The British authorities has hightened surveillance around ailing Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, following the revelation that she is on the verge of leaving the country for the Commonwealth of Dominica, where she has reportedly acquired citizenship.
Alison-Madueke, who has been in London since May 29, 2015 for treatment of chest cancer, is currently under investigation in the United Kingdom for alleged corruption while serving as head of Nigeria’s lucrative Petroleum Ministry.
According to the report, the discovery that the embattled former Minister had secretly acquired the citizenship of the tiny Caribbean country of only 72,000 people, jolted investigators in the UK and Nigeria.
But sources in the UK said the National Crime Agency (NCA) was already keeping taps on Mrs. Alisom-Madueke’s movement to prevent her from fleeing.
It was learnt that the lid was blown open by some anti-corruption and civil society groups in the UK.
Recall that the International Corruption Unit (ICU) of NCA on October 2 arrested the former Minister and four others for some few hours.
All the suspects are being investigated for alleged bribery and money laundering.
Alison-Madueke’s new citizenship was confirmed in a May 29, 2015 approval letter by the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, according to a document obtained by one of the groups.
The letter also claimed that the she has been appointed that country’s Trade and Investment Commissioner for the Republic.
Although the letter clearly indicated that the appointment was without salary package, she is expected to help in promoting and marketing Dominica as a trade and investment destination.
In the diplomatic passport, DP0000445, the Dominican Government said the former Nigerian Minister should be allowed to “pass freely without let or hindrance and afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary”.
Issued on May 21, 2015, the diplomatic passport is expected to expire on May 20, 2020.
The granting of citizenship to the ex-Minister, whose passport indicated was born on 6th of December, 1960, has attracted diplomatic concerns especially in respect of the diplomatic passport the Dominican Government has issued.
With a diplomatic passport, Mrs. Alison-Madueke is covered by diplomatic immunity and cannot be harassed, detained or stopped from traveling without risking a diplomatic row with the country she represents.
“I think the NCA is suspecting that she acquired the citizenship of the Commonwealth of Dominica with the intent to relocate to this country. This has opened a fresh bend into our investigation”, a source said last night.
“It is not impossible that she had planned to escape to Dominica ahead of the inauguration of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari because her appointment ought to be effective from June 1, 2016 for an initial period of three years.
“She has been placed under stricter surveillance in the light of the latest development.
“While the diplomatic aspect is being handled by the appropriate quarters, I can tell you that the NCA is collaborating with many agencies to bring her to account for any allegation against her.
“The NCA is conducting extensive investigation into the oil deals during the tenure of Diezani, irrespective of her ongoing treatment for cancer”. [The Nation]