A Must Read: Diezani Alison-Madueke Responds

I have up till now chosen to maintain my silence and not to respond
to inaccurate press reporting. However, given the level of deliberate
inaccuracies, I am now forced to respond because it is clear that the
EFCC is taking advantage of my silence to try me by media and to convict
me in the eyes of the public on false reports.

1. THE $153.3MILLION ALLEGATION
I am deeply disturbed and bewildered by recent media reports (Premium
Times Thursday 12 January, 2017 and other dailies about the same time)
claiming that by virtue of an order of the Federal High Court, I have
forfeited to the Federal Government, the sum of $153.3m which I
purportedly stole from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,
NNPC.

First and foremost, whilst the reasons for my being out of
the country are public knowledge, the principle of fair hearing demands
that I should have been notified of formal charges if truly there was a
prima facie evidence or indictment against my person linking me with the
said issue, so as to ensure that I had adequate legal representation.
This was never done.

I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what
was never mine. I do not know the basis on which the EFCC have chosen to
say that I am the owner of these funds as no evidence was provided to
me before the order was obtained and they have not in fact served me
with the order or, any evidence since they obtained it. As at the time
of my writing this rebuttal (Thursday 19th January, 2017) the EFCC have
still not furnished me or my Lawyers, with a copy of the order.

I am
also informed by my lawyers that the legislation under which the EFCC
obtained this order is for situations where the funds are believed to
be the proceeds of crime and the owner is not known. I do not therefore,
understand how the EFCC can in the same breath say that the monies in
question are mine. If they had evidence that the monies were mine then
they would not /should not, have used the procedure which applies only
to funds of unknown ownership. If indeed they used this particular legal
procedure because they did not know who owned the monies, then how can
they now be falsely attributing the ownership to me(Annex-1A).

Let
me re-state categorically as I have always maintained, for the record, I
have NOT and WILL NEVER Steal Money from OR DEFRAUD the Federal
Government of Nigeria. I am willing to respond to any charges brought
against me that follow duly laid down procedures. However, in their
typical manner and style, the EFCC have gone to the media to attempt to
prosecute their case as trial by TV and other media, rather than go
through the onerous but tried and tested means of the Judicial Court
process.

In the face of the obvious falsification of facts and
misinformation, it is only right and proper that the EFCC should publish
the details of the $153.3M lodgements, the bank account numbers and the
account beneficiaries, showing proof of my link to them. Having also
alleged that the said $153.3M was ‘wired’ from NNPC, the EFCC should
also publish details of the NNPC accounts from where the said $153.3
million was taken from, with proof that I authorized such a
transaction/transactions acting either in my private capacity or, as The
Honourable Minister of Petroleum.

Let me state for the record
that as Minister of Petroleum, the operation and management of NNPC
finances were outside my purview as outlined in both the Petroleum Act
and the NNPC Act. The only involvement I had in NNPC Finances was in
terms of statutory matters, where the Petroleum Act prescribed that as
Minister, there were certain duties or actions which I had to perform or
take in relation to NNPC.

2. MALABU
With regards to the
various news reports published in both the online and print media,
insidiously inferring that I was indicted by Italian prosecutors for, as
they put it, ‘ sharing in the Loot’ of the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block
deal that involved Malabu and the Joint Venture Multinational partners,
ENI(AGIP) and Royal Dutch Shell. Let me once again State for the record,
that this is another figment of the author’s imagination, which given
the persistent bid to ensure my destruction and stick all of the Sins of
the Corruption plagued Oil and Gas Sector of over the last 30years upon
my head, probably emanated from the EFCC itself!

Let me clarify
the position re the history of OPL 245, otherwise known as Malabu. You
will find a full chronology in the attached report that I made to the
House of Representatives in late 2011 (Annex 2A/Annex-2B).

