By Soni Daniel, Sebastine Obasi & Michael Eboh, with agency reports
ABUJA—Determined to press its case of money laundering against former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the British government, yesterday, seized £27,000 from the embattled ex-minister, who was granted conditional bail by the National Crime Agency, NCA, last week.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, reported that £5,000 and $2000 were also seized by the NCA from Beatrice Agama, Diezani’s mother.
According to a BBC report monitored in Abuja, the NCA had approached the Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Marylebone Road, London, and obtained the order to seize the said sum until April next year.
However, Vanguard learned that the seizure of the money was to enable the anti-graft agency present it as evidence of corruption against the former minister in the pending money laundering case that the body plans to press against her and four other suspects now in London.
The quartet is believed to include a relative of the former minister and three oil barons.
Some other top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, were said to be facing possible arrest and extradition to the United Kingdom to face trial along with their former boss because of the roles they allegedly played in fleecing the nation of billions of petro-dollars.
Appearance in court
As reported by Vanguard, Alison-Madueke did not appear in court, yesterday, but her mother, Beatrice Agama, and another woman, Melanie Spencer, reportedly, showed up.
But the seizure of the money on the orders of the court, according to sources close to the British government, would speed up the opening of formal trial of the former minister by the NCA.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) sets out the legislative scheme for the recovery of criminal assets with confiscation being the most commonly used power.
The Act says: “Confiscation occurs after a conviction has taken place. Other means of recovering the proceeds of crime which do not require a conviction are provided for in the Act, namely civil recovery, cash seizure and taxation powers.
“The aim of the asset recovery schemes in POCA is to deny criminals the use of their assets, recover the proceeds of crime and disrupt and deter criminality.
Since 2010, more than £746 million of criminal assets have been seized by POCA up to the end of last year.
The Presidency has confirmed that it was in touch with the British government on the move to repatriate stolen wealth to the country but did not say whether it would ask for the extradition of the suspects for trial in the country or not.