- Says requesting Diezani’s extradition ‘ll bungle on-going probe of the minister by UK
In less than 48 hours after a former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke indicated her willingness to come back to Nigeria to face a string of criminal charges piling against her in Nigerian courts, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami on Wednesday said the Federal Government is not in a hurry to extradite her.
According to Malami, Diezani is presently under probe in the United Kingdom over fraud, saying requesting for Diezani’s extradition might bungle the on-going investigations by authorities in the United Kingdom.
He noted that both the Federal Government and the United Kingdom are working together on Diezani to make her pay for her alleged misdeed while in government.
Bar and Bench Watch reports that both Nigeria and UK have indeed been working together regarding criminal investigation and prosecution of suspected criminals under an arrangement called Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
The United Kingdom was able to probe, prosecute and jail former Governor of Delta State, Mr James Onanefe Ibori for corruption under the arrangement.
The Federal Government said at the appropriate time, it would request for Diezani’s presence in Nigeria but definitely not now.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who is under investigation by UK’s National Crime Agency, NCA, for alleged illicit possession of properties valued at £10 million, purportedly purchased for her by some businessmen while she was minister, had asked to be joined in an on-going corruption suit against the businessmen in Nigeria.
She asked the government to request her extradition back to the country.
However, Mr. Malami said such a move was not necessary for now.
“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 Alison-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 U.K. Government is already investigating her and government will not take any decision that will jeopardize what the U.K. Government is doing,” he told journalists at the State House in Abuja.
The AGF said there is an existing understanding between Nigeria and other countries especially the United Kingdom on the recovery of stolen funds.
The Minister said Mrs. Alison-Madueke does not need to tell the government when to ask for her extradition.
“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,” he said.