Former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, yesterday, slammed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleging that she stole $153 million from the till of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The EFCC had recently obtained temporary order forfeiting the $153 million allegedly stashed away by the former minister in various accounts, to the federal government. But the former minister, in a rebuttal made available to newsmen, last night, denied the ownership of the said money and challenged the EFCC to publish the details of the accounts, their owners and in which NNPC’s accounts the money was taken and when.
She said she was saddened by what she called “media trial” by the EFCC and wondered what the commission was out to achieve by making “false and unsubstantiated claims” against her. She also denied owning a multi-billion Naira estate in Yenagoa, benefiting from the $1.3 billion Malabu Oil scandal. EFCC declined to respond to the allegations made by Mrs. Madueke, saying it would be contemptible to comment on a matter already being heard by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“We hope to meet her in court if she is ready and can therefore not join issues with her at this point”, a top official of the commission told Sunday Vanguard. “If the former minister has no case to answer, she should come forward and meet us in court instead of raising false alarm to whip up sentiment and run away from the issues.” '
The former minister started: “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.