By Kolade Gbolagade
The last might not have been heard of the trial of former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke with the revelation that one Mr. Kola Aluko who is reported to have laundered money for the former minister and the former President Goodluck Jonathan according to Nigerian online news plaftform, Sahara Reporters.
It will be recalled that last Friday the United Kingdom National Crimes Agency (NCA) arrested Mrs. Alison-Madueke in London while the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) searched her homes in Nigeria, Mr. Aluko was reportedly holed up in his Swiss mansion located at Catonale 17, 6948 Porza in Tocina, according to a source familiar with his whereabouts.
According to Sahara Reporters, Mr. Aluko is famous as one of the hitherto obscure individuals dusted up by the former Petroleum Minister to be fronts for her shady billion dollar schemes in the oil sector.
Mr. Aluko’s Swiss estate, known as Villa Rezzonico, is described by one Italian language newspaper as having “an area of 1,400 square meters, dozens of rooms, and is surrounded by a park of 4,700 square meters with a swimming pool, fitness area and several oases for relaxation.” The paper described the villa as “one of the most beautiful architectural relics of the early twentieth century or twentieth century in Switzerland.” The newspaper identified Mr. Aluko as the new owner of the mansion, adding that he carried out significant renovations and equipped the property with a sophisticated security system.
Mr. Aluko’s sudden wealth, according to Sahara Reporters, came from his ownership of Atlantic Energy, a shady firm that received generous oil export contracts from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) six months before it was legally established as a company. Mrs. Alison-Madueke also recommended the award of at least five oil blocks to Atlantic Energy.
It will be recalled that yesterday, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari hinted that the Swiss and the UK government were collaborating with Nigeria to retrieve some of its stolen wealth and bring perpetrators of financial crimes to justice. A Reuters news report confirms that the Swiss Attorney General has confirmed requests by the Nigerian government to arrest Mr. Aluko. Sahara Reporters confirmed.