- The EFCC has challenged Deziani to appear in court and defend herself
- This is coming after she accused the anti-graft agency of peddling lies
- She denied ever stealing from the federal government
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has replied the former minister of petroleum, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke after she denied stealing $153 million from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The former minister who served during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan has been accused of carrying out financial misappropriation but in a rebuttal, she challenged the EFCC to publish details of her alleged corrupt practices.
Vanguard reports that Deziani denied benefitting from the $1.3 billion Malabu oil scandal and swore that she has never stolen money from the federal government.
She said her estate in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state which was visited by the anti-graft agency was based on an earlier agreement and not just a building that was just discovered as widely reported.
In response, a top official of the EFCC however said the best thing for her to do was to return to Nigeria and appear in court.
The source said: “We hope to meet her in court if she is ready and can therefore not join issues with her at this point.
“If the former minister has no case to answer, she should come forward and meet us in court instead of raising false alarm to whip up sentiment and run away from the issues.”
Madueke had said: "I am deeply disturbed and bewildered by recent media reports (Premium Times Thursday 12 January, 2017 and other dailies about the same time) claiming that by virtue of an order of the Federal High Court, I have forfeited to the Federal Government, the sum of $153.3m which I purportedly stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
"First and foremost, whilst the reasons for my being out of the country are public knowledge, the principle of fair hearing demands that I should have been notified of formal charges if truly there was a prima facie evidence or indictment against my person linking me with the said issue, so as to ensure that I had adequate legal representation. This was never done.
"I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine. I do not know the basis on which the EFCC have chosen to say that I am the owner of these funds as no evidence was provided to me before the order was obtained and they have not in fact served me with the order or, any evidence since they obtained it.
"In the face of the obvious falsification of facts and misinformation, it is only right and proper that the EFCC should publish the details of the $153.3M lodgements, the bank account numbers and the account beneficiaries, showing proof of my link to them. Having also alleged that the said $153.3M was ‘wired’ from NNPC, the EFCC should also publish details of the NNPC accounts from where the said $153.3 million was taken from, with proof that I authorized such a transaction/transactions acting either in my private capacity or, as The Honourable Minister of Petroleum.
"Let me state for the record that as Minister of Petroleum, the operation and management of NNPC finances were outside my purview as outlined in both the Petroleum Act and the NNPC Act."