In
2010, shortly after I was appointed as Minister of Petroleum Resources,
the issue of OPL 245 was brought to my attention. I looked into the case
and immediately became aware of the inherent and long standing
sensitivities around this issue. It became clear from the onset that
this case was not within the direct purview of the Minister of Petroleum
Resources but in the main was centered around issues of Law. By this
time there was already an ICSID(International Centre for Settlement of
Investment Disputes) investigation and claims against the FGN running
into billions of dollars. Therefore, we took directives from the Chief
Legal Officer of the Nation; the Attorney General and Minister of
Justice. In all of these matters due process was followed to the letter
at all times.

I wish to categorically state that I have never
held any discussions on this matter, with any individuals or entities
outside of official channels. As Minister of Petroleum Resources, I did
not participate in any activity relating to financial payments on the
Malabu matter, other than those statutorily mandated to the Minister of
Petroleum Resources by the Petroleum Act. My role in this matter was a
purely statutory one as required by Law in the Petroleum Act

3. THE ALJAZEERA REPORT – $18MILLION MANSION
On the 13th of June 2016, the EFCC once again took their well-trodden
path to the media. This time claiming that they had ‘discovered’ a
mansion in Asokoro, Abuja, worth $18million (approx. N9billion) which
they purported to belong to me. The EFCC went to the extent of bringing
in Aljazeera, an International TV Station, to air a damaging documentary
against me in this regard, showing a particular residential building in
Asokoro, Abuja, which they told Aljazeera belonged to me. The EFCC
Chairman Ibrahim Magu, personally took the Aljazeera reporter to the
building, alleging that it belonged to me. It has since become apparent
that the house belongs to a company owned by Mr Kola Aluko.

If
this is not a witch hunt or a personal vendetta against me, how is it
that one of our Country’s premier investigative agencies were unable to
avail themselves of facts that are freely available in the public
domain.

Since the EFCC claims that the alleged $18million Asokoro
property belongs to me, then they should kindly produce the ‘Authentic’
Certificate of Occupancy and Land Registry information and any other
relevant information, as proof of my ownership of the property.

4. FAMILY HOME – YENEGOA, BAYELSA STATE
On the 9th November 2016, the EFCC visited our Family home in Yenegoa
(Bayelsa State) as pre-agreed and they were escorted around the
premises. I was therefore completely shocked to once again see my name
sensationally splashed across the Front Pages of Newspapers and widely
circulated on the internet, with blaring Headlines such as “EFCC
UNCOVERS DIEZANI’S MULTI-BILLION NAIRA ESTATE” – Nation Newspaper,
January 8, 2017 (Annex- 4A). There was absolutely nothing ‘Hidden’ or
‘Concealed’ about the home. I HAD DECLARED IT OPENLY as required by Law,
in my Asset declaration forms (Annex-4B). Yet the EFCC have announced
that they ‘Just Discovered’ my ‘Hidden Estate’! And labelled it a
‘Multi-Billion Naira Estate’! Even though they had been given the Bill
of Quantities, showing actual amount spent.

It is accepted
Tradition across the length and breadth of Nigeria, for people to own
Country/Village homes. Given the size of the land and the location of
the compound, the buildings thereon cannot by any stretch of the
imagination be a “Multi-Billion Naira” palatial estate, as the news
mongers would want to portray.

The EFCC were taken on a tour of
the compound which consisted of A Main house, and two outhouses – An Obi
(meeting bungalow) and a staff quarters(BQ) building – above which we
built 3 guest rooms and a parlour. The only other 2 structures are the
gate and generator houses. Construction began in late 2011 and was
handled in phases. During the visit the EFCC was given the bill of
quantities, which up until the time construction stopped in early 2015,
due to my illness, was at approximately N394million which was declared
in the code of conduct documentation, attached (the costs were partially
funded by a loan – see code of conduct – Annex4B, the work is still
uncompleted and the contractor is still being owed). Building costs
escalated as a result of delays in construction and external factors
such as the extreme flooding of late 2012, that covered most of our
areas in the Niger Delta.

