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Diezanni: EFCC quizzes ex-NNPC chiefs

By The Rainbow
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Anti-graft investigators with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission are currently interrogating a former managing director of one of the subsidiaries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and three former executive directors of the oil corporation under ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The four are said to be under investigation by officials of the Subsidy Unit of the EFCC and their counterparts from the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom in relation to the former minister's case.

The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that the ex-NNPC MD and the three former EDs had already been directed to be reporting to investigators.

The four were said to be “very close” to Alison-Madueke while in office.

An EFCC source said the ex-minister might appear in court on Monday (today).

“The man has been sacked now. He has been reporting to the EFCC since. Even three former executive directors are also reporting to the EFCC to tell the agency what they know about the NNPC funds,” a top official of the anti-graft agency said.

Check however indicated that the former MD being investigated was not among the oil barons that were picked up in the UK for alleged complicity in the money laundering case against the former minister.

It was further gathered that security agents were also probing an estranged ally of the former minister and two others in the UK.

The UK authorities have been keeping the identities of the affected people in line with their practice of keeping the identities of those arrested until they are taken to court.

Our correspondents could not get the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Sunday as calls to his mobile telephone line indicated that it had been switched off.

But a top operative of the EFCC said on Sunday that the EFCC investigation into the activities of the NNPC was not just about Alison-Madueke.

The source said that more people could be grilled in relation to the probe of the corporation.

The source added that the UK Police, which had been monitoring the former minister for close to two years, had “something substantial” before moving against her.

Meanwhile, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, while speaking on the recent arrest and bail of Alison-Madueke, dismissed insinuations that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was out to settle political scores.

Tsav, who spoke on the telephone with one of our correspondents, noted that the former minister lived like she was above the law.

Tsav cited Alison Madueke's refusal to appear before the National Assembly to answer charges of malfeasance levelled against her as evidence of her “arrogance” and disdain for the legislature and the country's laws.

He said, “When (ex-President Goodluck) Jonathan was still in power, the National Assembly invited her several times to answer questions on some of these issues but she never honoured any of the invitations.

“Even when the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, now Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, made the allegations that US$20bn was not accounted for; she refused to appear before the National Assembly.”

Tsav said Nigeria had had the privilege of having credible women such as Gambo Sawaba, Margaret Ekpo and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, who fought for the good of society and wondered why it had become increasingly difficult to replicate their outstanding performances.

He described as embarrassing the fact that Nigeria still depended almost completely on the British police and its criminal justice system to bring our corrupt public officials to book, 55 years after our independence.

According to him, corruption is more than anything else responsible for the inability of our criminal justice system and our anti-graft agencies to act decisively over the past few years.

Tsav said, “Our anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria are not effective, apparently because there is too much political interference.

“In the case of (ex-Delta State Governor James) Ibori for instance, they found him not guilty in Nigeria but he was arrested, prosecuted and convicted in the UK.

“These agencies are either corrupt themselves or their activities are being interfered with by politicians. But I would rather believe that they themselves are corrupt and they are not willing to perform their duties very PUNCH

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