The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that it has begun the extradition process of the former Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Alison-Madueke from the United Kingdom.
Backstory: In an interview, the Acting Spokesman of the Commission, Tony Orilade, stated that EFCC’s Operations Department has made a presentation to the Legal Department to commence the process.
He added that the extradition process has to go through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and wouldn’t be carried out and concluded by the Commission alone.
“It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public. It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into; the whole process is a total package. This extradition is just an aspect of Deziani’s investigation and commencement of trial,” he said.
A Federal High Court in Lagos had, in 2017, ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6 billion which was allegedly looted by and recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government. The presiding judge, Justice Abdulazeez Anka, granted an application by the EFCC seeking the forfeiture of the money to the government.
Meanwhile, that same year, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said that there were no plans to bring Alison-Madueke back home to face trial.
Malami had stated that bringing the former minister back to the country would jeopardize an investigation which was being carried out on her in the UK.
Malami said, “If Nigeria feels strongly that there is a need to bring Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke here to face charges of corruption, the government will not hesitate to do that.”
The EFCC spokesman did not point out when it became necessary to seek extradition of the former minister.
Bottom Line: The Chairman of the EFCC had stated in September 2017 that the Commission would begin the extradition process to bring the former minister back to Nigeria where she will face trial for the crimes alleged against her.
However, since then, there have not been updates about the extradition process even though the EFCC seems to have continued its investigation into Alison-Madueke’s dealings.
With grand corruption becoming the central argument of the Buhari-Osinbajo reelection agenda, a Diezani case emphasizes the issue. It is, however, unclear whether political considerations had anything to do with the process.