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Shocker: How Diezani Stole N47.2bn, $487.5m -EFCC Offers Details

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has so far traced N47.2 Billion and $487.5 Million in cash and properties to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is in London, United Kingdom, where she is ostensibly treating cancer and facing likely prosecution for graft.

Two officers of the EFCC, Tony Orilade and Aishah Gambari, in an article they released on line on Wednesday, revealed details of the stealing said to be the biggest burst by the anti-graft Commission bust in Nigeria’s history.

The article is reproduced below verbatim.

DIEZANI ALISON-MADUEKE: What an Appetite!

N47.2 Billion and $487.5 Million in cash and properties have so far been traced to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources in the Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. This followed painstaking investigations by operatives of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

TONY ORILADE/AISHAH GAMBARI

From time immemorial, precious metals – gold, silver and sparkling stones such as diamonds have delighted women. Relationships have been built and destroyed, wars fought for and reconciliations cemented with gold and precious stones. Not too far back in history, Liberia was the theatre of war over Blood Diamonds.

Unlike Liberia however, the Nigerian nation is not at war. But, it seems Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, until recently, Minister of Petroleum Resources, going by the sheer amount of her acquisition of gold and diamonds, may have been fighting a spirited war against millions of compatriots who are heavily and unevenly yoked by crass poverty. To boot, the former minister is accused of having stolen – in broad daylight – the money that funded her acquisitive binge.

A search of one of Alison-Madueke’s palatial residences in Abuja, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, turned up boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewelry, worth several million pounds sterling.

Apart from the jewelry, the EFCC, Nigeria’s foremost anticorruption agency, has traced N47.2 Billion and $487.5 Million in cash and properties to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources in Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

The former minister who has been in London since the birth of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, has however continued to deny any financial misdeed. She insists she is being severely maligned and persecuted by the EFCC. But, on the strength of weighty evidences placed before Nigerian courts, there are a string of judicial pronouncements ordering the forfeiture of all allegedly ill-gotten wealth to Alison-Madueke’s former employers, the Federal Government of Nigeria.

One of the constitutional requirements to be appointed to public office in Nigeria, is the total declaration of all personal assets. It does seem like that provision was observed more in the breach by Alison-Madueke.

The EFCC, in the course of investigation, traced another property valued at $37.5m to the former minister in Banana Island, Lagos. She was said to have purchased the 15-storey building, which comprises 18 flats and six penthouses, between 2011 and 2012from the developers, YF Construction and Real Estate. The property was allegedly acquired in the name of a shell company, Rusimpex Limited, which is managed by one Afamefuna Nwokedim, Principal Partner, Stillwaters Law Firm, Lagos.

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On August 7, 2017, Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of a $37.5m (N11.75bn) (Eleven Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) property on Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos allegedly belonging to Diezani Alison-Madueke. The order followed an exparte application filed on July 17, 2017 by the EFCC.

At the last adjourned sitting on July 19, 2017, counsel to the EFCC, A.B.C. Ozioko, while moving the ex-parte application, had urged the court to order the forfeiture of the total sum of US$2, 740,197.96 and N84, 537,840.70 respectively found by the Commission in Rusimpex USD account No. 1013612486 domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities. Ozioko had also urged the court to order an interim forfeiture of the assets and property. Ruling on the applications, Justice Obiozor had ordered the respondents- Deziani, Afamefuna Nwokedi and Rusimpex Limited- to show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge had further ordered the publication of the interim order in any national newspaper for the respondents or anyone who is interested in the property to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of the property should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.

At the resumed hearing on August 7, counsel to the EFCC argued that the failure of the second and third respondent, Nwokedi and Rusimex meant that “they are not willing to contest the application”.

In his ruling, Justice Obiozor ordered the final forfeiture of the property to the Federal government, in view of the failure of any interested parties or persons to contest the interim forfeiture order as published in a national newspaper by the Commission. The court also ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sums of US$2, 740,197.96 and N84, 537,840.70respectively realized as rent on the property.

But, by far the most numbing, record-shattering acquisitions of Alison-Madueke, is to be found in the ritzy, nouveaux richesplayground of Banana Island, Lagos. It consists of two apartments at the Bella Vista Court. The apartments which are Penthouses, are located on Block C-5, Flat 21, Plot 1, Zone N. For them, a $350 Million (Three Hundred and Fifty Million US Dollar) hole was allegedly dug in the Nigerian treasury on November 22, 2011, by Alison-Madueke.

Also in Lagos, Alison-Madueke allegedly bought a block of six units serviced apartments at number 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, just a few hundred metres away from the EFCC zonal operations hub. The apartment has a standby power generating set, sporting facilities, play ground and a water treatment plant. The property was bought at the rate of N800 Million (Eight Hundred Million Naira) on January 6, 2012.

Other properties in Yaba, Lagos, also discovered by the eagle eyes of the Commission’s operatives, are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street. The Thurnburn Street property consists of 21 mixed housing units of eight 4-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of 3-bedrooms each and six 3-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments.

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The Raymond Street property is made up of two en-suite 2-bedroom apartments and one 4-bedroom apartment.

