Embattled former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke once allegedly warned her allies, Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore over their lavish lifestyle and had threatened to reveal all about their alleged fraudulent deals.
She dropped the comment in a recorded telephone conversation, obtained by the prosecutors probing the corruption allegations against her and her partners in crime.
The tape has now been filed as part of a civil complaint by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ), seeking the forfeiture of over $144 million slush funds traced to the former minister.
In the recorded conversation, an angry Deziani reminded Aluko how she helped him and Omokore get the multi-billion dollar Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) deals – expressing her anger over the mindless acquisition of luxury assets by both men.
She warned that such extravagant lifestyle would only invite law enforcement agencies to start digging the source of their sudden wealth.
Deziani said:“You and Jide (i.e., Omokre) had some of the most support that we could possibly give. At a time when we’re not doing anything else, we stuck our necks out regarding the SAA and we supported it. (inaudible) How the two of you have ruined it is incredulous and incredible to all of us,” she said.
“I spoke to you several times about your general behaviour, acquisition of assets, etc., asking you to be a bit more careful because (inaudible) will start following you. I remember we had this open discussion more than once. You kept telling me that there was no issue because you did it in a certain way, you did it in a certain … bb ,,m and I kept telling you that it doesn’t matter how you do it.
“Once you start acquiring, acquiring, acquiring at a certain level, then you’ll be—whether you like it or not, whether it was done in the most transparent … you understand? ….manner or not, because they will want to trace where it came from. This is an age of terrorism.
“If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You don’t go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch, as we have been for some time, and where Atlantic (i.e., AEDC and/or AEBD) itself has been the subject of all kinds of speculation,” she said.
In the tape, the ex-Minister was heard threatening that she was ready to reveal everything that transpired between them to Nigerians.
“I said tell him (i.e., Aluko) to bring everything out, and then you know what will happen? No problem, I will be happy to escort all of you to jail along with myself. I said, in fact, you’ll be shocked by what I will do. Because when it comes to that, I will come out and tell the Nigerian people this is what happened.
“Oh, yes, I will blame myself, but it (inaudible)place and everything. Anything they want to say, I am happy to go. But I will come out openly and say it so that they can judge me openly. And then all of us go and sit on the gate. Let us see who survived (inaudible), me or you,” Deziani said.
The US Justice Department had filed a complaint alleging that Nigerian businessmen, Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore, conspired with others to pay bribes to former Minister for Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke in order to induce her award lucrative oil contracts to companies owned by Aluko and Omokore.
According to the complainants, the proceeds of the unlawfully awarded contracts were then laundered in and through the United States and used to acquire various assets, which are now subject to seizure and forfeiture. They include a $50 million condominium located in one of Manhattan’s most expensive buildings – 157 W. 57th Street – and the Galactica Star, an $80 million yacht.