Nigerians can not seem to think of a bigger scandal this year than that of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. Recall that recently her accomplices Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore were exposed, and the US revealed how they had helped Diezani move millions of Naira out of the country buying properties and yacht abroad.
The United States of America has given the details of how Diezani allegedly laundered about $144m, using part of the funds to purchase a yacht, landed properties, furniture, and artworks.
According to the US, she succeeded in spending “more than one million dollars on furniture, artwork, and other furnishings purchased within the Southern District of Texas, and shipped, in part, to London and Abuja, Nigeria.”
These were contained in a 91-page “verified complaint” filed by the US Government before the US District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, where it is seeking an order to forfeit funds and assets worth $144m linked to Diezani.
The US, in the “verified complaint” signed by a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Elizabeth Crispino, said Diezani allegedly acquired the assets with kickbacks from “an international conspiracy to obtain lucrative business opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.”
The assets, the US stated, were acquired between April 2010 and May 2015 when Diezani was “overseeing Nigeria’s state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”
Among the properties, which the US now seeks to be forfeited, are a 65-metre motor yacht, named M/Y Galactica Star; two properties known as 807 and 815 Cima Del Mundo Road, Montecito, Calif; as well as funds in a couple of companies.
The US stated that Diezani, with the help of and in conspiracy with two Nigerian businessmen, Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore, “laundered the proceeds of the illicit business opportunities into and through the United States.”
In the court processes obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, the US detailed, using tables, the “living and lifestyle expenses for Alison-Madueke.”
One table, tagged, ‘Rental Payments,’ showed how Aluko and his company, Tracon Investments Limited, helped Diezani to make a total of at least £537,922 in rental payments for two central London residences both located at 22 St. Edmunds Terrace, London NW8 7QQ, where Diezani and her mother stayed between August 2011 and January 2014.