Jan. 27, 2014
Saharareporters, New York
CSNAC, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, has called on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to immediately remove Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison Madueke as alternate president of the organization, citing a wide swathe of undischarged corruption allegations against her.
“Allowing Mrs. Madueke to function in such position will only broaden her circle of perpetual corruption and lack of transparency,” the group said in a letter to the Secretary General of OPEC dated December 20, 2013.
Her appointment for one year, starting this month, followed the election of Libya’s Abdel Bari Ali Al-Arousi as President of the Conference of OPEC for the same duration.
“In the alternative [to removing her], OPEC should suspend her from office, pending the outcome of an high level international investigation, to be commissioned by the OPEC, to verify allegations contained in this petition,” the petition said.
The group drew attention to the mixed reaction to Alison-Madueke’s election among Nigerians, noting that opportunities for Nigerians to showcase their talent and prowess in international fora are normally greeted with enthusiasm, and that the performance of Nigerians at various levels testifies to their inherent but untapped capacity to deliver with competitive excellence.
“In this particular case of Mrs. Madueke, based on her performance and reputation in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, it is feared that her occupation of higher position of influence might not only be detrimental to Nigeria’s image but injurious to overall OPEC operations and reputation,” it said.
CSNAC recalled that since Alison-Madueke’s appointment as a minister in 2007, she has been embroiled in several controversies bordering on integrity, transparency and accountability, including the revelation that she deceived her employers by backdating her year of graduation from Howard University from 1992 to 1987, and also misled the Senate and the nation during her ministerial appointment with the same forgery.
“It was a fraudulent representation, a criminal offence punishable by law. An NNPC official said at the time of her appointment that, ‘What she has done is perjury. It is criminal and punishable by law and such a person is not fit to hold public office.’ Mrs. Madueke has successfully used her closeness to the President and corridors of power to evade prosecution based on this crime.”
The group expressed regret that as much as it is glad that a Nigerian Minister got elected to such an esteemed position in OPEC, it is not comfortable with Alison Madueke as such an occupant.
It cited some of the unresolved allegations trailing her discharge of duties since 2007 to include:
- A 247ureport.com that as a Minister of Transportation, Alison-Madueke paid N30.9billion to contractors to rehabilitate the deplorable Benin-Shagamu expressway between 26 and 31 December of 2007, a road which remains in a deplorable state;
- A SaharaReporters report of August 31, 2012 that the Senate, in October 2009, probed the questionable spending of N300 billion in the transport sector; and Alison-Madueke was the only serving minister among five former ministers of state and four permanent secretaries indicted and recommended for prosecution. Vanguard newspapers reported she allegedly transferred N1.2 billion into the private account of a toll company without due process and in breach of concession agreement;
- As the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, PremiumTimesng reported that through investigations carried out by the defunct NEXT newspaper, her under-arm dealings with a US-based jeweller, Chris Aire–who out of the blues subverted due process to register and gain approval for his two briefcase companies to lift Nigeria’s sweet crude—was unveiled;
- The 2010 KPMG report on the “process and forensic review” of NNPC which opened a Pandora’s Box of unauthorized violation of OPEC oil quota for Nigeria, to outright falsification of the exchange rates used for defraying government oil revenue, to barefaced exploitation of the subsidy regime. “The question posed to her which remained unanswered is the allegation that she ordered the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to shake down marketers shortly before the 2011 general election, to purportedly raise funds for the president’s campaign”;
- A Vanguard newspaper report of August 02, 2012 that an alleged contract scam to the tune of N1.1 billion involving the supply of a Dive Support Sea-Going Vessel was uncovered at the Federal Government owned Petroleum Training Institute in Delta State under Ms. Madueke. “Vanguard gathered that the Federal Government awarded a contract of N1,117,330,873. 31 inclusive of VAT to a Lagos-based company in 2009 to supply the vessel in six months, but three and a half years after the contract was supposed to have been executed, none has been supplied, whereas the entire contract sum of N1.1 billion had been fully paid to the contractor.”
- A SaharaReporters report of August 19, 2013 concerning a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by a Crusader for Good Governance, demanding the investigation of Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke for squandering millions of dollars of public funds to rent extravagant private jets for her official activities, petitioner Okechukwu Obiora Nnamdi detailing that she had spent some N2 billion on private jet rentals.
“The aforementioned are tips of the iceberg in the minister’s breach of trust and violation of operational principles which have been brought to limelight,” CSNAC said, stressing they do not include those which have been deeply buried with all evidence concealed or destroyed.
“Therefore, with her abysmal performance in different offices at the national level, Ms. Diezani Alison Madueke is unfit and undeserving of that international position and should not be allowed to pollute the integrity [of] OPEC in her position as the alternate president of OPEC.”