A former Nigerian oil minister filed a defamation lawsuit against the country’s anti-corruption agency, demanding $215 million in damages.
Diezani Alison-Madueke sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on May 26, which was President Muhammadu Buhari’s last working day in office. His administration initiated multiple legal cases against the former minister since coming to power in 2015, in which it accused her of graft during five years at the helm of the West African nation’s key economic sector.
In publications on its website and elsewhere, the EFCC “falsely and maliciously” described Alison-Madueke as a “common criminal who looted public funds” by alleging it had traced hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and property to the onetime official, according to court filings seen by Bloomberg.
Alison-Madueke, who moved to London one week before Buhari took office eight years ago as her tenure came to an end, denies the allegations.
She is challenging several forfeiture orders issued by Nigerian courts and has accused the anti-graft body of blocking her efforts to defend herself in criminal proceedings. After serving as President Goodluck Jonathan’s petroleum resources minister from 2010, Alison-Madueke says she went to the UK to receive treatment for cancer.
The EFCC and Attorney General Abubakar Malami should pay Alison-Madueke 100 billion naira ($215 million) as compensation for their “defamatory” claims, according to her lawsuit registered last week at a court in the capital, Abuja. Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state, succeeded Buhari as president on Monday following elections held in February.
Spokesmen for the EFCC, Malami and the court didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The US government said in a 2017 forfeiture lawsuit filed in Texas that a pair of Nigerian businessmen bribed Alison-Madueke by funding her “lavish” lifestyle in return for support securing lucrative oil-trading contracts.
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