investigation involves many countries because these guys bought properties on different continents.
“We also update them as the case in court continues to unfold. We will be willing to testify if need be. This was how we assisted the UK in the James Ibori case. We will continue to work together.”
While Omokore is currently in Nigeria, Aluko has continued to elude both local and foreign authorities for over a year and was last seen in Porza-Lugano, Switzerland, in 2016.
The key witnesses are a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu; the Managing Director, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Yusufu Matashi; as well as some officials of the EFCC.
Omokore and Aluko were accused of creating two shell companies in the British Virgin Islands — Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria and Atlantic Energy Brass Development — to handle their oil contracts.
Though the companies did not meet all the requirements set by the Bureau of Public Procurements, they were said to be given the contract through the influence of Alison-Madueke.
Apparently unable to meet the terms of their deals, the duo were allowed to produce and sell about $1.6bn worth of crude oil. They then allegedly created additional shell companies to launder the proceeds through the US and the UK, giving kickbacks to Diezani.
Meanwhile, Alison-Madueke has threatened to squeal on his co-conspirators, Aluko and Omokore.
The former minister, who is being investigated for a series of multi-billion dollar fraud and money laundering offences in Nigeria, said after opening up on everything that transpired in the controversial fraudulent transactions, she would be ready to be thrown in jail along with her co-conspirators.
Premium Times reports she was particularly mad at Mr Aluko’s acquisition of a the Galatical Star, a $80 million “super yacht”, warning that he could have rented a yacht for two weeks instead of buying one.
“You and Jide [i.e, OMOKORE] had some of the most support that we could possibly give. At a time when we’re not doing anything else, we stuck our necks out regarding the SAA and we supported it. [INAUDIBLE] How the two of you have ruined it is incredulous and incredible to all of us,” she said.
“I spoke to you several times about your general behaviour, acquisition of assets, etc., asking you to be a bit more careful because [INAUDIBLE] will start following you. I remember we had this open discussion more than once. You kept telling me that there was no issue because you did it in a certain way, you did it in a certain—and I kept telling you that it doesn’t matter how you do it.
“Once you start acquiring, acquiring, acquiring at a certain level, then you’ll be—whether you like it or not, whether it was done in the most transparent—you understand?— manner or not, because they will want to trace where it came from. This is an age of terrorism,
“If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You don’t go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch, as we have been for some time, and where Atlantic [i.e., AEDC and/or AEBD] itself has been the subject of all kinds of speculation,” she said.
She said she was ready to reveal to Nigerians all that happened and was ready to follow Messrs Aluko and Omokore to jail.
“I said tell him [i.e., ALUKO] to bring everything out, and then you know what will happen? No problem, I will be happy to escort all of you to jail along with myself. I said, in fact, you’ll be shocked by what I will do. Because when it comes to that, I will come out and tell the Nigerian people this is what happened.
“Oh, yes, I will blame myself, but it [INAUDIBLE] place and everything. Anything they want to say, I am happy to go. But I will come out openly and say it so that they can judge me openly. And then all of us go and sit on the gate. Let us see who survived [INAUDIBLE], me or you,” she said.
Mrs Alison-Madueke also acknowledged that the furniture she was given by the duo of Messrs Aluko and Omokore was not worth more than $4million.
“The furniture they gave me didn’t come to more than four million dollars, altogether. [INAUDIBLE] it is truth. I was with [INAUDIBLE],” she admitted.