Last updated on August 3rd, 2023 at 11:00 pm
- Diezani Madueke may have purchased a $2.2m property for Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Commonwealth of Dominica
- She allegedly bought a diplomatic passport for several million of dollars
- Mrs. Diezani’s diplomatic passport protects her from prosecution according to the Vienna Convention of 1961
For over four years, Nigeria’s anti-graft agency and other security agencies have been unable to arrest Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
She was one of the most powerful ministers during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been able to confiscate some of her properties spread across Nigeria.
But EFCC has been unable to bring her back home to face prosecution for several billion of naira corruption allegations leveled against her.
Why Diezani Madueke is evading prosecution
According to the latest report Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke was appointed Commissioner for Trade and Investment by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Commonwealth of Dominica and was handed a diplomatic passport.
It was gathered that the diplomatic, according to international law, is perhaps why Diezani has been able to evade prosecution despite being in London for over four years.
In a report by Al Jazeera, the former minister may have purchased a $2.2m choice property near the United Nations in upscale Manhattan, New York, for the Dominican Prime Minister in order to obtain the passport.
Al Jazeera’s documentary titled, ‘Diplomats for sale’, the Qatar-based media firm reveals how politically exposed persons, including leaders of international drug cartels, purchase diplomatic passports from Caribbean countries for a fee that ranges between $250,000 and $2m depending on the personality involved.
Diplomats for sale
According to the report, the bribe is usually paid to the leader of that country who then appoints the buyer as an ambassador or a diplomat.
It was also revealed that the buyer is subsequently issued with a diplomatic passport which gives him or her immunity from prosecution based on the Vienna Convention of 1961.
Shortly before Diezani left office in 2015, there were already reports that she had allegedly stolen billions of dollars.
Why Diezani left Nigeria
The former minister allegedly fled to London and obtained a diplomatic passport from the Prime Minister of the Dominican Republic himself.
She feared that President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would probe the former administration of PDP and left Nigeria when her party was defeated in the 2015 general elections.
Part of the report says, “In London, she (Diezani) is personally handed a Dominican diplomatic passport by Prime Minister Skerrit; a passport which could shield her from criminal charges.
“We found documents showing a few days later that a shell company is formed in Delaware, an American state where laws mean the true owners of a company are kept secret.
“Four months later, that shell company buys a New York apartment for $2.2m with no mortgage.
“Property records confirm that the prime minister’s wife, Melissa, was a resident.
“Photos placed the Skerrit family there. Both Diezani and Skerrit deny any links to the company that bought the apartment.
Skerrit was quoted as saying that “the family resided there due to a kind gesture by an unnamed friend of his wife. He strongly denies any wrongdoing and says he didn’t demand or receive any money from Madueke.”
Some of the countries that sell diplomatic passports to corrupt people around the world are:
- St. Lucia,
The report says all the Caribbean countries carry out such “diplomatic passport for cash” scam.
Challenges of EFCC about arresting Diezani’s arrest
EFCC had in March, 2019 lamented the slow pace at which the United Kingdom was handling Diezani’s case.
The anti-graft agency had lamented that it was baffling that after four years, Diezani had still not had her day in court.
Part of EFCC read: “We are intent on bringing Diezani to justice and despite the spirited efforts of the commission in ensuring that she returns to Nigeria and face trial, she has been held back in the UK by an investigation that has spanned almost four years without any signal about when she will be available in Nigeria for prosecution.
“The EFCC has been frustrated over Diezani, a development that prompted it to seek her extradition to Nigeria, so that she can have her day in court.”
Allegation against Diezani Madueke
The former powerful minister is alleged to have diverted billions of dollars and purchased choice properties in several parts of the world.
Her cash and properties as well as those linked to her, worth over $250m, including jewelry, have been forfeited permanently to the Federal Government by an order of a court.
Recently, her husband a retired Naval officer stated that he warned her wife not to bring money home when she was appointed a minister by Jonathan’s regime.