Due to the topography of the land and
the heavily waterlogged and marshy terrain, construction is infinitely
more expensive than in other parts of the Country, as by its nature it
requires the building of extensive piling/raft foundations before any
structural work can commence. The flooding of 2012 compounded the
problem and further increased the cost of construction.

5. $700 Million Cash Found In My House
Stories were circulated by unscrupulous agents of calumny that the
EFCC found a mind boggling $700million in cash in my home in Abuja.
Would the videos of this $700 million cash discovery not have made good
viewing? Or should those who recovered this money not tell the public
where exactly the money has been kept? Perhaps the Central bank should
corroborate that it is in custody of these monies allegedly found in my
house? But then, it is now patently apparent that Nigerians are no
longer easily led to believe fables and sensational untruths.

6. THE MISSING $20 BILLION
In late 2013, NNPC was accused by the then CBN governor, of
misappropriating first $49.8billion, then it changed to $12billion and
finally it was said to be $20billion. And in the twinkling of an eye
that accusation was turned around and directed at me, personally. I was
accused of stealing/misappropriating the unfathomable amount of $20
billion.

In a CNN TV Interview in March 2015, the former CBN
Governor stated that “there was this gap of $20 billion after
reconciliation between what NNPC exported and what it repatriated to the
federation account and I raised a number of issues that I think have
not yet been discussed and addressed sufficiently. One of them is
billions of dollars being paid in kerosine subsidy without appropriation
by the National Assembly and against a presidential order and we don’t
know who authorised these payments yet. Nobody has owned up to say I
authorised these payments, I made a mistake, it will stop…”. He, went on
to say that…. “…It could be $20 billion at the end of the day, after
reconciliation they could account for 10 or 12…”. So, as he pointed out,
there was indeed a reconciliation that at first stage had begun to
close the purported gap.

He also referred to the
non-appropriation of kerosine subsidy by the National Assembly. This was
an issue for which I had tried to engender a resolution and for which I
was still seeking a lasting solution to, at the time the CBN Governor
raised these issues (Annex-2A).

He had stated severally that a
large portion of the $20billion was constituted of illegal approvals for
Subsidy payments that I had given and that the late President Yar’adua
had directed that the said subsidy payments should be stopped and that I
did not comply with President Yar’adua’s directive. I have said it
before but let me say it again. President Yar’adua’s directives were
made in a presidential memo dated June 10, 2009, to the late Petroleum
Minister, Rilwanu Lukman, not to me. I was not the Minister of Petroleum
Resources at that time. My tenure as Petroleum Minister began in April,
2010. Those directives were not complied with by Rilwanu Lukman, not
Diezani Alison-Madueke.

I made several attempts when we came into
office in April 2010, to get to the real truth of the matter. Even
before we came in the GMD who served under Rilwanu Lukman, Alhaji
Barkindo, who is today the Secretary General of OPEC, had written to the
then Minister of Finance, Alhaji Muhktar, to enquire for clarity on the
matter, to no avail(Annex-2B). Finally, I had to write to President
Jonathan to get to the truth of the matter. President Jonathan pointed
out that although he and President Yar’adua had wanted to cancel the
entire issue of subsidies, the unions had objected and therefore the
payment of subsidy had never been stopped. He directed that in the
meantime we continue the payments but with the proviso that we prepare
for complete deregulation as soon as possible(Annex-2C), which I of
course moved to implement on Jan 1st, 2012.

Today, we all know
that the PWC report that was published cleared me of any wrong doing and
no one up till now has been able to controvert the PWC report, nor has
anyone been able to show that the $20 billion is actually, or was ever,
missing. In addition, the Makarfi-led committee in the Senate of The
Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a series of publicly-held hearings, also
vindicated me on the matter of the purportedly missing funds.

