Dominica withdraws Alison-Madueke diplomatic passport over UK money laundering probe

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Dominica Island, a small Caribbean country has withdrawn the diplomatic passport it issued to Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke following investigations into her finances in the United Kingdom in October, in connection with alleged money laundering.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister of Dominica, Mr. Roosevelt Skerrit, said: “As a small nation with very limited resources, we do not have the capacity to establish consular or other offices in many regions of the world. In this case, who is better to speak for and on behalf of Dominica in parts of the African continent than a former President of OPEC and former Chairman of the West African Gas Pipeline Authority?”

He stated, “The arrangement of Mrs. Alison-Madueke serving in an honorary capacity, with no direct remuneration from Dominica and Dominica facilitating her travels across Europe and Africa with the issuance of a diplomatic passport, was entirely in accordance with existing convention, protocol and practice, until the very recent and unexpected development of the investigations by the UK and Nigerian authorities.

The prime minister said following the alleged money laundering investigations, Dominica foreign affairs ministry moved with dispatch to suspend all relations with Mrs. Alison-Madueke immediately following her arrest in October, 2015, pending the outcome of the investigations.

“This suspension took place in the month of October. Our position is that the relationship with Mrs. Alison-Madueke and all that flows from this will remain completely suspended until such time as the probe into her conduct as a minister of government is concluded and a determination made by the relevant authorities.”

National Daily gathered that the former minister had obtained the citizenship of the Caribbean country, and was said to have been offered a post as the country’s trade and investment commissioner.

It was gathered that from the arrangement, Mrs. Alison-Madueke would promote trade and investments in Dominica at no cost to the country, and in return, she would have received all the necessary assistance and protection from the small Caribbean island in accordance with international law.

The UK National Crime Agency [NCA] had disclosed in October, 2015, shortly after the embattled minister was arrested that investigation into allegations of corruption against her and the four other people had been on since 2013.

Probes by independent audit firms, including the KPMG and PriceWaterhousecoopers, confirmed that billions of dollars of oil money were missing. The most notable case of missing money involved $20billion in 2014, as alleged by a former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi.

Long before her stint in the oil and gas sector, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was investigated by the Nigerian Senate on allegation she paid N30.9 billion to contractors while she held office as transportation minister.

In 2009, the Senate indicted and recommended her prosecution for allegedly transferring N1.2 billion into a private account of a toll company without due process.

With all these allegations hanging on her head, Alison-Madueke, with the support of then President, Goodluck Jonathan got elected in November 2014 as the first female President of OPEC.