The Yaba, Lagos properties, which dug a deep hole of an eye-popping N1 Billion (One Billion Naira), were paid for on May 30, 2012. The same day Alison-Madueke splashed N900 million for the Port Harcourt estate.

In Lekki Phase one, an upscale neighbourhood of Lagos, operatives found a twin four-bedroom duplex. The duplex is located on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, Lekki, Lagos, with an estimated value of over N200 Million (Two Hundred Million Naira).

Also in Lagos, a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos has also been traced to the former Petroleum Resources Minister. The land, which is located in Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki peninsular, Lagos and currently being utilized as a dumping site, was bought on February 16, 2012, for N135 Million (One Hundred and Thirty- Five Million Naira).

Plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi, Lagos, another property traced to Alison-Madueke, is a penthouse on the 11th Floor in the Block B Wing of the building. It was bought for N12 Million (Twelve Million Naira) on December 20, 2011.

On plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, in the serene, upscale Asokoro district of Abuja, lies a tastefully built and finished duplex. In the compound, there are also a Guest Chalet, Boy’s Quarters, an elegant swimming pool, fully equipped sports gym and a host of other amenities. Investigators have discovered that the property acquired by the ex-minister in December, 2009, at the cost of N400 Million (Four Hundred Million Naira) was never declared in any of the asset declaration forms filed by Alison-Madueke.

Also linked to the former Minister in Abuja is a mini estate at Mabushi, Abuja. The estate located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, houses 13 three bedroom terrace houses, each with one bedroom en-suite maid’s quarters. It was purchased on April 2, 2012 at the princely sum of N650 Million (Six Hundred and Fifty Million Naira).

In Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja, Alison-Madueke reportedly acquired a 6-bedroom en-suite apartment made up of three large living rooms, two bedroom Guest Chalets, two bedroom Boys Quarters, two lock up garages and a car park. It was bought on July 20, 2011 for N80 Million (Eighty Million Naira).

Down South in Nigeria’s oil city of Port Harcourt, the former minister’s acquisitive appetite took her to Heritage Court Estate, located on Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu Government Residential Area, Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt. The Estate which is made up of 16 four bedroom terrace duplexes is equipped with among other facilities, a massive standby power generating set. Alison-Madueke did not blink as she shelled out N900 Million (Nine Hundred Million Naira) for it on May 30, 2012,

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In neighbouring Bayelsa State, an apartment with two blocks of flats, all en-suite, and with a Maid’s Quarters were also traced to her. The house located on Goodluck Jonathan Road, Yenagoa is sitting on a large expanse of land. Realtors spoken to by EFCC investigators have placed estimated values running into hundreds of millions of Naira on the property. The apartments have four living rooms, eight bedrooms and gold-plated furniture.

Aside from jewelry and property, Alison-Madueke, EFCC operatives charge, has N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) in various Nigerian banks.

Based on evidence presented by the Commission before the court, Justice Muslim Suleiman Hassan on January 6 2017, ordered the funds’ temporary forfeiture to the federal government.

The EFCC again, on January 24, 2017, urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to order the forfeiture of yet another N9 billion allegedly laundered by some bank officials for Alison-Madueke.

A month later, on February 16, 2017, Justice Hassan ordered the final forfeiture to the federal government, of a whooping sum ofN34 Billion naira which has been traced to the former minister.

Earlier in May 2016, the sum of over $100 Million (One Hundred Million US dollars) were traced to the accounts of several Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staffers, who were allegedly bribed by Alison-Madueke to compromise Nigeria’s 2015 general elections.

Justice Mohammed B. Idris of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on April 27, 2017, ordered the final forfeiture of the bribe money traced to one staff of INEC, Christian Nwosu, who was arraigned on April 5, 2017.

In the course of the trial, Nwosu pleaded guilty to receiving the sum of N30 Million (Thirty Million Naira) from Alison-Madueke. Upon his confession, the court ordered the final forfeiture of his landed property situated at Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State. Also forfeited by Nwosu to the federal government was the cash sum of N5 Million (Five Million Naira).

Going by the continued unearthing of hard-to-ignore evidences of unexplained acquisitions, coupled with Justice Chuka Obiozor’s rulling on the final forfeiture of a $37.5m (N11.75bn) (Eleven Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) to the federal government, ex-minister Alison-Madueke’s evidence-free counter-charge, that she is a victim of EFCC persecution, may be ringing hollower and hollower.

** Orilade and Gambari are officers of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

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Makinde vows to retrieve billions of Oyo’s resources ‘stolen’ in 96 months before his tenure

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Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Wednesday vowed that his administration was ready to retreive the billions of the state’s funds allegedly looted by officials of the previous administration.

Governor Makinde, who made the vow while kickstarting the construction of the 21km Ajia-Airport-New Ife Expressway road, in Ajia town, maintained that his administration was ready to put measures in place to retrieve all looted funds to develop the state’s infrastructure.

The 21-kilometre Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road, with spur to Amuloko, was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Eight Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty Million, Nine Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Forty-One Kobo (N8,520,919,776.41).

