Immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has offered to refund the sum of $250 million dollars to the Nigerian government in return for immunity from further investigation and possible prosecution, SaharaReporters has learned. However, her overture has reportedly received a cold response from President Muhammadu Buhari.
A source in Aso Rock and a ranking member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) told our correspondent that the former minister has been reaching out to influential government and ruling party officials, in and outside Abuja, to prevail on President Buhari to accept her offer and let bygones be bygone. According to our sources, Mrs. Alison-Madueke had enlisted the support of several figures close to Mr. Buhari, including Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, to intercede with the incumbent president.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke was one of the closest ministers to former President Goodluck Jonathan, and is reputed to have anchored and facilitated numerous money-laundering scandals and deals that characterized the era of the just-ended Jonathan administration. The former Petroleum Minister oversaw several oil swap deals, the disposition of oil wells handed over by Shell Petroleum to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the direct looting of funds through the NNPC. Former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was forced out of office after he revealed that the NNPC had failed to remit more than $20 billion in oil revenues with the CBN.
The former Petroleum Minister is the latest of several officials who served under Mr. Jonathan’s government that are currently negotiating “soft landing deals” with the Buhari administration. The incumbent president, who was sworn in on May 29, 2015, has vowed to probe various questionable financial actions taken by his successor or officials of his government. Mr. Buhari is reportedly determined to recover billions of dollars in stolen funds.
One source said Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s latest offer to refund at least $250 million to the government came after she learned that President Buhari’s scheduled meeting with US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, would include a discussion of ways that the US government could facilitate the investigation, arrest and prosecution of some officials of the Jonathan administration implicated in the theft of billions of dollars and a variety of frauds that resulted in the loss of significant sums of public funds in Nigeria.
SaharaReporters exclusively reported earlier in the week that the former Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been cooperating with the Buhari administration’s ongoing, if quiet, probe of a series of questionable financial transactions by the Jonathan administration.
Our sources revealed that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala had given the Buhari administration documents that expose a number of shady financial deals executed by the Jonathan administration.
Two days ago, we reported that former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, had appealed to Mr. Buhari to halt the ongoing probe of former President Jonathan’s administration. Even though Mr. Anyaoku has denied that he urged Mr. Buhari to stop the investigation of his predecessor’s financial dealings, our sources insisted that the ex-Commonwealth chief executive brought up the matter.
Our sources disclosed that Mr. Buhari was unimpressed by Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s offer. “Mr. President considers the $250 million as ridiculous considering the amount of money Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is suspected to have diverted into her pocket and those of others,” said one source.
According to our sources, Mr. Buhari is intent on ordering a full audit of deals and transactions done by the former Petroleum Minister and her cohorts in the various agencies that reported to her.
In addition, the new president is reportedly focused on looking further at the extensive embezzlement of security funds by appointees of the former president. Mr. Buhari has approved an investigation of how more than $3 billion in Nigeria’s defense budget was spent. Security agents who searched the homes of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, reportedly carted away some revealing documents.
Earlier today, the Department of State Security (DSS) arrested and detained Gordon Obuah, a former Chief Security Officer to President Goodluck Jonathan. Mr. Obuah is reportedly being questioned over his alleged mastermind of a multi-million dollar oil bunkering deal during the former administration.