A 7-person team of anti-corruption police officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) is currently in Nigeria to interview several associates and accomplices of former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. SaharaReporters learned that the British detectives, comprising of four women and three men, were in Nigeria as part of efforts to build a solid case in order to commence the former minister’s trial early next year.
Our correspondent learned that one of the major players being interrogated by the UK detectives is Donald Chidi Amamgbo, a California-based lawyer. Our source disclosed that Mr. Amamgbo played a key role in moving funds wired by several Nigerian oil dealers with whom Mrs. Alison-Madueke had fraudulent deals running into billions of dollars.
Our source revealed that the detectives had already interrogated a controversial oil sector businessman, Jide Omokore, adding that the beleaguered businessman had provided critically useful information on some of the deals. Mr. Omokore is currently on bail after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested and charged him for fraud. Mr. Amamgbo was briefly detained by the EFCC, but granted “administrative bail.”
The UK investigative team is also expected to interrogate several oil dealers who were close to Mrs. Alison-Madueke, and who played one role or another in a web of international financial crimes during the former minister’s helm. Our source stated that some of the players being sought by British investigators for interviews are outside of Nigeria. One such participant, Benny Peters, is currently holed up in Paris, France. Another one, Igho Sanomi, is believed to be in Miami, Florida at the moment.
Our source revealed that UK investigators were looking into close to 20 cases against Mrs. Alison-Madueke. However, the case that has the most traction has to do with how the former minister allegedly used straw companies set up by Mr. Amamgbo to launder billions of dollars. Some of the laundered funds were used to purchase 17 properties in the UK and elsewhere.
According to our source, the oil dealers under investigation reportedly offered large payoffs to Mrs. Alison-Madueke for oil swap deals. The payoffs were often wired directly to Mr. Amamgbo, who then acted as a front for the former minister. An unnamed UK lawyer of Indian descent is also being investigated for his alleged involvement in the case.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke is currently in the UK undergoing treatment for cancer. The NCA had earlier confiscated some funds from the former minister, her mother, and the wife of a Ghanaian businessman, Kevin Okyere, who is also named in a series of shady deals involving Mrs. Alison-Madueke.