According to the governor, unlike the previous government, which, he said, preoccupied itself with how to corner state’s funds on a daily basis, his administration would drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in the state within the shortest possible time.

He added that it’s only in doing so that the state can be positioned on the path of economic growth.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the 21-kilometre road construction being launched was a product of the administration’s strategic way of reducing the state’s infrastructure deficit, which is known as the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA).

He said: “Our administration means business. We will drastically reduce the infrastructure deficit in Oyo State in the shortest possible time. And this is how economies work: investors will only go where they can be assured of profits. If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production which, in turn, means less profit for investors. So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investments into Oyo State when a majority of roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair.

“In order to achieve this, we must strategize on how to increase our spending on infrastructure, because what we collect from Abuja every month from federal allocation is not even enough to pay the salaries. So, the new strategies on how to increase our spending on infrastructure is what we are doing here in Oyo State.”

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While explaining the reason the Airport-Ajia road costs more per kilometre than the 65 kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road, the governor said there are more hydraulic structures on the Airport-Ajia road than the Moniya-Iseyin road, and that a lot of expansion and rehabilitation will be done on those bridges.

The governor also used the opportunity to explain the APFA approach through which he said many projects will be executed in the state, stating that it is the administration’s way of funding some infrastructural projects in the state, by having the contractors fund the projects with their own money while the state repays them over a period of time.

“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk. At the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects. They will be bearing the risk of getting this project done in a timely manner, while we pay them over the next twenty-nine months. That comes down to roughly N300 million a month. So, while they will complete the project in one year, we have the option to repay in over twice the time.

“We will continue to actualise capital projects through budgetary allocations and have the additional option of carrying out other infrastructural projects outside of the budget, using the Alternative Project Funding Approach. So, you can look forward to other projects under this approach.

“Let me state that even when we are forced to look outside Oyo State for persons to execute the projects under APFA, we still put the interests of our people first. For example, Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd has agreed that the construction labour will come from Oyo State, and we are holding them to that agreement.”

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He added: “So, for projects under the APFA, because of the nature of spending on the projects, we decided that it would be best to open up the bidding process a little more so that contractors outside of Oyo State can bid as well.

“We reached this decision because we are looking for private entities who have the wherewithal to complete the projects on schedule, while at the same time, passing the tests of quality assurance.

“When we approved this project at EXCO, social media became agog with all sorts of insinuations. Those ones that you rejected during the last general elections were saying Seyi Makinde promised that he would give contracts to those within Oyo state. Indeed, I made that promise that Oyo state money must remain in Oyo state.

“Some have said the company we awarded the contract to is from Asaba in Niger Delta and that we want to take Oyo State’s money to my wife’s state. First, let me put it on record that my wife is not from Delta but from Rivers State. “Second, the representative of the company we awarded the project to, Engr Abel Adeleke, has spoken here today. He is from Osun State and they are using their money to start this project.

“We also opened the opportunity for all. Even if they had approached us and brought the money they stole while in government to fund this project, we will allow them. We all know there are certain construction works that their expertise may not be with a local contractor. If we want to construct a bridge and it is awarded to Julius Berger, they will also say Julius Berger is not from Oyo State. So, that is to tell you they have nothing to do. One thing I know is, if we build this road the way we are supposed to, on time and on budget, what concerns the people going to the airport, whether Julius Berger constructed the road or whether the contractor is from Osun or Oyo? Our major concern is that the road is constructed.”

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Addressing the criticisms trailing the announcement of N100 billion bond issuance by the state, the governor stated: “I heard somebody criticizing us on radio concerning the N100 billion bond and was of the opinion that this administration wants to put the state in debt. I think our people need to start telling them that Governor Makinde is not like that. For the period of eight years they spent in office, they were only preoccupied with how to corner N1 Billion monthly into their private pockets everyday they went to the office.

“They spent 96 months in office, that means they have Oyo States N96 billion with them. We will retrieve every fund that belongs to Oyo people for the purpose of infrastructure development.

“So, tell them that the EFCC of Oyo State is coming for them. I want to assure you that we will retrieve the stolen money of the state from them and use the funds to build infrastructure like this.”

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Ajimobi’s 40-day Fidau prayer holds tomorrow

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The 40-day fidau prayer  of late former governor of Oyo state, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi has been billed for tomorrow, August 6, 2020 in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital 
Late Governor Ajimobi’s media aide, Bolaji Tunji disclosed in a statement on Wednesday.
 

Ajimobi, 71, died on June 25, 2020 , at First Cardiologist Consultant; a private COVID19 approved care facility in Lagos State.

According to him,  the fidau prayer will hold at the late governor’s  Oluyole residence, Ibadan In line with Covid-19 protocols as laid down by NCDC, adding that the event will strictly be a family affair.

He also informed that there will be a live coverage of the event on NTA from 11am onwards and the event will also be streamed on the link below:https://linktr.ee/ajimobiliveson

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Beirut blast killed more than 100 – Red Cross

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A huge blast at Beirut port that devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city has killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, the Lebanese Red Cross said Wednesday.

“Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas,” a statement said.

Details later…

AFP

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