The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced the discovery of a $37.5m (N11.75bn) luxury high-rise building on Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, allegedly belonging to the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
This is following the aanouncement by EFCC that it discovered $9.3m and £74,000 belonging to a former Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu.
The two discoveries were made as part of investigations into a string of fraudulent activities in the NNPC, which cost the nation over $20bn at a time the oil price stood at about $100 per barrel on the average
According to impeccable sources within the EFCC, the building allegedly belonging to Diezani was purchased between 2011 and 2012. It is situated in the same estate where Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, resides.
It was learnt that the building comprises 18 flats and six penthouses.
Properties on Banana Island are believed to be among the most expensive in Africa with a plot of land selling between $4m (N1.25bn) and $6m (N1.8bn), according to Forbes Magazine.
A source at the EFCC said, “The aggressive drive by the EFCC to recover all hidden assets of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is under investigation for corruption and money laundering, produced another breakthrough this week with the discovery of a property acquired through shell companies by the former minister at upscale Banana Island in Lagos.
“The property is a 15-storey edifice comprising 18 flats and six penthouses.
“The property was acquired by the former minister between 2011 and 2012 at a total cost of $37.5m from the developers, YF Construction Development and Real Estate.
The property was allegedly acquired in the name of a shell company, Rusimpex Limited under the control of certain Mr. Afamefuna Nwokedi of Stillwaters law firm, in Lagos.”
Last year, the commission seized an $18m mansion in the Asokoro area of Abuja allegedly belonging to the ex-minister.
She has, however, denied all the allegations levelled against her.
Meanwhile, the commission recovered $9.7m and £74,000 from a former GMD of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu.
Ironically, Yakubu, head of NNPC between 2012 and 2014, is the key witness of the EFCC against the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, Jide Omokore, who is standing trial for an alleged $1.6bn fraud.
The startling recoveries seem to give credence to allegations by the Emir of Kano and former Central Bank Governor, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who alleged that about $1bn in oil funds were stolen every month under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The former CBN governor said many shady deals took place under Diezani, who is facing corruption charges in the United Kingdom.
“Frankly, I think a billion dollars under Jonathan a month was about what we were losing,” he had said.
Explaining how some of the shady deals took place, Sanusi said, “Basically, all it (NNPC) does is allow a group of people, who themselves don’t have any kind of operating background to pay $50m for access to the crude oil in blocs valued at over $2bn and they just take the crude oil, ship it out and don’t return the money and there is no trace of where the money has gone.
“Someone gets a contract to lift crude from the terminals to the refineries and in between, that crude is stolen.”