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Former Nigerian minister Diezani Alison-Madueke to face bribery charges after being arrested in London

 (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)
(REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

A former Nigerian government minister has been charged in London with accepting bribes while in office and spending the money on private jets and luxury holidays.

Diezani Alison-Madueke, aged 63, who also became the first ever female president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is accused of accepting private jet trips, luxury holidays and cash to fund a lavish lifestyle in the capital.

She was a key figure in the Nigerian government between 2010 and 2015 but the National Crime Agency suspects she accepted bribes during her time as Minister for Petroleum Resources, in exchange for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts.

She is alleged to have bought gifts from high-end designer shops such as Cartier jewellery and Louis Vuitton goods after benefitting from at least £100,000 in cash, chauffeur driven cars, and the use of multiple London properties.

It is alleged she also accepted furniture, renovation work and staff for the properties, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer shops such as Cartier jewellery and Louis Vuitton goods.

Andy Kelly, Head of the NCA’s International Corruption Unit (ICU), said: “We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts.

“These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.

“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries. We will continue to work with partners here and overseas to tackle the threat.”

Assets worth millions of pounds relating to the alleged offences have already been frozen as part of the ongoing investigation.

She denies the charges.

Madueke, who lives in St John’s Wood, London, will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 2 October.