Corruption charges: FG won’t bring back Diezani to Nigeria – Malami
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Wednesday said there was no need for the Federal Government to bring a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, back to Nigeria to face corruption charges.
Malami, in an interview he granted State House correspondents in Hausa at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the move was not necessary since the United Kingdom was already investigating the former minister.
Alison-Madueke had urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to compel the AGF to bring her back to Nigeria from the UK, where she travelled to shortly after leaving office in 2015.
She said she would like to appear in court in Nigeria to defend a criminal charge, bordering on alleged laundering of N450m, where her name had been mentioned.
The main defendants in the charge are a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.
But Malami said the UK authorities were already taking appropriate steps on the matter.
The minister however said if the Federal Government later saw any reason to bring the former minister back, it would not hesitate to do so.
He said, “The truth of the matter is that steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.
“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that.
“As things are now, there is no need for that since the UK Government is already investigating her and government will not take any decision that will jeopardise what the UK Government is doing.”
Malami said the government was working hard on issues of corruption and litigation in Nigeria and outside the country.
He said it would be wrong to conclude that the government was not doing anything on the matter, considering the fact that there is an existing understanding between Nigeria and other countries especially UK on the recovery of stolen funds.
When asked if Alison-Madueke can get fair hearing in Nigeria, Malami said, “Well, the issue is not about fair hearing now. We are talking about investigation first and is not within Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke powers to ask the Federal Government to bring her to testify in any case in Nigeria.
“Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is facing charges of money laundering and acquisition of properties in United Kingdom. So, it is important to face the charges there than for her to come as a mere witness in a case in Nigeria.”Punch