Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has stayed away from Nigeria since President Buhari was sworn-in. She was first appointed into the federal cabinet in 2007. A former director at Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, she was appointed Minister of Transport by late President Umaru Yar’adua. In December 2008, she was redeployed to the Mines and Steel Development ministry.
After former Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became acting president, Alison-Madueke was appointed Nigeria’s first female petroleum minister in February 2010, a position she held till May 29, 2015 when Mr. Jonathan left office. Alison-Madueke’s tenure as petroleum minister turned out one of Nigeria’s most controversial, amid unending allegations of corruption.
Under her watch, dubious oil marketers stole trillions of naira of oil subsidy money. She retained her position after the House of Representatives investigated the scandal and indicted the minister. Probes by independent audit firms, including the KPMG and Pricewaterahouse Coopers, confirmed billions of dollars of oil money were missing, the most notable being $20 billion in 2014.
Other corruption allegations
Long before her stint in the oil and gas sector, Alison-Madueke was investigated by the Nigerian Senate on allegation she paid N30.9 billion to contractors while she held office as transport minister. In 2009, the Senate also indicted Mrs. Alison-Madueke and recommended her for prosecution for allegedly transferring N1.2 billion into a private account of a toll company without due process. The former minister consistently denied any wrongdoing.
In June, after leaving office, she rejected all allegations of embezzlement, saying she never stole from Nigeria. In March 2014, the House of Representatives mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to investigate the alleged squandering of N10 billion over a two-year period on the arbitrary charter and maintenance of a Challenger 850 aircraft for unofficial use by Alison-Madueke.
Such act was said to contravene the “Fiscal Responsibility Act and all other laws on fiscal discipline” Acting on what it termed reliable evidence, the House said it learnt that Alison-Madueke had allegedly sunk at least N3.120 billion into the maintenance of a private jet dedicated to the service of herself and her family.
A breakdown of the money, showed that the sum of 500,000 Euros (N130 million) was spent every month on the maintenance of the airplane, which amounted to N3.120 billion for the two years in question. (Vanguard)