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The first senior-level Nigerian official implicated in a bribery scandal regarding the country’s 2015 presidential election is Former Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke, according to the Associated Press.
The Nigerian Federal High Court issued charges against Allison-Madueke on Wednesday, after prosecutors accused her of paying $1.4 million in bribes to electoral officials prior to the March 2015 elections to ensure President Goodluck Jonathan’s victory.
An ex-national security advisor told the court in earlier proceedings that roughly $2 billion had been diverted from funds allocated for the fight against Boko Haram to pay bribes that would favor Jonathan’s victory.
Allison-Madueke has been residing in London since Jonathan’s loss two years ago. There, British law enforcement officers briefly questioned her regarding connections to a money laundering investigation.
One electoral official, Christian Nwosu, has plead guilty so far. He accepted a plea bargain with the court, according to Prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo, a lawyer from the anti-corruption Economic and Financial Crimes Comission, who added that Nwosu surrendered deeds to properties he had bought with the bribe money as part of the deal.
Two other electoral officials charged by Judge Mohammed Idris – namely, Yisa Olarenwaji and Tijani Bashir - have had to give up their passports.
President Muhammadu Buhari is investigating hundreds of officials for corruption since he was sworn in two years ago.
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But Nigeria’s money problems likely won’t be solved by reduced embezzlement or bribery. For the past year, separatist groups have been bombing foreign assets in the oil-rich Niger Delta. They contend that Lagos does not share a fair portion of energy profits with the regions in which the oil is produced.
Still, President Buhari’s recent change of approach in the federal government’s dealings with the Delta militants has borne some fruit, with Nigeria’s crude oil output rising to 1.68 million barrels daily, from 1.4 million bpd last August amid the frequent bombings.
By Zainab Calcuttawala For Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…