Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, has come out to say the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has been laying false allegations against her.

 

The Former Minister who is faced with several corruption-related cases within and outside the country stated this in reaction to the recent court rulings secured by the EFCC demanding the forfeiture of some cash traced to her.
The Minister says she cannot release assets and money that does not belong to her.

 

She accused the EFCC of taking advantage of her silence all this while to put her on media trial and declared in a lengthy statement from her London home.

 

Mrs. Diezani said given the “level of deliberate inaccuracies”, she had now been forced to break her silence and respond to some issues.

 

“I am deeply disturbed and bewildered by recent media reports claiming that by virtue of an order of the federal high court, I have forfeited to the federal government the sum of $153.3m, which I purportedly stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Whilst the reasons for my being out of the country are public knowledge, the principle of fair hearing demands that I should have been notified of formal charges if truly there was a prima facie evidence or indictment against my person linking me with the said issue, so as to ensure that I had adequate legal representation. This was never done. I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine.”

 

She specifically denied ever withdrawing $153million from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while in office and said the Yenagoa Estate, which the EFCC ascribed to her is her family’s compound built in 2011.

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The EFCC, according to her, is only out to convict her in the court of public opinion based on “false reports.”

“I have up till now chosen to maintain my silence and not to respond to inaccurate press reporting. However, given the level of deliberate inaccuracies, I am now forced to respond because it is clear that the EFCC is taking advantage of my silence to try me by media and to convict me in the eyes of the public on false reports. I am deeply disturbed and bewildered by recent media reports (Premium Times Thursday 12 January, 2017 and other dailies about the same time) claiming that by virtue of an order of the Federal High Court, I have forfeited to the Federal Government, the sum of $153.3m which I purportedly stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC”

 

Also reacting to the claims that she took bribe while in office, the former Petroleum Minister said in the statement:

 

“At end December 2011, I directed PPPRA to move for complete deregulation, to rid the oil and gas sector of the speculators, the bloated middlemen and the parasitic influence of God-fatherism. This was in an attempt to create a far less corruptible system as it was quite clear that the intended benefits of the Subsidy system were not reaching the masses but were being hijacked by unscrupulous middlemen cabals.”

 

On the controversial $2billion which went missing from NNPC while she was in office, the former Minister stated that investigations carried out by the PriceWaterCoopers, PWC, cleared her of any wrong doing.

 

“In addition, the Makarfi-led committee in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a series of publicly-held hearings, also vindicated me on the matter of the purportedly missing funds. Yet, we are all silent as if these events never occurred. The allegations that I have addressed above are no different, the character assassination continues, this time with a new set of hirelings. One of the basic tenets of the human trait is that we all have shortcomings and we all make our fair share of mistakes, whether we are in positions of leadership, or not. It is therefore sad and distressing that in spite of all that I tried to do in the best interest of our nation, I continue to be faced with constant demonization, unproven accusations, and deeply personal insults. The fight against corruption in Nigeria will be far better served if the EFCC focus on incontrovertible facts, as opposed to media sensationalism and completely distorted stories, in their bid to demonize and destroy a few specially chosen Nigerians. Documentary evidence is available to support the facts.”

 

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