A civil forfeiture action, filed in US District Court in the State of Texas, seeks to seize more than $144m in assets, linked to the corrupt former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who has money laundering charges pending in both the UK (FCA) and Nigeria (EFCC), confirms that Dominica's "due diligence investigation," allegedly undertaken before selling Madueke a Dominica Diplomatic passport, in 2015, was either an utter failure, or a complete fabrication.
Madueke, whose UK residence contained millions of dollars in cash, when she was arrested, reportedly accumulated, with two confederates, $1.5bn in Nigerian oil revenues. It is important to note that the US forfeiture lawsuit*, filed by the Government of the United States, asserts that the illegally-acquired assets, which amounted to laundering illicit profits into an $80m yacht, and a $50m New York City condominium, and California real estate**, all took place between 2010 and 2015. This is a period prior to the alleged due diligence investigation, supposedly conducted upon Madueke, culminating the award to her of passport DP0000445, on May 21, 2015.
Furthermore, the vetting of Madueke was completed in only six days, an extremely short period, during which an investigation would have been required to be conducted, and finished, in Nigeria, and in other jurisdictions. This is an impossible task for any compliance officer, or team of investigators, which has been claimed by Dominica. And who was doing it anyway, as the diplomatic scheme is NOT part of the CBI program.
Finally, the suspicious role of Baroness Patricia Scotland, who reportedly acted as the intermediary, introducing Madueke to Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who hand-delivered the passport to Madueke in the UK, adds even more fuel to the fire. Scotland, whose controversial election to the Commonwealth Secretariat, alleged lavish spending habits since taking office, and experts have doubted that there was even questionable legal standing to qualify her for the position, raise even more questions about the legitimacy surrounding Madueke's acquisition of the passport. Scotland, whose attorneys have aggressively targeted media reports about her activities, to keep them from the public, knew or should have known about Madueke's situation, but still recommended her to Dominica.
Madueke attempted to evade justice, by asserting her "diplomatic status," when arrested in London, but to no avail. Was that the true reason she purchased one ? Remember, Alireza Monfared, the Iranian oil sanctions evader, used HIS Dominica diplomatic passport to escape arrest in Malaysia.
If there were any illusions about the legitimacy of the diplomatic passport program of Dominica, the US Government lawsuit certainly has shattered them. A rogues' gallery of criminals acquired their diplomatic status, bought and paid for with dirty money, which the current Dominica government was more than happy to accept, no questions asked.
*United States vs. M/Y Galactica Star etc., Case No.: 17-cv-02166 (SD TX).
** 1049 5th Avenue, units 11B & 11C, New York, NY; 807 & 815 Cima del Mundo Road, Montecito, California,
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant