Diezani Not Being Shielded In Dominica, Appointment Offer Suspended 5 Yrs Ago

Nigeria´s former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke (Photo credit: DIETER NAGL/AFP via Getty Images)

The much-talked about appointment of former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke as Trade and Investment Commissioner in the Dominica Republic has been suspended about five years ago, BIGPEN has learnt.

Finding shows that all privileges attached to the honorary appointment given to Diezani prior to the corruption charges hanging on her neck in Nigeria, has since been suspended.

Diezani became a fugitive of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission ( EFCC), Nigeria’s anti-graft agency for alleged money laundering in 2015 shortly before the handover to President Muhammadu Buhari by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The privileges attached to the appointment were suspended since October, 2015. No new offer has been made to her since then”, a source privy to the appointment made by Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Commonwealth of Dominican Republic said.

The Commonwealth of Dominican Republic had arranged Mrs. Madueke to served in an honorary capacity to help shore up their economy, trade and investment going by her high-profile pedigree after she was introduced to the Prime Minister in London where she fled Nigeria for.

Though the appointment had no direct remuneration from Dominica, the country had agreed to facilitate her travels across Europe and Africa with the issuance of a diplomatic passport, done entirely in accordance with existing convention, protocol and practice.

However, following diplomatic row that she was being shielded from the law, the country’s Prime Minister had dismissed speculations that the former Petroleum Minister was being offered or encouraged by the Prime Minister or Government of Dominica to make The Commonwealth of Dominica her home.

Prime Minister Skerrit had wanted to leverage on Diezani’s pedigree as the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria and also immediate past President of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to help grow the economy, trade and investment of his country.

BIGPEN understands that the offer was done before any question of an investigation by the relevant authorities arose.

The privileges were, however, suspended following the unexpected development of her investigations for alleged corruption by the UK and Nigerian authorities.

“I should add that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs moved with dispatch to suspend all relations with Mrs. Madueke immediately following her arrest in October 2015, pending the outcome of the investigations”, a letter conveying the termination of the appointment reads.

A statement from the nation’s Prime Minister published since December 20, 2015, by Dominicavibes, (DA Vibes), a Caribbean news portal is reproduced below:

“The academic and professional credentials of Mrs. Madueke were impeccable. She had been a senior government minister since 2007, having served also as Minister of Transport and Minister of Mines and Steel Development. Additionally, she served as an Executive Official and Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company in Nigeria.

In my Budget Address to the people of Dominica two years ago, I outlined the intention and policy of my Government to recruit persons of experience, influence and integrity to serve and represent Dominica in various capacities abroad. As a small nation with very limited resources, we do not have the capacity to establish consular or other offices in many regions of the world. In this case, who better to speak for and on behalf of Dominica in parts of the African continent than a former President of OPEC and former Chairman of the West African Gas Pipeline Authority.

Also, it must be recalled here that Mrs. Madueke was educated in the United Kingdom and United States of America, having studied for her Bachelor’s degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and post-graduate studies at Cambridge University in the UK.

So, on the recommendation of a number of outstanding individuals of note, and after thorough due diligence studies were undertaken, the Government of Dominica agreed to the appointment of the former Nigerian Government Minister as Trade and Investment Commissioner for Dominica, with the specific remit of promoting and marketing the trade and investment opportunities of Dominica.

This was especially the case considering her obvious contacts following her stint as President of OPEC. The issue of her relocating to Dominica was never raised in any of our discussions, because at the time Mrs. Madueke was to my knowledge in good standing in Nigeria and United Kingdom, having only just demitted office in Nigeria and established living arrangements in the United Kingdom.

The arrangement of Mrs. Madueke serving in an honorary capacity, with no direct remuneration from Dominica and Dominica facilitating her travels across Europe and Africa with the issuance of a diplomatic passport, was entirely in accordance with existing convention, protocol and practice, until the very recent and unexpected development of the investigations by UK and Nigerian authorities.

This development was not foreseen nor anticipated by the due diligence undertaken on behalf of the Government, and could not have been and was not foreseen by me or the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica. I should add that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs moved with dispatch to suspend all relations with Mrs. Madueke immediately following her arrest in October 2015, pending the outcome of the investigations. This suspension took place in the month of October.

Our position is that the relationship with Mrs. Madueke and all that flows from this will remain completely suspended until such time as the probe into her conduct as a Minister of Government is concluded and a determination made by the relevant authorities.”