'I didn't steal from Nigeria' - former Petroleum Minister says

The former minister also addressed the allegation that she rented N10 million jet for personal purposes during her tenure as a minister.

 

The former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has dispelled all the allegations of embezzlement levied against her, stating she at no point in the course of duty as a Minister stole from Nigeria.

In a recent interview with ThisDay, Allison-Madueke, acknowledged that mistakes were made, but was quick to add that she had nothing to do with the missing $20 billion or $18.5 billion in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) coffers.

She said, "did we make mistakes? There would always be mistakes. People would always make mistakes. Everybody make mistakes and there is no question about that. Have we learnt from our mistakes? Of course we have.

“But please do not say I stole $20 billion or $18.5 billion because I did not at any point in time. And if NNPC misappropriated funds or so, they have the entire explanation and more forensic audit should be done to determine how and why. But people should not make damaging accusations which have nothing to do with an individual.

“At no point did I steal from the Nigerian state. And if NNPC misappropriated funds or so, they have the entire explanation and more forensic audit should be done to determine how and why. But people should not make damaging accusations which have nothing to do with an individual. At no point did I steal from the Nigerian state.

“In fact, the first mantra I had from the time I came in was that I will never touch anything that has to do with the Federation Account and I never did and I will take that to my grave. So I will suggest that this issue of $20 billion or $18 billion be dropped because that is the major problem I had with my job. I was accused of unsavoury things, but which were actually accusations against NNPC and the audit was deployed to clarify all these things.

“So let us deal with the issues. I have never gone around accusing people of doing this or that, I have always stuck with the issues even when I was the most abused minister, I was professional, I stuck to the issues and responded only to the issues.”

The former minister, who is reportedly  to be undergoing treatment for breast cancer in London, also addressed the allegation that she rented N10 million jet for personal purposes during her tenure as a minister.

She said that she never used the jet for personal use, but rather official activities.

"No it was not for my personal use, it was for executive movement, which is has always been the case. I am saying just like the $20 billion, you find something, you throw it on the person to feel smart or to make it look as if the person is junketing all over the place or as if nobody had done that before in the annals of the NNPC.

"Of course we were not junketing all over the place. To be very honest, if they had never done that contract to lease the jet, we would have been hiring at a higher cost and which probably would have caused less of an issue. But to be frank, the lease that was put in place, to the best of my knowledge, was done with a company which even Shell and others have been using. So there was a known company with a very good track record and was being used in the industry by other multinationals,” Madueke added.

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