Former petroleum resources minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been caught in yet another financial mess as detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have uncovered a N4billion hotel deal between Mrs. Alison-Madueke and a former military administrator.
According to sources who spoke with Nation newspaper, EFCC is not revealing the identity of the military administrator “so as to protect the investigation”.
It was also reported that some business associates of Mrs Alison-Madueke were yet to refund to the EFCC about $1.85billion traced to them.
“We have been able to link the N4 billion hotel in Port Harcourt to the ex-minister. We are probing alleged sales deal between her and a former military administrator.
“We have been able to ascertain the value of the hotel. But we are gradually tracking how the deal was carried out including verification of bank details and transactions by all those involved.
“Some of these deals we are unearthing were carried out in layers in order to shield them away from anti-corruption agencies. But we are cracking them all,” a source was quoted.
The source added;“For strategic reasons, we will not reveal the identities of the ex-MILAD and others connected with the deal at this stage of investigation.
“But very soon, the transactions will be made known to the public. Do not forget, we have four other properties under surveillance.”
Recall that EFCC had earlier seized a mansion worth N3.58billion from the ex-minister, bringing the haul in Abuja to about N4.08billion
With the latest tracking of the hotel in question in Port Harcourt, the properties allegedly linked to the ex-minister are worth about N8.08billion.
Another source who spoke with the newspaper said: “Apart from subsidy funds which some of them paid back, they are yet to refund the $1.85billion traced to them.
“The battle is in the court; we will do our best to recover these slush funds. I think they are prepared for the legal battle.”
The EFCC has, however, secured a Mareva Injunction from Justice O.O. Oguntoyinbo to freeze some foreign accounts and seize some assets linked with Mrs Alison-Madueke’s associates in the United Kingdom.
“Some of the off-shore financial institutions, where accounts have been frozen include BNP Paribas (Switzerland), LGT Bank (Switzerland), Standard Chartered Bank (London),Barclays Bank (London), Standard Energy (Voduz, Switzerland), HSBC (London), Corner Bank (Lugano, Switzerland) and Deutsche Bank (Geneva).
Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 empowers the commission to freeze any account suspected of being used for financial crimes.
“The section stipulates that ‘the chairman of the commission or any officer authorised by him may, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person is made through the commission of an offence under this Act or any enactment specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of this Act, apply to the court ex parte for power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate authority to freeze the account.”
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