Nigeria’s former oil minister, Diezani Madueke, has been named in an Al Jazeera documentary, “Diplomats” for sale”, as having obtained a Dominican Republic diplomatic passport to avoid prosecution for corruption.
Madueke, currently in London, is facing several charges of corruption and money laundering both back in Nigeria and in the UK.
The programme reveals that a few days before she left office as oil minister in 2015, she was personally handed a diplomatic passport by the prime minister of the Dominican Republic, Roosevelt Skerrit and made a “trade commissioner”. Not long afterwards, a $2.2m apartment in New York was bought by a shell company. The owners of the company are unknown but the prime minister’s wife, Melissa, has been resident in that apartment.
The programme claims: “The trade in Caribbean diplomatic passports has become a magnet for wealthy foreigners, corrupt businessmen and criminals from around the world.” Adding: “The investigation reveals details of how an oil smuggler, turned ambassador, turned international fugitive bought his way into the diplomatic class. Investigators go undercover to reveal the inner-workings of a secret system: to find out how much it costs and what it takes to purchase what’s become the ultimate luxury item; a diplomatic passport.”
Watch the programme below.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency would like Madueke to be extradited from the UK to face trial in Nigeria. However, she remains on bail in the UK, having been arrested in October 2015 on fraud and money laundering charges. It is unclear whether her Dominican Republic diplomatic passport has played any role in the lack of further action against her.