The United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA) on Tuesday said that Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been charged with bribery offences.
Alison-Madueke has been on bail since first being arrested in London in October 2015.
The NCA said that she will appear in court in the British capital on October 2 this year.
The AFP reports that soon after her arrest, her family’s lawyer said she would strongly contest corruption allegations that have been hanging on her during and after her time as a minister under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The head of the NCA’s international corruption unit, Andy Kelly, reportedly said in a statement that, “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts.”
According to the NCA, Alison-Madueke allegedly benefited from at least £100,000 ($127,000) in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.
The AFP reports that the charges also detail financial rewards including furniture, renovation work and staff for the properties, payment of private school fees, and gifts from top designer shops such as Cartier jewelry and Louis Vuitton goods.
Kelly said, “Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries.
“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.”
The former oil minister, according to her family, is said to have been living in the upmarket St John’s Wood area of North London since she was first arrested, and undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer.
At the time of her arrest, the NCA said it had detained only five people in London on suspicion of international corruption, without naming those held.
The Nigerian government under former President Muhammadu Buhari later confirmed Alison-Madueke’s arrest and said its law enforcement agencies were cooperating with their British counterparts.
The NCA said that assets worth millions of pounds in relation to the case have been frozen as part of the investigation, and the NCA in March provided evidence to the US Department of Justice allowing them to recover assets totalling $53.1 million linked to Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption.