Diezani Alison-Madueke Appears In London Court Over Bribery Charges

Former Nigerian Minister for Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, appeared in court in London on Monday as she was charged with accepting bribes in the form of cash, luxury items, private jet travel, and the use of upscale houses in Britain in exchange for granting oil contracts.

After being arrested in London in 2015 shortly after resigning as a minister, Alison-Madueke was later charged with six bribery offenses in August 2023. She has spent the last eight years on police bail living in St John’s Wood, London.

In her first court appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court, she spoke only to give her name, date of birth and address. She was not asked to enter a plea.

All of the charges against her that were read out in court have to do with alleged incidents that happened in London when she was a minister.

According to prosecutor Andy Young, she was accused of accepting a variety of benefits in cash and kind from those who desired to be awarded or maintain their entitlement to the award of oil contracts, which he claimed were worth billions of dollars in total. 

Among the benefits were a delivery of 100,000 pounds (about N94,000,000 today) in cash, the payment of her son’s private school tuition, and the usage and renovation of many luxurious homes in London and the English countryside.

They also included the use of a Range Rover, paying for chauffeured automobiles, furnishings, and purchases from the upscale London department store Harrods and the Italian decorative arts and antiques shop Vincenzo Caffarella.

Between 2010 to 2015, Diezani Alison-Madueke served as Nigeria’s minister of petroleum resources under the previous president Goodluck Jonathan.

She is the second high-profile Nigerian politician to face prosecution in Britain in recent years, after James Ibori, a former state governor who was convicted of fraud and money-laundering in 2012 and was given a 13-year prison sentence.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi