A London court, on Monday, granted bail to a former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who faces bribery charges filed against her by the United Kingdom (UK) government.
District Judge Michael Snow granted her bail in terms and conditions including a curfew that ordered her to stay indoors between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to Reuters.
The judge also ordered her to always wear an electronic tag, and imposed a 70,000-pound surety to be paid before she could leave the court building on Monday.
According to Reuters, the former minister, during her Monday’s appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court, spoke only to give her name, date of birth and address.
The charges against her were read out in court, but she was not asked to formally enter a plea. Her lawyer, Mark Bowen, told the court she would be pleading not guilty, the news agency also reports.
She is scheduled to have her next court appearance at Southwark Crown Court, which deals with serious criminal cases on 30 October.
Mrs Alison-Madueke, who was Nigeria’s petroleum minister between 2010 and 2015, was charged with bribery offences in August, following a National Crime Agency investigation.
She allegedly received bribes as Nigeria’s petroleum minister in the form of cash, luxury goods, flights on private jets and the use of high-end properties in Britain in return for awarding oil contracts, Reuters reports.
The prosecutor, Andy Young, accused her of accepting a wide range of advantages in cash and in kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts said to be worth billions of dollars in total.
The advantages, according to the prosecutor, included a delivery of 100,000 pounds ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside.
They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.
Mrs Alison-Madueke, aged 63, who also served as president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was a key figure in the Nigerian government between 2010 and 2015.
The former minister, who has subsisting criminal summons issued against her by a Nigeria’s federal court in Abuja, was arrested in London in 2015, shortly after stepping down as minister.
Activities of Ms Alison-Madueke’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which she served as its chair, were often cited by the Buhari government as part of the worst forms of corruption that took place during the Jonathan administration.
The former minister quickly became a subject of intense investigations and legal proceedings in Nigeria as soon as the new government settled down.
A court document revealed that the suspended chair of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who was appointed to head the team investigating Ms Alison-Madueke and her allies, once travelled to the United Kingdom to interrogate the former minister but could not gain access to her.
EFCC’s investigations culminated in the money laundering charges filed against her in 2018. The commission also targeted high-worth assets it believed she acquired with proceeds of crimes for forfeiture.
Activities of some officials of the agencies linked to her ministry were also subject of corruption charges.
Some electoral officers have also been jailed for funds they allegedly received from NNPC on her watch to manipulate the results of the 2015 elections.
On different occasions, the Federal High Court in Abuja had issued a warrant of arrest against her as part of the process of bringing her to Nigeria to face charges.
The EFCC blamed the United Kingdom government for shielding her from trial.
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