The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, says Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum, is being protected in the UK.
The ex-minister had relocated to London shortly before former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
Later that year, Alison-Madueke was grilled at the Charing Cross Police Station in London. The former minister was interrogated at the station when UK National Crime agency arrested her on suspicions of bribery and money laundering.
The Westminster magistrate court subsequently granted her bail but seized her passport while she was asked to report at the station at a later date. The court had seized £27, 000 from her, while the agency applied for three separate cash detentions in the names of Diezani, Beatrice Agama (her mother) and Melanie Spencer, a Swiss national.
During her ordeal in the UK, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) carried out a search on her Asokoro, Abuja, residence.
But when nothing was heard about the case after three years, the EFCC commenced started a process to extradite her, while the international police issued an arrest warrant for her following a request by the federal government.
However, Magu said the UK authorities did not do enough to make the process work out.
Speaking during an official visit to the Ibadan zonal office of the commission on Wednesday, Magu wondered why the country would be “protecting her” when there is enough evidence “to take her to court”.
“They have not taken her to court and this is the fifth year. Why should you be investigating a case for five years? It is a straight toward case and not murder case which takes long processes,” he said.
“You know it is a financial crime investigation. It is a straight forward case. If you don’t have sufficient evidence to take her to court, bring her back. We have more than enough evidence to take her to court.
“I don’t know why they are protecting her. Release her and let her come back to Nigeria. They are giving her protection for whatever reason known to them.
“They are yet to declare any pieces of evidence recovered against her. They are still relying on our evidence.”
The EFCC chairman said the commission is collaborating with stakeholders, including the media, in the fight against corruption.
“We are collaborating with everybody. We are collaborating with Nigerians in the diaspora, those who live outside. We are collecting a lot of information from them and that is our strength in getting them,” he said.
“We also want to collaborate with Nigerians in Nigeria so that they will give us information to expose looters and get them to return their loots.”