A total of $233m, in cash and properties, was recovered from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said.
We reported that Diezani was Nigeria’s petroleum minister from 6 April 2010 to 28 May 2015. Before then she held ministerial positions at the Transportation, and Mines & Steel Development ministries respectively. Since leaving office in 2015, the 60-year-old has been living in Britain amidst allegations of financial misconducts with American and British officials saying she might personally have organized a diversion of $6 billion from the Nigerian treasury.
In the April edition of the EFCC magazine, ‘EFCC Alert’, Bawa disclosed that the commission recovered $153m from Diezani since she left office, adding that no fewer than 80 choice properties valued at $80m were also recovered from the ex-minister.
The anti-graft agency, however, acknowledged the challenges associated with bringing Diezani home to face justice, given the fact that she was out of Nigeria’s jurisdiction.
“There are several cases surrounding Diezani’s case. I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80 million. We have done quite a bit on that,” he said.
“The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery is also ongoing across the federation. We are looking forward to the time we will, maybe, have her in the country, and, of course, review things and see what will happen going forward. The case has certainly not been abandoned.’’
But responding to a question as to how he would be dealing with powerful government officials in the discharge of his assignment as EFCC chair, Bawa said he would be ready to leave the job if anyone tried to make him do what was illegal.
“I am not going to pay allegiance to individuals in the government,” he added.
Bawa pointed out that though he was young, he had paid the price on the job, having been among the pioneer staff of EFCC, rising through the ranks to reach the top.
He stated, “I rose through the ranks. The only job I know after graduation is the EFCC, which I joined in 2004. I rose through the ranks from an ordinary team member, to the first EFCC team leader from the regular staff of the EFCC.
“ I became a sectional head, became the zonal head in Ibadan, zonal head in Port Harcourt, and zonal head in Lagos. Lagos is the biggest operational hub of the EFCC with over 600 personnel. Port Harcourt is next to it in terms of complexity and staff strength. I happen to be the first EFCC regular staff to head three different zones before my appointment as the chairman.”
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