In
late 2011, due to the incessantly high subsidy figures which we knew
were coming from unscrupulous marketers who were dealing in
Round-tripping at the expense of the Nation, I removed all 92 PPPRA
throughput marketers, amongst whom we believed were those undertaking
round-tripping and substantially raising the cost of subsiding petrol
for the entire Nation. In doing that, I cut the subsidy bill to the
Nation by almost 50% and put my life under immediate threat. Yet, I was
accused, in the now defunct NEXT magazine, of taking bribes from these
same companies.

At end December 2011, I directed PPPRA to move
for complete deregulation, to rid the Oil & Gas sector of the
speculators, the bloated middlemen and the parasitic influence of
Godfatherism. This was in an attempt to create a far less corruptible
system as it was quite clear that the intended benefits of the Subsidy
system were not reaching the masses but were being hijacked by
unscrupulous middlemen cabals. And finally, to allow the true market
factors of supply and demand to come into play….. And as you all know,
the country pushed back against it. Even after that, in early January
2012, I sought the permission and received the approval, of President
Jonathan to write to EFCC asking that they please come in and
investigate the entire Subsidy program and the fraudulence embedded in
it(Annex-2D). And yet, I was called the corrupt one.

It is
pertinent to note here, that the incumbent government themselves
maintained the full subsidy regime for over one year until they realised
(as I had pointed out in 2011 and had championed continuously), that it
was unsustainable.

7. My Stewardship
I would like
to state for the record that I performed my duty as Minister of
Petroleum Resources with the utmost sincerity and sense of
responsibility, ensuring that all Nigerians irrespective of creed,
gender or tribe enjoyed their rightful benefits from the Oil and Gas
Sector.

$5.6 Billion LNG Dividend Fund
It is pertinent to
note that at the end of my tenure, I left behind in the LNG dividend
fund, for the incoming Administration, the sum of $5.6billion(five
billion six hundred million US Dollars)(Annex-6A). I did this to ensure
continuity in the crucial gas sector development which underpins the
entire Power and Energy Sector and which was and still is, absolutely
imperative for the Country’s current and future economic development.

Local Content
Having pushed for the full implementation of the Nigerian Local Content
Act, despite resistance from various stakeholders, I actively promoted
the benefits of ‘Nigerians Right to First Consideration’ in both the
downstream and upstream sectors. The immediate effect of my actions was
that for the first time in history, thousands of Nigerians were able to
break through the barriers of a sector that had hitherto been the
preserve of a few powerful groups with vested interest, and thereby earn
a living. This remains a source of pride to me, that not only did it
create wealth across the entire economic value chain but it also ensured
the unparalleled transfers of knowledge and expertise for our
indigenous operators. It is noteworthy that the template is being
adapted for use in other countries.

Fuel Scarcity
It is on
record, that I immediately took the issue of incessant fuel queues
head-on and in my time as petroleum minister, Nigerians rarely
experienced fuel shortages. These queues had long dominated our
landscape, causing untold hardship to millions of ordinary Nigerians
stuck in fuel queues for hours; like the bus driver who was unable to
earn enough to go to the market, and the market woman who, therefore,
earned less and so could not afford school fees. This example, though at
the most basic level, caused a chain reaction which was replicated in
various facets throughout the economy. So, on the macro economic level,
the main benefit of ending the fuel queues was an immediate increase in
GDP, reduction in inflation and easier facilitation and movement of
people, goods and services, across the country.

The continuing
effect of all these measures were that even in the most remote
locations, Nigerians could buy and sell petroleum products.

Gas Supply & Infrastructure
As soon as I assumed office, I put into play my wealth of experience in
the oil and gas sector, knowing that gas was imperative for our future
growth and prosperity. I put together a team to look at all aspects of
growing Nigeria’s Gas with the intent of turning Nigeria into a Premier
Gas Exploring and Producing Country, even more than an oil producing
country. We started working on Gas for Industry – The commercialisation
approach, Gas for home use – LPG, and Gas for Power generation. We even
sponsored a pilot scheme for Gas to power vehicles. I implemented a
short, medium and long term project to put in place sustainable gas
supply to underpin the power sector and began laying the requisite
infrastructure that was virtually non-existent when we took office. We
worked with NERC and the CBN to put in place the necessary fiscal
levers, to ensure that Gas supply would be competitively priced. I left
behind a comprehensive and detailed plan for the rollout of LPG and the
Industrialisation of GAS eg. The Ogidingben project.

