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Diezani Appears In UK Court Over Alleged Bribery, Gets £70K Bail

Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum resources Diezani Alison-Madueke, has appeared at the Westminster Magistrates Court in the UK over an alleged £100,000 bribe. 

Diezani, who served between 2010 and 2015, appeared at Westminster Magistrate Court, where she was asked only to give her name, date of birth and address.

She was not asked to formally enter a plea, although her lawyer Mark Bowen told the court she would be pleading not guilty.

Alison-Madueke was arrested in London in 2015, shortly after stepping down as minister, and was charged in August with six bribery offences.

She has spent the past eight years on police bail, living in St John’s Wood, a highbrow area of London.

The charges against her, as read out in court, are all related to events alleged to have taken place in London.

Prosecutor Andy Young said she was alleged to have accepted a wide range of advantages in cash and in-kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts which he said were worth billions of dollars in total.

The advantages included a delivery of 100,000 pounds ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside.

They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.

British District Judge Michael Snow granted Alison-Madueke bail but imposed terms including an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, an electronic tag to be worn at all times and a 70,000-pound surety to be paid before she could leave the court building.

Her next court appearance will be at Southwark Crown Court, which deals with serious criminal cases, on Oct. 30.

London remains a  global money-laundering hub, where public figures like Alison-Madueke, rarely face prosecution for corruption-related offences.

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