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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

EFCC seizes associates’ bullet-proof cars-Diezani

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from five prominent Nigerians fingered in the money laundering allegation against former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

EFCC and its British counterpart, National Crime Agency (NCA), are probing the suspects for allegedly conniving with Alison-Madueke to commit the crime, it was learnt yesterday.

The former minister was arrested in London on October 2 for alleged money laundering, bribery and corruption.

EFCC has restricted the movement of the ”high-profile” suspects to Nigeria, pending the conclusion of investigation.

Some of them may be extradited to the United Kingdom (UK), if the former minister is going to face trial.

According to investigation, EFCC is still searching the companies and homes of more suspects linked with the former minister, following fresh clues.

Most of the areas under surveillance are in Abuja and Lagos.

A top source said: ‘’It is too early to declare whether they are guilty or not. But in line with international best practices, the EFCC has invoked the assets forfeiture clause in its Act to seize some choice bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from these suspects.

‘’The movement of the affected suspects has also been restricted to Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation.

‘’The case at hand involves a high-net worth syndicate with tentacles across the strata of the society. But we are already cracking the investigation.’’

Asked if the suspects will be tried in Nigeria, the source added: ‘’It is uncertain or remote because the NCA has initiated a process in the UK, we will not want to duplicate the process.

‘’ If necessary, some of the suspects might be extradited to the UK for trial. This depends on NCA because EFCC is only collaborating with the agency.’’

It was learnt that some NCA officials are in the country to work with EFCC on the case.

A source said: ‘’Some officials of the NCA are in the country for collaboration with the EFCC on this investigation of the allegations against the ex-minister.

‘’The EFCC has more knowledge of the terrain than the NCA in tracking down some of these suspects.’’

Neither the EFCC nor the NCA was willing to speak on record last night.

Alison-Madueke and four others have been under investigation. On October 2, they appeared before the NCA team in the UK.

The names of the four remaining suspects are being kept under wraps in ‘’order not to jeopardise investigation.’’

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