Petroleum Minister refutes allegation of 20 million Euro mansion in Austria
Apparently miffed by what she called “spurious negative report” which alleged that she purchased a 20 million euro mansion in Vienna, Austria, the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has petitioned the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
There was also an indication that President Goodluck Jonathan may have ordered the NIA and the Nigerian Ambassador to Austria to thoroughly investigate the allegation and ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the claim. NIA is foreign equivalent of the State Security Service (SSS) and is responsible for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, it was established in June 1986 with Decree Number 19, which also dissolved the Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO) and restructured the country's security services into three separate organisations.
In the petition dated November 11, 2011, the minister, who personally signed the letter, requested for a thorough investigation into the source and motive of the negative report and character assassination.
Titled: “Phantom Allegation by Heute Newspaper,” the petition to the NIA was also copied to the President. “I write to draw your attention to a recent report published by the Vienna based Heute newspaper, alleging the purchase of a 20million euro mansion in an undisclosed location in Vienna by my humble self.
“The story which is clearly concocted to portray Nigeria public officials as corrupt and prodigal was scripted as well to denigrate and embarrass the Federal Government of Nigeria. In the light of the above, it is my wish that you use your good office to cause a detailed investigation of the mischievous story with a view to ascertaining the real motive behind this unwholesome article,” said the minister, in the petition.
She also requested the NIA boss “to treat the matter with the urgency that it deserves”. Last week the online media was awash with news of an alleged purchase of a 20million euro mansion in Vienna, Austria by the Minister. However, the report which was attributed to an unnamed Nigerian paper by Huete, which did not disclose the exact location of the mansion or provide any photograph to support the claim. The newspaper, which is based at the location of the purported mansion, also claimed to have culled the report from an unnamed Nigerian newspaper.
Worried by the spate of spurious attacks on the oil and gas industry, President Jonathan may have ordered the NIA and the Nigerian Ambassador to Austria to investigate the report. It was learnt that the Federal Government may institute legal action in Austria against the publishers of Heute newspaper once it is established that the report was fabricated to ridicule the minister and the Federal Government.