Detectives are closing in on more associates and aides of former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is screening the call logs of her business associates, friends and selected players in the oil and gas sector as part of the investigation.
The outcome of forensic analysis of the call logs has been described as “revealing”.
Six companies are being investigated by the anti-graft agency. They were not named yesterday.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are closing in on more business associates, aides of the ex-Minister and stakeholders in the oil and gas sector. The scandal in the sector runs through a syndicate. Some of these people will need to explain one or two things.
“Preliminary investigation showed that one or two former GMDs resisted certain unsavoury developments in the oil sector when Mrs Alison-Madueke was in charge.
“In fact, there was a GMD who wanted to resign because he could not withstand the ‘looting’ in the sector.”
When asked about some companies under the searchlight of the EFCC, the source said: “At least about six companies, but we will not release their identities.”
“We are not talking now in order to avoid any act capable of creating a setback for us in our investigation,” he added.
Another source confirmed the screening of call logs of some suspected oil magnates and business associates of the former minister.
It was learnt that when the EFCC raided some offices and homes in Lagos and Abuja, some phones were seized.
The source said: “We are doing forensic analysis of the call logs for more clues on how some fraudulent practices were perpetrated. We are screening Mrs. Alison-Madueke call logs, including the ones she made through a third party handset.
“And the profiling of the call logs of some suspected players in the oil and gas sector so far has been revealing
“After the screening of the call logs, we will return all the handsets to their owners.”
Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested Mrs. Alison-Madueke and four others last Friday for alleged bribery and money laundering.
On its website, the NCA explained why it was paying more attention to money laundering.
It said that money laundering was becoming a threat to the UK economy and reputation.
It said: “The NCA assesses that many hundreds of billions of pounds of international criminal money is laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.
“The scale of the laundering of criminal proceeds is, therefore, strategic threat to UK’s economy and reputation.
“The proceeds of virtually all serious and organised crime in the UK as well as the proceeds of a significant amount of international serious and organised crime (including corrupt Politically Exposed Persons seeking to launder the proceeds of their corruption and hide stolen assets in the UK) is believed to be laundered into and through the UK.
“The NCA is increasingly focusing its efforts on targeting ‘high end’ money laundering, which is particularly relevant in major frauds and overseas corruption work, where the raw material of the crime is electronic and cash is only used further down the laundering process to disguise audit trails or extract profits.
“The ability of criminals to launder large sums of money themselves without attracting attention is limited.
“Therefore, criminals need someone professional, capable and trustworthy to make the necessary arrangements.
“Although there are many ways to launder money, it is often the ‘professional enabler’ who holds the key to the kind of complex processes that can provide the necessary anonymity for the criminal.
“Whilst our assessment is that the vast majority of professionals working in these fields have a high standard of integrity, lawyers, trust and company formation agents, investment bankers and accountants are among those at greatest risk of becoming involved, either wittingly or unwittingly in high end money laundering.”