In 2015, just after President Goodluck Jonathan lost the presidential election, Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, jetted to the United Kingdom following inundating reports of corruption under her. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission soon went after her, filing multiple charges against her and some top figures of the Peoples Democratic Party. Se was linked with fraudulent oil deals amounting to millions of dollars.
However, the former minister has been able to prevent the EFCC from prosecuting her as her extradition had taken over four years with no significant progress. An investigation by Al Jazeera has now revealed one of the reasons it might be difficult for EFCC to extradite her. In the investigation, details of how Dominican Republic politicians are selling the country’s passport to fund elections were revealed. Al Jazeera exposed how Prime Minister of Dominican Republic, Roosevelt Skerrit, funds his election with sales of his country’s diplomatic passport without abiding by the rules of the United Nations in appointing ambassadors or diplomats.
Diezani and other influential people took advantage of this deal to secure a Dominican Diplomatic Passport that prevents security agencies from investigating them. The reports disclosed that there are documents linking Diezani to a secret deal on the purchase of an apartment in New York, United States.Around $2.2m was used to purchase the said apartment through a Shell account in Deleware, the investigation revealed. According to Al Jazeera, “In London, she 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 said 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.”Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja has given the EFCC until March 2020 to extradite the former minister from the United Kingdom where she has been since 2015. “My docket is not going to be a waiting room for the prosecution.”I will give you one more adjournment. If nothing happens on the next date, I will strike it out,” the judge said.