A body of lawyers, civil society organisations and the Council of Ethnic Youth Leaders of Nigeria have condemned a US-media agency’s report linking the founder of Aiteo Group, Benedict Peters and former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, with alleged corruption ties.
In a joint press conference, their spokesman, Tochukwu Ohazuruike, alleged that the story, written by The Washington Post Staff Writer, Peter Whoriskey reeked of a “smear campaign” against the Nigerian oil firm and Mr Peters, capable of encouraging unhealthy business rivalry in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
The case began in 2016 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission indicted Mr Peters over corruption allegations involving Mrs Alison-Madueke.
In 2017, a U.S. Department of Justice’s (DoJ) document also linked AITEO to the 2015 INEC bribery scheme that saw Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s son, Ugonna Madueke, allegedly distribute $115m to INEC officials through a commercial bank in 2015.
On Monday, the different groups stated that these allegations against Mr Peters and Aiteo have already been conclusively determined by competent courts, vindicating him or are pending in court.
They also maintained that “Mr Peters has stated severally that he has never received any favour by way of facilitation or otherwise from Dieziani Alison-Madueke, and there was therefore nothing to be grateful for. He has severally denounced any such attempt to link the purchase of his property in London with her under such premises.