By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA—The United Kingdom, UK, National Crime Agency has said that the £27,000 (N9,180,000) seized from the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, was not related to her arrest.
Furthermore, NCA’s Press Office confirmed, in an electronic mail sent to Vanguard in Abuja yesterday, that apart from the £27,000 recovered from the former minister, ‘smaller sums’ were also seized from two other individuals, who it declined to name.The agency, in response to an enquiry byVanguard, said that cash seizure in the UK does not need to be related to an arrest.
On why it had not revealed the identities of those arrested along with the former minister, the agency made it clear that it does not confirm the identities of individuals it arrests unless there was specific operational requirement to do so.
Vanguard had written to the agency, Monday, asking to be availed of the time and place where the money was seized from Alison-Madueke and when she would be charged to court.
The agency replied yesterday, saying: “We can confirm that £27,000 was seized from Diezani Alison-Madueke at Westminster Magistrate’s Court along with smaller sums from two other individuals. But we are not providing any further detail at this time.
“Cash seizure in the UK does not need to be related to an arrest. The NCA does not confirm identities of individuals at arrest, unless there is a specific operational requirement to do so.
“There is no further information we are offering at this time.”
The agency skipped discussion on when the Nigerians, now on bail in the UK, would be formally charged for money laundering and bribery, fuelling speculations that the agency had not completed their findings.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has denied arresting one of the oil players in the country, identified as a close business associate of the former oil minister and Atlantic Energy Chairman, Olajide Omokore.
However, Vanguard learned that the commission interrogated Omokore and released him on administrative bail.
‘EFCC quizzed Omokore’
A source in EFCC told Vanguard that Omokore reported at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, Monday morning, on the invitation of the agency.
The source told Vanguard, on condition of anonymity, that the oil baron denied any wrongdoing.
The source told Vanguard in Abuja last night: “Omokore came and was promptly grilled on many issues relating to what he did during the tenure of the former minister and was released on administrative bail.”
Contacted, the spokesman for EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “I am not aware of the development. Once I have information on that I will make it available to you.”