Along with latest reports that detectives from the British National Crime Agency (NCA) are in the country to collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in its bid to prosecute Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, the EFCC has also revealed that some vehicles, large volume of cash and jewellery have been confiscated from known associates of Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
A senior EFCC official, confirming the presence of the NCA counterparts in the country, said both agencies are fully committed to following every lead and looking into the matter of the alleged connivance of the apprehended suspects with the former minister. Reportedly, billions of dollars have been laundered through shell corporations, phoney contracts and open bribery.
It would be recalled that Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on October 2 for alleged money laundering, bribery and corruption.
Though the names of the minister’s alleged accomplices have not been revealed, in a bid to safeguard the investigation, and as a result of the international scope of the crimes, some of them may be extradited to the United Kingdom, UK, if the former minister is going to face trial, hence the presence of the NCA officials.
According to the EFCC official, “It is too early to declare whether they are guilty or not. But in line with international best practices, the EFCC has invoked the assets forfeiture clause in its Act to seize some choice bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from these suspects.
“The movement of the affected suspects has also been restricted to Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation.
“The case at hand involves a high-net worth syndicate with tentacles across the different industries. But we are already cracking the investigation.”
He added: “It is uncertain or remote because the NCA has initiated a process in the UK, we will not want to duplicate the process.
“If necessary, some of the suspects might be extradited to the UK for trial. This depends on NCA because EFCC is only collaborating with the agency.”
The official pointed out that, “Some officials of the NCA are in the country for collaboration with the EFCC on this investigation of the allegations against the ex-minister.”
“It is obvious that the EFCC has more knowledge of the terrain than the NCA in tracking down some of these suspects. That is why we are working together on this case,” he added.