Family of embattled former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke yesterday opened up on the money laundering allegations against her in London. They described media reports on the matter as a “smear campaign.”
In a related development, the family, according to Daily Sun reports, confirmed that the former minister is down with cancer, urging Nigerians to pray for her recovery.
A statement by the family reads “there is a deliberate and vicious campaign to demonise members of the Madueke family with all manner of frivolous allegations.”
It dismissed reports alleging that the former minister’s son, Mr. Ugonna Madueke owned choice properties in the United States.
“Mr. Ugonna Madueke,” the family insisted, “has no property anywhere in the United States and has never owned one. The Madueke family avers without any fear of contradiction that 11711 Scooter Lane (a three bedroom town house) in Fairfax, Virginia, was acquired by the Madueke family in 1997 when Ugonna was only 10 years old.
Ugonna’s siblings lived in this property while attending George Mason University in Virginia, USA. Records available to the appropriate authorities in the United States can also show that 13116 Silver Maple Court in Bowie, Maryland, USA belongs to an uncle of the Madueke siblings and was purchased in 1995 when Ugonna was only eight years old.
“As a student of the University of Maryland in 2002, Ugonna stayed with his uncle at the said address. All of this was before Mrs. Diezani was appointed to government office.
No Madueke or a distant relation has anything to do with the ownership of No. 4227 Summit Manor Court in Virginia.”
The Maduekes also denied claims that the former petroleum minister’s 81-year-old mother, Mrs. Beatrice Agama, owned a house in the United Kingdom.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, the family said, did not attempt to buy a property on Hyde Park Street in London for between 12.5billion to 13 billion. The allegation, it said, “is utterly false and laughable.”
The family regretted that reporters did not contact them before publishing the allegations, saying Mrs. Alison-Madueke was neither arrested nor detained.
The statement said: “Despite all the frenzy over Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, not even one reporter or journalist has tried to contact the family to verify any of the rumours they have published with reckless abandon. This may be because they know the stories are false but they feed the mood of the moment. Hence, the silence from Diezani all along.
“It is worth emphasising that Mrs. Alison-Madueke was never arrested or detained and her passport was never seized. She was merely invited and she honoured it promptly
The Madueke and Agama families would want the decent public to know that neither Ugonna nor Somze or Abiye or anyone related to the two families was picked up or arrested or invited for questioning by anybody whatsoever.”
The family debunked reports claiming that the former minister’s husband, Rear Admiral Madueke took a team of lawyers to London to defend his wife, saying: “Ugonna’s father (the Rear Admiral) has been in Lagos and working in his office. The lies about his having travelled with a team of lawyers should stop.”
Confirming the health status of the former minister, the statement added: “Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has been receiving treatment for cancer in the UK, which started while she was in office.
The health crisis has unfortunately exacerbated in recent times. She completed months of chemotherapy just last week and is scheduled to undergo surgery next week in London. The family pleads with all reasonable Nigerians to pray for her recovery so that she can face this allegation and give account of her stewardship.”
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