Monday 5 October 2015

Diezani Alison-Madueke and her many controversies

Diezani Alison-Madueke and her jet
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, one of the most influential officials of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, had an illustrious career with Shell Petroleum Develop­ment Company which she joinned on 8th December, 1992.

While at Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, she later rose to become the first female Executive Direc­tor of the company in Nige­ria. Diezani Allison-Madueke scored another first when she became the first female Presi­dent of OPEC on November 27, 2014.

She was first appointed into the federal cabinet in 2007. She was appointed Transport Minister in July 2007 by former President Umaru Yar’adua. On De­cember 2008, she was named Minister for Mines and Steel Development.

After former Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became acting president, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was appointed Nigeria’s first female petroleum minister in February 2010, a position Mrs. Alison-Madueke held till May 29, 2015 when Mr. Jonathan left office.

Her tenure as the Minis­ter for Petroleum Resources was, however, marred by series of controversies. One of the most controversial policies introduced by her was government’s plan to remove state subsidies on fuel prices. Allison-Madueke had expressed her support for the discontinuation of the subsidy on the grounds that it imposes a huge financial burden on the government, and also that it encourage corruption and diversion of scarce public resources away from investment in critical infrastructure. Her position, however, drew flaks from a lot of Nigerians who describe her stand as anti-people.

In June 2008, she became mired in another controversy following her subjection to a probe by the Senate follow­ing reports that she approved payment of N30.9 billion to some contractors between 26th and 31st December 2007 when she was then in the saddle as Minister for Transport.

In October 2009, Diezani Allison–Madueke was in­dicted by the Senate and later recommended for prosecution over alleged illegal transfer of N1.2 billion into the private account of a toll company without following due process and in breach of concession agreement. The former minis­ter was also alleged to have spent billion of dollars to acquire private jets.

Probes by independent audit firms, including the KPMG and PriceWaterhousecoopers, confirmed that billions of dollars of oil money were missing. The most notable case of missing money involved $20billion in 2014, as alleged by a former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi.

However, for all these allegations and controversies that have been trailing her, Alli­son-Madueke has never been officially charged or tried. Even at the height of public uproar which had then greeted the revelations by the then governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that 20 billion dollars oil revenue had gone missing under her watch, contrary to the expectations of many Nigerians that former President Goodluck Jonathan would order an investigation, it was Sanusi the whistle-blower that was asked to proceed on terminal leave.

All these allegations noth­withstanding, Mrs. Alison-Madueke got elected in November 2014 as the first female president of oil producing countries alliance, OPEC.

Nigeria on Monday confirmed the arrest in London of former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke on suspicion of bribery and money laundering.

"Nigeria is aware of the arrest of the former petroleum minister in London on money laundering charges," presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told AFP.

"The government has been informed and the DSS (Department of State Services) is collaborating with the relevant security agencies in the UK to handle the matter," he said.

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