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Sunday, 15 October 2017

See Why Diezani Alison-Madueke Desperately Wanted To Face Trial In Nigeria

The ex-minister recently expressed her preference to face trial at home when she pleaded with the Federal High Court in Lagos to order the Federal Government to facilitate her return to Nigeria to face trial.

She asked for an opportunity to defend allegations against her in a charge filed against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dele Belgore, and former National Planning Minister Abubakar Suleiman.

The prosecution said Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly shared $115,010,000 (about N35billion) to individuals in the 36 states ahead of the 2015 general elections.

However, EFCC officials believe that the ex-minister's statement is part of a grand delay strategy to escape justice in London.

The fear of getting the 'James Ibori treatment' if tried in the United Kingdom was partly responsible for her call to face trial in Nigeria, according to The Nation.

Other reasons, according to EFCC sources, include the 'strict nature' of the British anti-graft law, and the huge cost of hiring a defence team there which could further drain her already depleted financial resources.

Ibori, ex-governor of Delta State was jailed by the Southwark Crown Court, London on April 17, 2012 after pleading guilty to ten counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

He was jailed for 13 years and his assets including three buildings in the UK and South Africa seized.

Also confiscated from him were a fleet of Range Rovers, a Bently Continental GT and a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62.

Before Ibori's London trial, he had been discharged and acquitted of a 107 count charge of corruption by a Federal High Court, Asaba.

Her trial in London, is expected to commence soon, sources added and EFCC officials are upbeat that the trial will justify the extensive job they did in investigating her.

They are shocked that she wants to return to Nigeria after the 'massive' evidence they sent to the UK for her 'water-tight' prosecution.

"We see her as making moves to frustrate the course of justice after we have hauled a lot of evidence to the United Kingdom," one source said.

"If she comes back, she will come up with frivolous applications up to the Supreme Court level to halt her probe. She might take advantage of the law to frustrate investigation and her arraignment in court.

"Intelligence also revealed that she is already afraid that she might face trial before some conservative judges who may strictly apply the UK law against corruption.

"So, she is just afraid of the long arm of the law catching up with her."

The source said now that the EFCC has seized more than 56 houses from her, she should "face trial in the UK which may further vindicate our findings or otherwise.

"The report of the US Department of Justice has already proved EFCC right on its investigation.

"US Department of Justice through its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is already seeking to recover $144m in assets from some associates of Diezani.

"We want her to face trial abroad in order to recover laundered funds before returning home for further investigation including the whereabouts of about $15.8 billion NLNG dividends between 2000 and 2014."

An audit report sent to EFCC by the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), doubts whether "the entire $15.8 billion due from 2000 to 2014 is still intact."

NEITI added: "The funds were neither paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation nor the Federation.

"Also, about US$7.85 billion out of the dividends was allegedly withdrawn in 2011 under the guise of funding Brass LNG Project."

Another source said:"The UK has spent much of public funds on Diezani's probe. She needs to spend more on the hiring of counsel.

"At the end of the day, if the laundered funds and assets are seized, whatever will have been expended on her probe will be deducted from forfeited assets.

"She will end up losing part of the looted funds. This is overwhelming her."

Responding to a question, the source added: "We learnt that 
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