Shocker: How Diezani Stole N47.2bn, $487.5m -EFCC Offers Details - Mega Icon Magazine
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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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WCC condemns killing of Nigerian Christian Brethren leader

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Upon hearing news that Church of the Brethren leader Lawan Andimi was executed by Boko Haram on 20 January, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned the brutal act of violence and expressed his sincere condolences to Rev. Andimi’s family, community and church.

Andimi was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, serving as district secretary for the Michika area, and was chair of the Christian Association of Nigeria for the Michika area.

“We have lost a brother who worked for peace, who worked for ecumenism, and whose life has been cut short by senseless violence,” said Tveit.

Andimi was reported missing on 3 January, a day after an attack on Michika by Boko Haram. His abduction gained international attention when, on 5 January, his captors released a video in which he professed his Christian faith.

“We denounce this violence as an act of hate toward someone who dedicated his life to God and to the service of others,” said Tveit. “We pray for justice and comfort for his family and loved ones. And I appeal urgently to the Nigerian government and authorities to ensure the protection of people targeted by violent extremists because of their religious or other identity.”

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Andimi was originally from Kwada village in the Chibok area.

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LG Dissolution: Malami’s letter not served on us – Oyo AG reacts

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The Government of Oyo State has rejected the purported intervention of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) & Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) in the raging controversy over local government dissolution in the state.

Attorney-General of the state, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, in a four-page response to a letter by the AGF, said that though the AGF did not submit the said letter to his office, he had to source the same from the social media in view of the weighty nature of the issues.

According to Prof. Oyewo, the AGF has no business dabbling into the matter of local government dissolution in Oyo State which is pending before the Court of Appeal.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa indicated on Thursday, that the statement credited to Malami was uncalled for, misguided and lacking in merit, as far as the constitution of Nigeria is concerned.

The Government of Oyo State maintained that Malami’s letter dated 14 January, 2020, was written without adequate information and knowledge of the current position of the subject matter of dissolution of local government in the State.

According to the statement, the issue of local government dissolution in Oyo state is a subject of stay/appeal that is pending before the Court of Appeal in two cases including Governor of Oyo State Vs Basorun Bosun Ajuwon, Appeal no CA/IB/300/2019 and Basorun Majeed Bosun Ajuwon Vs Governor of Oyo State CA/IB/362/2019.

“It is also instructive to note that parties have filed their respective briefs of argument and the appeals have now been fixed for the 19th of February, 2020,” the statement reads.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in Oyo State equally declared that only the court and not the AGF could pronounce an order on the matter, which was sub judice.
The Government called on Malami to rise above partisan politics and advise parties to await judgment of the court in the various appeals.

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The Government added that the Constitution of the country had empowered States to ensure the existence and functioning of local governments, noting that it was not aware of any Act of the National Assembly that empowered the AGF to write the letter in which he purportedly barked orders at the State Government.

In the rejoinder entitled “RE: ALLEGED UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF DISSOLUTION OF ELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS AND APPOINTMENT OF CARETAKER COMMITTEES: THE URGENT NEED FOR COMPLIANCE WITH EXTANT JUDICIAL DECISIONS,” Professor Oyewo said: “I wish to note that your letter Ref. No, HAGF/OYO/2020/Vol.1/1 of 14th January, 2020 dealing with the above subject matter was never served on us, but we read about it and had to secure a copy from the social media.

“I must note that under Section 7(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which you referred to in your letter, it is the Law of the State Government that is to ensure the existence of the system of Local Government by democratically elected Local Government Council by providing for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils and not a Federal Law/Act.

“It is therefore not clear under what Act of the National Assembly the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice was acting in writing the letter under reference.

“It should be borne in mind that our Constitution has established a Federal system of government whereby the state government is not under the command of the Federal Government, neither are we under Military Era when the Federal Government could give a binding order to the State Government by mere proclamation and at will. We are now in a civilian dispensation and the position of every officer whether at the Federal or State level is guided by the provisions of the Constitution and relevant law.”

