The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has conducted a massive crackdown on five prominent Nigerians who are suspected of being involved in the money laundering allegations against Diezani Alison-Madueke leading to the confiscation of bullet-proof vehicles, a huge amount of cash and jewellery.
The Nation reports that the EFCC is collaborating with their British counterpart, the National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate the suspects who are believed to have connived with the former petroleum minister to commit financial crimes.
Diezani was arrested in the UK on Friday, October 2 on charges of corruption and money laundering, although she was later released on bail.
It was reported that the high profile suspects have been restricted to Nigeria while investigations are continuing and they may be extradited to the UK if the former minister eventually faces trial.
The EFCC is still conducting surveillance in Lagos and Abuja and searching homes and offices of suspects who might be connected to the charges.
A source said: “It is too early to declare whether they are guilty or not. But in line with international best practices, the EFCC has invoked the assets forfeiture clause in its Act to seize some choice bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from these suspects.
‘’The movement of the affected suspects has also been restricted to Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation.
‘’The case at hand involves a high-net worth syndicate with tentacles across the strata of the society. But we are already cracking the investigation.’’
The source added that the suspects might not be tried in Nigeria as it would not be necessary to duplicate the same process the UK is carrying out.
‘’It is uncertain or remote because the NCA has initiated a process in the UK, we will not want to duplicate the process.
‘’ If necessary, some of the suspects might be extradited to the UK for trial. This depends on NCA because EFCC is only collaborating with the agency.’’
Another source said: ‘’some officials of the NCA are in the country for collaboration with the EFCC on this investigation of the allegations against the ex-minister.
‘’The EFCC has more knowledge of the terrain than the NCA in tracking down some of these suspects.’’
An associate of Diezani, Kola Aluko is suspected to be involved in the money laundering scandal that the former minister is facing and is on the radar of security operatives.