The Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC has reportedly frozen several bank accounts, including 8 foreign accounts belonging to some associates of the former embattled petroleum Minister, Diezani Aliso-Madueke, over $1.85billion fraudulent oil monies traced to their accounts, The Nation Newspaper reports.
According to the report, the former minister's associates are unwilling to make the refund, but rather, were ready to squander the slush fund in pursuance of the case in law court, an EFCC source revealed
A source in the EFCC said: “Apart from subsidy funds which some of them paid back, they are yet to refund the $1.85billion traced to them.
“The battle is in the court; we will do our best to recover these slush funds. I think they are prepared for the legal battle.”
The EFCC has, however, secured a Mareva Injunction from Justice O.O. Oguntoyinbo to freeze some foreign accounts and seize some assets linked with Mrs Alison-Madueke’s associates in the United Kingdom.
“Some of the off-shore financial institutions, where accounts have been frozen include BNP Paribas (Switzerland), LGT Bank (Switzerland), Standard Chartered Bank (London),Barclays Bank (London), Standard Energy (Voduz, Switzerland), HSBC (London), Corner Bank (Lugano, Switzerland) and Deutsche Bank (Geneva).
Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 empowers the commission to freeze any account suspected of being used for financial crimes.
“The section stipulates that ‘the chairman of the commission or any officer authorised by him may, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person is made through the commission of an offence under this Act or any enactment specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of this Act, apply to the court ex parte for power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate authority to freeze the account.”
The National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK arrested and quizzed Diezani and four others on October 2, 2015 for alleged bribery and corruption and money laundering.
Also, the EFCC has quizzed five more suspects since the interrogation of Mrs Alison-Madueke by the NCA.
The NCA last year obtained permission from a Westminster Magistrate’s Court to seize 27,000 pounds from Mrs Alison-Madueke and two other women.
Although NCA detectives have visited the country this year in line with the ongoing probe of the former minister, it was unclear when she will be formally arraigned in court in the UK.
While the UK investigation was in progress, the EFCC uncovered another $115million poll bribery scam in which the ex-minister was implicated.
But the ex-minister recently described allegations against her as “cold-hearted” and inhuman at a time she is ill.