US Prosecutors Are Going After The Luxury Assets Of Nigeria’s Ex-Oil Minister And Her Associates.

Aluko and Omokore are alleged to have paid bribes between 2011 and 2015 to then-petroleum minister Alison-Madueke who ensured that shell companies owned by the businessmen received billion-dollar contracts to sell Nigeria’s crude oil. The oil swap contracts were a controversial barter arrangement which saw Nigeria use middlemen to sell crude oil in exchange for refined products. With local refineries under-performing, oil swap deals were used to shore up local demand for petroleum products. Between 2010 and 2014, under Diezani’s watch, Nigeria is estimated to have channeled over 352 million barrels of oilworth a total of $35 billion (pdf) into oil swap deals.

But with the contracts mostly opaque, Nigeria reportedly lost more than $900 million in crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012. The deals came under severe scrutiny with Lamido Sanusi, former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, once describing them “not properly structured, monitored and audited.” Nigeria’s president Buhari cancelled the oil swap arrangement in November 2015, seven months after taking office.

Court documents reveal that Alison-Madueke tried to warn Aluko and Omokore against lavish spending including splashing out on a yacht. “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,” she said to Aluko in a recorded conversation.

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