OPEC’s First Female President Charged With Corruption, Bribery

Former OPEC president and Nigeria’s ex-oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been indicted for bribery, as reported by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) this Tuesday.

Having been on bail since her initial London arrest in 2015, Alison-Madueke is scheduled for a court appearance on October 2, confirmed by the NCA.

Post-arrest, her family’s attorney communicated to AFP their intentions to vehemently dispute the allegations of corruption that have plagued her tenure under ex-president Goodluck Jonathan.
Internationally, Alison-Madueke has been implicated in numerous financial crimes, spanning Nigeria, Italy, and the US. Speaking to a Nigerian newspaper in 2015, she dared any accusers to produce tangible evidence of her pilfering public funds, confidently declaring, “I’ve never stolen Nigeria’s money.”

History credits Alison-Madueke with her groundbreaking tenure from 2010 to 2015, during which she emerged as Nigeria’s first female oil minister and, subsequently, the first female president of OPEC.

Spearheading the NCA’s unit for international corruption offenses, Andy Kelly alleges that Alison-Madueke misused her Nigerian position, receiving illicit benefits for sanctioning high-value contracts. According to the NCA, the list of alleged benefits includes £100,000 ($127,000) in cash, luxury vacations, private jet flights, and opulent London residencies. The charges also detail other lavish gifts and privileges.

In Kelly’s words, “Bribery is a form of corruption that fuels serious crimes, especially detrimental to developing nations.” He further accentuates the importance of these charges as the culmination of a meticulous international inquiry.

Since her 2015 arrest, Alison-Madueke has resided in London’s St John’s Wood, undergoing breast cancer treatment, per family sources.

The arrest, initially undisclosed by the NCA, was later confirmed by the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari, who began his tenure with an anti-corruption crusade.
Assets associated with the case, amounting to millions of pounds, are now under a freeze order.

The NCA divulged their contribution to the US investigations, leading to the recovery of $53.1 million in assets tied to Alison-Madueke’s supposed corrupt activities, including lavish real estate and the luxurious superyacht Galactica Star.

Born in 1960 into a prosperous family in Port Harcourt’s oil city, Alison-Madueke pursued architecture in the UK and the US before affiliating with Shell’s Nigerian arm. Her political ascent witnessed her occupying pivotal roles, culminating with her appointment as the petroleum resources minister in 2010.