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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Allison-Madueke Invokes Prayer as UK Bribery Case Moves Forward

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LONDON, The United Kingdom – Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, is calling on higher powers to navigate the stormy waters of her legal battles in the United Kingdom.

Facing serious bribery and corruption charges by the UK National Crime Agenc, NCA, Allison-Madueke appears to be coupling legal defense with divine plea.

Amidst the legal turmoil, the former oil minister, alongside associates Doye Agame and Olatimbo Ayinde, faced a Southwark Crown Court judge on Monday, expressing an eagerness to proceed with the hearing.

Her counsel conveyed to the court in Courtroom 14, “She is anxious for the case to be heard, and then move on with her life.”

The high-profile case has attracted attention within the Nigerian community in the UK, with many expressing sympathy for Allison-Madueke’s predicament.

Following the hearing, a prominent Nigerian community member relayed Allison-Madueke’s personal request to The Guardian: “I need prayers,” she confessed, seeking spiritual support in her hour of need.

In a legal perspective shared outside the courtroom, Emeka Ozoani, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria representing Benedict Peters, a figure linked to the allegations, cast doubts on the prosecution’s case. “The case is weak,” he proclaimed, scrutinizing the NCA’s prolonged investigation, which he suggested was an attempt to “justify what they’ve done with taxpayers’ money.”

Flown in specifically for the hearing, Ozoani’s presence underscores the case’s gravity and the high stakes involved. “Yes. I came because of my client,” he stated, affirming his commitment to the defense.

Scheduled for a following court appearance in February, Alison-Madueke is accused of illicitly benefiting from oil and gas contracts awarded during her tenure in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration between 2010 and 2015.

Both prosecution and defense agree on the expected duration of the trial—spanning seven to 10 weeks, with a careful eye on avoiding the Christmas break.

As the crown prosecutor and defense counsel deliberated over dates, the possibility of starting on November 3, 2025, was floated, only to be overshadowed by a preference for January 19, 2026, by Judge Baumgartner.

The case, draped in legal argument and now, unusual appeals to the divine, continues to unfold as both sides prepare for a lengthy trial that will delve deep into the intricacies of international bribery and corruption.

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