The United States of America has revealed how embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, allegedly squandered about $144m, using part of the funds to purchase a yacht, landed properties, furniture and artworks.
According to a 91-page “verified complaint” filed by the US Government before the US District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, while she was in charge of the oil ministry, Diezani, lived a lavish and privileged lifestyle,” spending “more than one million dollars on furniture, artwork, and other furnishings purchased within the Southern District of Texas, and shipped, in part, to London and Abuja, Nigeria.”
They are hereby seeking an order to forfeit funds and assets worth $144m linked to Diezani.
The US, in the “verified complaint” signed by a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Elizabeth Crispino, said Diezani allegedly acquired the assets with kickbacks from “an international conspiracy to obtain lucrative business opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.”
The assets, the US stated, were acquired between April 2010 and May 2015 when Diezani was “overseeing Nigeria’s state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”
Among the properties, which the US now seeks to be forfeited, are a 65-metre motor yacht, named M/Y Galactica Star; two properties known as 807 and 815 Cima Del Mundo Road, Montecito, Calif; as well as funds in a couple of companies.
Crispino said Diezani’s assets were liable to being forfeited “under 18 U.S.C. § § 981(a)(1)(A) and 981(a)(1)(C),”.
Crispino stated that “Section 1956(a)(2) prohibits transferring funds known to be the proceeds of unlawful activity from a place outside the United States to a place in the United States, with knowledge that the transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity, including the proceeds of an offense against a foreign nation involving ‘bribery of a public official, or the misappropriation, theft, or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official.”