Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Nigeria’s President Enlists the West to Help Recover Stolen Money

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 13.02.24

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 13.03.19

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 15.59.11Benoît Faucon in London: Oct. 12, 2015 

U.S., U.K. act quickly at behest of Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May on a pledge to stamp out corruption; ex-oil minister detained in London

London police this month briefly detained Nigeria’s former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. 

Following a summer meeting in Washington between British and American investigators, London police on Oct. 2 raided a luxurious home near Regent’s Park. There they briefly detained Dieziani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s oil minister from 2010 to 2015.

Hours later, her neighbors in Nigeria watched as scores of cops searched her house: 

One of Africa’s most prominent politicians, Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her associates are suspected of bribery, corruption and laundering money through British and U.S. banks. She has previously denied those allegations and police haven’t charged her with anything.

For Nigeria’s government, the detention announces Mr. Buhari’s intent to root out endemic corruption, a promise at the core of his campaign. Eventually, the crackdown could help recover much-needed funds for an exchequer hit hard by collapsing oil prices.

“Most of the money taken out of Nigeria is taken to the West,” said Femi Adesina, a spokesman for Mr. Buhari. “So Nigeria will need collaboration with the West.”

American officials have also considered a visa ban or financial sanctions against Mrs. Alison-Madueke and a dozen of her associates, oil officials and politicians, U.S. officials said. Washington is scrutinizing whether her associates laundered money in the U.S., the U.K. and other countries, the officials said.

Both the State Department and the U.K.’s National Crime Agency declined to comment on their investigations: “We continue to work with Nigeria to fight corruption,” a State Department official said.

For now, a civil court in West London has frozen £27,000 ($41,400) confiscated by the police from Mrs. Alison-Madueke, said a clerk at the court. Police also seized £5,000 and $2,000 from her mother, court clerks added. The small amount is the first publicly recorded evidence that legal action has been taken against the former minister and her family.

Mr. Buhari has also been in London lately: He met with Prime Minister David Cameron at his Downing Street office in May.

On the flight there, he sat in British Airways ICAGY 1.26 % ’ first class—just a few rows in front of Mrs. Alison-Madueke—said two people familiar with the matter. The incoming president refused to speak to her, they said, for the entire six-hour flight.

—Gbenga Akingbule in Abuja, Nigeria, contributed to this article.

Write to Drew Hinshaw at [email protected] and Benoît Faucon at [email protected]


This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.