There are a number of reasons why Diezani Alison-Madueke was arrested in London beyond the financial fraud scandals rocking her as ex-petroleum minister, investigation has revealed.
Diezan’s involvement in financial impropriety during her tenure as petroleum minister, however, fast forwarded her arrest.
As petroleum minister from April 2010 till the immediate past government under Goodluck Jonathan left office, Diezani’s name was a repeating decimal in several financial fraud scandals rocking the oil industry.
Under her watch, $20billion oil money was allegedly missing. Though a controversial audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers in the twilight of Jonathan’s government claimed only $1.48 billion was missing.
There was equally a staggering scale of oil theft during Diezani Alison-Madueke’s reign as petroleum minister with about 445,000 barrels of crude oil stolen on a daily basis.
In January 2013 OrijoReporter exclusively reported that her husband, former Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Madueke’s company, Radam Maritime Services Limited was alleged to have stolen a vessel and fenders.
Radam, a marine haulage firm that is also into oil field services was fingered for the theft of MT Sir Michael vessel, which is owned by Tubbs Marine & Energy Ltd.
Businessman Femi Otedola’s company Sea Force used to be the owner of MT Sir Michael, but sold it way back.
And after one of its many trips, Tubbs Marine & Energy Ltd berthed the vessel at Lagos. But it became a surprise when it developed wings and disappeared into thin air, including the crew on board, on Monday 21st of November, 2011.
The two jumbo size fenders, which were owned by another company and used to safeguard the vessel, were also gone.
The search for MT Sir Michael was quite long and tedious. Having called the attention of Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Police, Interpol and other relevant agencies to it, the search started in Lagos where Tubbs Marine’s operations officer, Mr. Adeleye Ajibola, and the police went to various creeks in Lagos beaches as well as eastern part of the country. They also went as far as the neigbouring countries, Cameroon and Benin Republic but there was no luck.
Their first visit to Ghana on November 23rd 2011 did not bring any fruitage. However, three days later a glimmer of hope appeared from the same Ghana.
Mr. Chinedu, a staff of Tubbs Marine who was on board when the vessel was stolen and was dropped off into a fishing boat found his way to Accra, Ghana, and later Nigeria. Chinedu’s narration was the lead that led to the recovery of the stolen vessel.
The search party returned to Ghana on November 28 and hit the ground running. They first went to Tema and combed the fishing port, and the beaches outside the town but no joy. Their journey to Sekondi was also in vain.
But a return to Tema yielded result. MT Sir Michael was found at a beach at Okpone, a small community outside Tema. It was said that it was not met in good state. It had been tampered with. The fenders were off, and attempts were made to change the name across the vessel from MT Sir Michael to MT Navigator.
The thieves’ albatross was the MT Sir Michael’s International Maritime Organization number. Given to vessel immediately it is built, the IMO number is peculiar to each vessel, and it is well etched on it that it cannot be removed. It was the number that gave them away.
Suspects who were arrested by Interpol in connection with the theft in Ghana said that a Nigerian company sold the vessel to them, and that it was brought to Ghana by MT Regina, a tow boat, which is owned by Petroleum Minister Alison Madueke’s husband’s company, Radam Marine Service Ltd.
Tubbs Marine consequently dragged Radam Marine before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
It will also be recalled that Diezani herself was investigated by the lower chamber of the 7th national assembly over allegation that she squandered about N10 billion of tax payers’ money on charter and maintenance of a Challenger 850 aircraft for unofficial use.
However, outside her scandals in the petroleum ministry, she is also haunted over her alleged financial fraud scandals while she was transport minister between 2007-2008.
At one time, the 7th senate investigated her over allegation she fraudulently paid N30.9 billion to contractors while she was the transport minister.
It will be recalled that Diezani Alison-Madueke was recommended for prosecution by the senate in 2009 after she was investigated for transferring N1.2 billion into a private account of a toll company without due process in one of her financial fraud scandals.