Contrary to widespread media reports, the mother of former Nigerian Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, Mrs Beatrice Agama, was not arrested in the U.K, Elombah.com can confirm.
Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (pictured) was arrested in the U.K. on suspicion of bribery and money laundering offenses, last Friday, 2nd October, the National Crime Agency’s recently formed International Corruption Unit also arrested four other people across London as part of an investigation into suspected bribery and money laundering offences.
However, none of the four individuals widely speculated to have been arrested with her namely; Beatrice Agama (Alison-Madueke’s mother); Ugonna Madueke; and a Swiss, Melanie Spencer, and another still unknown person were arrested, Elombah.com learnt.
Corroborating our findings, a freelance investigative journalist working with the BBC, Sam Piranty, who has been covering the Diezani case and had unveiled the identity of the others who were picked up on Friday tweeted a correction stating: “Re fast moving story on Oct 5. Melanie Spencer was not arrested. NCA seized cash only. I apologise to her for the inaccuracy”.
Also writing exclusively for Elombah.com, Lawyer to the family, Barrister Oscar M. Onwudiwe, stated that “the Madueke and Agama families would want the decent public to know that neither Ugonna nor Somze or Abiye or anyone related to the two families was picked up or arrested or invited for questioning by anybody whatsoever. Ugonna’s father (the Rear Admiral) has been in Lagos and working in his office.”
Onwudiwe also denied that Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested by the UK Crime Agency stating the allegation was a campaign of calumny against the Madueke’s and their inlaws.
She “was never arrested or detained and her passport was never seized”, He said. “She was merely invited, and she honoured it promptly.”
However Investigations by Elombah.com revealed that while the aforementioned persons were not among the 4 persons arrested by the NCA with Mrs Madueke last Friday, following an application by the National Crime Agency at Westminster Magistrates Court to seize their assets, the application was granted by court and £27,000 in sterling, dollars and Nigerian naira was seized from Alison Madueke, £5,000 and $2000 USD was seized by the NCA from Beatrice Agama, while £10,000 was seized from Ghanaian Melanie Spencer, wife of Kevin Okyere, by the NCA.
While the identity of those actually arrested with Mrs Madueke remains a secret, our investigations reveal those arrested were officials of the Nigeria State Oil Company, NNPC, who had been working for Mrs Madueke while she was the Petroleum Minister. They were also being investigated by the UK authorities.
The NCA did not name those arrested but said all five had been released on conditional police bail, pending further investigations in Britain and overseas. It said the investigation had started in 2013.
Meanwhile the statement the Barrister Onwudiwe signed for and on behalf of the Madueke and Agama families, further revealed that “Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has been receiving treatment for cancer in the UK which started while she was in office. The health crisis has unfortunately exacerbated in recent times. She completed months of chemotherapy just last week and she is scheduled to undergo surgery next week in London.”
“The family has been bearing this challenge with prayers and as much grace and fortitude as possible; and would plead with all reasonable Nigerians to pray for her recovery so that she can face this allegation and give account of her stewardship. Yes, she can—and very well, too”, he added.
Going further, Mr Onwudiwe denied that Mrs Beatrice Agama, the 81 year old mother of Mrs. Diezani Madueke, owns a house in the United Kingdom.
“A LIE! Mrs. Agama has no house or property in the United Kingdom. She has been staying in a rented two-bedroom flat from where she is receiving medical attention for a broken femur. Her son, Timi Agama who has been living in the UK for decades, used to have a house in the UK long before his sister was appointed to government and he sold it long ago. Since then, he has no house in the UK.”
“Archbishop Doye Agama of the Apostolic Pastoral Congress in Manchester, who is in his 60s, is a successful professional and consultant well known amongst his peers, but he does not own Unit 8 Quebec Building in Manchester which the online newspaper ascribed to him.”
“As though to outdo the sensational allegations in the online publication, [Not elombah.com] the mainstream media in Nigeria has been alleging that Mrs. Diezani attempted to purchase a property on Hyde Park Street in London for a whooping amount which embarrassingly ranges from 12.5 million sterling pounds to 13 billion sterling pounds. This claim is utterly false and laughable, for the amounts mentioned are only in the imagination of the reporters. This property is quite popular. It belongs to a well-known eminently successful Nigerian entrepreneur who would also find this allegation embarrassing as the intention to sell the property has neither been contemplated nor disclosed to any person.”, he wrote.
With regards to the 13 billion dollar property allegation, Elombah.com have contacted the sole source of the report, TheSun UK to verify his source. We are still waiting for their response.
Recall that writing under the banner, ‘£13bn is hard to Hyde, a Sun Columnist KELVIN MACKENZIE, had wriiten:
“MS DIEZANI Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former oil minister, has just been nicked in London over allegations that £13billion (yes, £13billion) has gone walkabout from her country’s coffers. Apparently she was looking at buying a massively expensive apartment at One Hyde Park. With £13bn I’m surprised she didn’t buy the whole of Hyde Park. One thing’s for sure, she can’t be the woman from Nigeria who keeps sending me those emails seeking an advancement on her cousin’s will.”
Mr Mackenzie however failed to disclose the source of his information on the missing £13 billion!
In response the family of Diezani stated: “It is worthy to note that despite all the frenzy over Mrs. Diezani Madueke, not even one reporter or journalist has tried to contact the family to verify any of the rumors they have published with reckless abandon. This may be because they know the stories are false but it feeds the mood of the moment. Hence, the silence from Diezani all along. It is worth emphasising that Mrs Alison-Madueke was never arrested or detained and her passport was never seized. She was merely invited, and she honoured it promptly.
“The lies about his having travelled with a team of lawyers should please stop. The Madueke family has taken a decision on how to appropriately deal with those who are on a mission to soil their hard earned family name”, The lawyer concluded.
Elombah.com had reported that the sum of £27,000 was ordered seized on Monday in the case National Crime Agency vs Alison-Madueke and will be detained until April 2016.
The cash was seized under Section 295 of proceeds of crime act until 5th April 2016 following an application made Monday, 5th October 2015, at Westminster Magistrates Court by the National Crime Agency, NCA.
Upon Elombah.com inquiries for update regarding the appearance of Mrs Deziani Allison-Madueke in court that Monday on charges of money laundering, Westminster magistrates court responded that “There was no charge of money laundering, there was an application to detain cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act, by the National Crime Agency which was granted.”
There has been expectation that Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke was at Westminster magistrates court at 10.am Monday morning with Mrs Beatrice Agama, (Mrs Madueke’s mother)
An email from the court earlier stated Alison-Madueke will be in Court 10 at 10.00am. However, it later emerged that NCA applied for an order that cash seized be detained. Experts say NCA have to apply on a cash seizure case within 48 hours so they must have found it recently.
This also means Diezani does not have to appear in court, she is however entitled to appear if she so wishes. It will then explain why contrary to emails from the court, Mrs Diezani may not have had to attend.