Journalist Till Bruckner, writing in the Huffington Post, interviewed two officials from the Caribbean nation the Commonwealth of Dominica government on the citizenship status of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The Commonwealth of Dominica, like many small nations, allows for people who invest in the Dominican economy to receive citizenship under the law. This practice, which has been growing in popularity worldwide, is a major source of foreign direct investment into the Dominica according to the reporting by Mr. Bruckner.
Vince Henderson, Dominica's permanent representative to the United Nations, and Emmanuel Nanthan, the head of the country's Citizenship by Investment Unit, were interviewed on questions surrounding Dominica’s Citizenship Programme and its efforts to increase foreign direct investment.
The issuance of diplomatic passports to non-citizens is a crucial aspect of the program as it encourages various foreign business leaders to serve as “ambassadors” for the Dominica, according to the Dominican officials.
Mr. Bruckner questioned the ethics and practice of granting these passports, citing Mrs. Alison-Madueke as an example of a passport holder who clearly is corrupt.
Both Mr. Nanthan and Mr. Henderson argued that the Dominica government followed its due diligence before issuing Mrs. Alison-Madueke her passport.
However, the embattled former minister was given her passport only 6 days after meeting with the Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in London, leading to questions about how thorough or serious her citizenship process was.
The Dominica officials argued that Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s passport approval process was begun long before she met Prime Minister Skerrit.
When questioned on the secrecy behind the former minister’s appointment as the Trade and Investment Commissioner for Dominica, Mr. Nanthan and Mr. Henderson admitted that the Dominican government should have been more forthright regarding the appointment.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke has been in the UK receiving treatment for cancer since former President Goodluck Jonathan left office in May 2015. In October, she was arrested by agents of the National Crime Agency in the UK accused of money laundering and other financial crimes.
It has also been alleged that Mrs. Alison-Madueke was planning to flee the United Kingdom using her diplomatic Dominica passport but that plot was spoiled when the UK authorities arrested her and suspected accomplices.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke worked for Shell Petroleum prior to her appointment to the cabinet of former President Umaru Yar’Adua. Upon Mr. Yar’Adua’s death in 2010, President Jonathan appointed Mrs. Alison-Madueke to the Petroleum Ministry. She was widely regarded as one of the most powerful members of Mr. Jonathan’s cabinet.
Her tenure was marked by numerous questionable deals, including controversies over billions of dollars of oil revenues that were reportedly not deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Nigerian anti-corruption police investigators told SaharaReporters that serious investigations and collaboration with the UK, and the US would continue to determine the scale of corruption perpetrated by Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her collaborators. Earlier today her husband was arrested by agents of the anti-corruption unit accused of laundering over $600,000 for his wife.