Alison-Madueke, who was widely regarded as one of the most powerful ministers of the Goodluck Jonathan-administration, has persistently tried to shrug off suspicions that she was corrupt and largely responsible for the precarious financial situation the country has found itself in today.
Speaking in an interview, the former minister, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer in a private UK hospital, described as very “painful”, allegations by the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Lamido Sanusi that she stole $20 billion oil money.
“If there is one issue I must pursue in this world it is the biggest lie of this money. How can $20billion disappear just like that? Where did it disappear to? Is it possible that such an amount would not be traceable? This is more painful coming from someone I considered a good friend who should appreciate the gravity of such allegation. I challenge anyone to come forward with facts showing that I stole government or public money. I’ve never stolen Nigeria’s money”, Alison-Madueke maintained.
The former minister said she worked hard to halt the rampant business of round-tripping; one of the fraudulent practices that characterized the oil sector.
“When I brought in Reginald Stanley to clean up the place, I requested for a list of the defaulters. There were about 92 of them and I made sure we sanctioned them. You can imagine the threat to my life but I was ready to defend the economic interests of my country. In fact, we were able to reduce the oil subsidy by about half. No one has applauded our effort”, she said.
Tracing her perceived falling-out with the former CBN Governor, now Emir of Kano, the ex-minister said “There were those who said the then Governor of Central Bank must have been angry at me because of the way the Presidency treated him. In all honesty, he was being blocked from seeing the president by some of oga’s people (presidential aides) but it had nothing to do with me. I was the one who even told oga about the development and oga said he would meet him in London on one of his trips. Unfortunately my boss fell ill and was rushed to King Edward Hospital and the meeting was aborted”.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke said she had been friends with the former CBN boss and there was no way she could have worked against his interests.
“Sanusi and I had been friends. There was no way I would have done anything bad to him. He even came to my house to inform me about his interest in heading the African Development Bank and we discussed for about two hours. I promised to support him and I spoke to Oga about it. We were together on the Reconciliation Committee that looked into the accounts of NNPC. Yes there were gaps but not on the alarming scale being circulated. Makarfi (former Governor of Kaduna State) did a thorough job. You know he is a very sound accountant”, the ex-minister was quoted as saying.