Petroleum Industry Bill
I personally worked tirelessly through the night on many occasions,
with the committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill, to finally get it to
the point where for the first time in over 12 years, we could place it
before the Federal Executive Council, and the National Assembly. I
championed this in a bid to create aless corrupt, more transparent,
accountable and responsible NNPC and Oil and Gas Industry as a whole. It
was also to create additional funding inflows for the Nation. This was
in spite of the fact that there was major resistance from powerful
interest groups within and outside Nigeria.
I take personal
satisfaction even now, that the PIB template I presented to the country
is still the benchmark for the current and future development of the Oil
Sector in Nigeria. The Template is already being adapted for use in
other countries.

8. MY POSITION
It is saddening that after
eight years of serving my country, my experience as a public servant
has been fraught with continuos malicious castigation and character
assassination, all in the name of ‘personal vendettas’ or political
horse trading. It has become apparent to many that these untruths told
were at best well-crafted fables. The most dramatic and damning
accusation was the infamous missing $49.8 Billion Dollars, that went
from to $12 Billion and then up to $20 Billion and which was alleged
missing from NNPC. Today, we all know that the PWC report that was
published cleared me of any wrong doing and no one up till now has been
able to controvert the PWC report nor has anyone found the “missing” 20
billion, or who took it. In addition, the Makarfi-led committee in the
Senate of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a series of publicly-held
hearings, also vindicated me on the matter of the purportedly missing
funds. Yet, we are all silent as if these events never occurred!

The allegations that I have addressed above are no different, the
character assassination continues, this time with a new set of
hirelings.

One of the basic tenets of the human trait is that we
all have shortcomings and we all make our fair share of mistakes,
whether we are in positions of Leadership, or not. However, one error
that cannot be ascribed to me is STEALING FROM NIGERIA & DEFRAUDING
MY COUNTRY! It is therefore sad and distressing that in spite of all
that I tried to do in the best interest of our Nation, I continue to be
faced with constant demonisation, unproven accusations and deeply
personal insults.
In response I have chosen not to insult, accuse
or demonise anyone, any person or persons. In spite of all the
allegations that have been made against me, not one has been factually
proven.

I remain very proud of the fact that all the policies,
tenets and plans that I initiated in the Oil & Gas sector are still
underpinning the entire structure. This is because they were put in
place with the good of the entire nation and its people in mind. They
were not factional, or tribal, neither were they based on religious
bias.

I am a woman from the Niger Delta, who through perseverance
and sheer hard work rose to one of the highest positions in the
Country’s premier International Oil Company, and in tune with my ethos
of hard work I earned the prestigious British Foreign & Commonwealth
Chevening Scholarship Award and was thereafter admitted to my MBA
program at the World renowned Cambridge University. In 2006, I was
appointed as the first female executive director in the history of Shell
Petroleum, Nigeria. Just over a year later, I was nominated and
appointed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, culminating
in my appointment as Nigeria’s first female Minister of Petroleum, where
again by dint of hard work I was appointed as the first female in
history(in a completely male dominated space) to hold the Presidency of
OPEC.

I can therefore, NO LONGER SIT BACK and allow the
fabricated accusations against my person designed by unscrupulous
persons with a vengeful agenda go unchallenged.

As a Christian,
it is my sincerely held belief that in the coming months, history will
be the judge of exactly who Lied and who told the Truth. By the Grace of
God, I shall be here to see the day when truth prevails.

The
fight against corruption in Nigeria will be far better served if the
EFCC focus on incontrovertible facts, as opposed to media sensationalism
and completely distorted stories, in their bid to demonise and destroy a
few specially chosen Nigerians.

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