I collected $4 million furniture from Aluko, Omokore, I’m ready to go to jail – Diezani Alison-Madueke
Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is being investigated for a series of multi-billion dollar fraud and money laundering offences in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and America has said she would be ready to be thrown in jail along with her co-conspirators, Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore after opening up on everything that transpired in the controversial fraudulent transactions.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke explosive comment is contained in a recorded conversation recovered by investigators probing the corruption allegations against the former minister.
Details of the conversations have now been filed as part of a civil complaint by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) seeking the forfeiture of over $144 million slush fund.
The trio of Mrs Alison-Madueke, Mr. Aluko and Mr. Omokore were listed as persons of interest in the civil complaint filed at the US District Court, Houston, Texas.
The complaint revealed how the three individuals laundered millions of dollars on behalf of Mrs Alison-Madueke, which was used in buying properties in the US and the UK for her family in return for oil contracts to Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd (AEDC) and Atlantic Energy brass Development Ltd (AEBD), two shell companies owned by Mr Omokore.
In the conversation with Mr Aluko recorded by herself on May 14, 2014, a clearly angry Mrs Alison-Madueke, admitted to helping his co-conspirators secure the multi-billion dollars Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) deals.
In another conversation with another unknown recipient, the former minister dared Mr. Aluko to reveal details of their dealings, and then face the consequences.
She was however furious at how the ostentatious acquisitions of Messrs Aluko and Omokore might have led law enforcement agencies across the world to their shady dealings.
She was particularly mad at Mr Aluko’s acquisition of a the Galatical Star, a $80 million “super yacht”, warning that he could have rented a yacht for two weeks instead of buying one.
“You and Jide [i.e., OMOKORE] had some of the most support that we could possibly give. At a time when we’re not doing anything else, we stuck our necks out regarding the SAA and we supported it. [INAUDIBLE] How the two of you have ruined it is incredulous and incredible to all of us,” she said.
“I spoke to you several times about your general behaviour, acquisition of assets, etc., asking you to be a bit more careful because [INAUDIBLE] will start following you. I remember we had this open discussion more than once. You kept telling me that there was no issue because you did it in a certain way, you did it in a certain—and I kept telling you that it doesn’t matter how you do it.
“Once you start acquiring, acquiring, acquiring at a certain level, then you’ll be—whether you like it or not, whether it was done in the most transparent—you understand?— manner or not, because they will want to trace where it came from. This is an age of terrorism,
“If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You don’t go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch, as we have been for some time, and where Atlantic [i.e., AEDC and/or AEBD] itself has been the subject of all kinds of speculation,” she said.
Apparently while the trio allegedly schemed to launder billions of naira that should have accrued to the Nigerian government all was not well with them. In the recorded conversation, Mrs Alison-Madueke, in response to speculations that Mr Aluko was going to blackmail her, threatened to spill the beans.
She said she was ready to reveal to Nigerians all that happened and was ready to follow Messrs Aluko and Omokore to jail.
“I said tell him [i.e., ALUKO] to bring everything out, and then you know what will happen? No problem, I will be happy to escort all of you to jail along with myself. I said, in fact, you’ll be shocked by what I will do. Because when it comes to that, I will come out and tell the Nigerian people this is what happened.
“Oh, yes, I will blame myself, but it [INAUDIBLE] place and everything. Anything they want to say, I am happy to go. But I will come out openly and say it so that they can judge me openly. And then all of us go and sit on the gate. Let us see who survived [INAUDIBLE], me or you,” she said.
Mrs Alison-Madueke also acknowledged that the furniture she was given by the duo of Messrs Aluko and Omokore was not worth more than $4million.
“The furniture they gave me didn’t come to more than four million dollars, altogether. [INAUDIBLE] it is truth. I was with [INAUDIBLE],” she admitted.
Mrs Alison-Madueke, who is reported to be receiving treatment for cancer in the United Kingdom, is already facing a series of multi-billion dollar fraud-related investigations by Nigerian and UK authorities.
Last February a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the forfeiture of N34 billion linked to her but stashed in several Nigerian banks.
Mr Omokore, an oil businessman, alongside some top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is facing a nine-count charge of criminal diversion of about $1.6 billion of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian government is also seeking a world-wide freeze of multi-billion dollar assets owned by Messrs. Aluko and Omokore.
The assets include a $80 million “Super Yatch”, the Galatica and three private jets.