February 24, 2024

Legal difficulties are increasing for Diezani Alison-Madueke, the minister of petroleum resources from 2010 to 2015. Last month a court in Lagos temporarily seized a luxury apartment block that she allegedly bought with $37.5m of ill-gotten cash; that case continues today.

Also in July, America’s Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to recover $144m of assets, including an $80m yacht, belonging to two Nigerian businessmen it alleges bribed her to gain lucrative oil contracts. The former OPEC chief is still in Britain, where she was arrested and bailed on charges of bribery and money laundering in 2015.

While that case is yet to come to court, the net seems to be closing. A successful prosecution, whatever the jurisdiction, would be a victory for the ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, elected two years ago promising to clean up Nigeria. His government is yet to secure any notable convictions of corrupt officials.

This would be a big catch, if prosecution is successful given the level of the official and the sums involved.

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