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The Oyo AG referred the AGF to two cases including Attorney-General Lagos Vs Attorney-General Federation (2004) 18 N.W.LR (PT.S 904)II and Attorney General Abia Vs Attorney-General Federation(2002) 6 N.W.L.R (PT. 763)264.

The letter continued: “We are of the firm belief that your letter under reference was written without adequate information and knowledge of the current position with respect to the subject matter of Local Government Dissolution in Oyo State. A careful diligent search would have shown that the issue of Dissolution of Local Government in Oyo is presently a subject matter of stay/appeal and pending at the Court of Appeal in the following cases; a.) Governor of Oyo State vs Basorun Bosun Ajuwon Appeal NO CA/IB/300/2019 and b.) Basorun Majeed Bosun Ajuwon vs Governor of Oyo State CA/IB/362/2019.”

The Government of Oyo State, however, took exception to perceived threats by Malami, especially his directive to some federal agencies to “ensure compliance,” noting that until the constitutional right of appeal, which is guaranteed in the country’s adjudicatory system, is exhausted, Malami had no right to dabble in the matter of the local government dissolution or threaten the State.

“We, therefore, want to advise the Attorney-General of the Federation to rise above partisan politics and advise parties to await judgment of the court in the various appeals. To do otherwise is to foist a fait accompli on the court.

As a law-abiding Government, we are prepared to abide by the decision of the court when eventually delivered. We are, however, unperturbed by the subtle threat in your letter and your directives to take steps to ensure compliance of a cited judgment in which Oyo State was never a party and on a live matter in which an appeal is pending.

“For the avoidance of doubt, please note further that in Oyo State, the issue of Local Government administration is presently before the court of competent jurisdiction and by our adjudicatory system, whoever is aggrieved by the decision of a court has the constitutional right of appeal. Until such right is exhausted, the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice cannot dabble into such matter. We are aware of the provisions of Section 174 (1) to (3) of the CFRN, 1999 (as amended) but they only relate to criminal proceedings and not civil matters as in this case. The action of the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice is therefore uncalled for with respect to a matter that is sub judice. It is only a court of law that can given such an order and not the office of the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice. All the cases referred to in your letter mentioned above are not on all fours with the present cases involving Oyo State because the facts are not the same. A case is an authority for what it decides.

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“It will therefore be in interest of justice to allow the rule of law to prevail by letting the pending cases involving Oyo State on the dissolution of Local Governments in Oyo State to run their full course in the law courts.”

 

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Nigeria: Weekend Attack an effort to Intimidate Humanitarian Actors – UN

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On 18 January, non-state armed groups stormed a humanitarian facility in Ngala town, some 124 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Although all United Nations humanitarians in the facility – including three IOM staff – were reported safe, an entire section of the facility was burned down as well as one of the few vehicles used by humanitarians to deliver aid.

“The intended effect of this is to intimidate the humanitarian actors working in north-east Nigeria. We have seen this as humanitarian workers are increasingly targeted,” said IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Franz Celestin.

The targeted facility is one of nine humanitarian hubs in Borno managed by IOM. Humanitarian hubs provide operating environments for aid workers in deep field locations, including accommodation, office and connectivity services. These spaces are critical for a sustained and effective humanitarian response in Nigeria.

“These (humanitarian) hubs are the ultimate enablers to allow the humanitarian workers to improve the quality of the response by allowing them enough time on the ground to do what they’re supposed to do. Prior to the hubs, humanitarian workers could only go on day trips, so they’d go one day at a time to deliver services,” Celestin said.

The attack comes just 11 days after members of a non-state armed group (NSAG) infiltrated Monguno town. Two children, an adult male and one adult female were killed in the attack on a camp for internally displaced people. In addition, several injured people are currently receiving medical attention at a nearby clinic run by ALIMA, an international non-governmental organization.

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That deadly attack left 2,728 people homeless. According to an IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report, more than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals were destroyed.

The ongoing conflict in north-east Nigeria continues to claim the lives of innocent people, and increasingly, of humanitarian workers. In 2019, twelve aid workers lost their lives, twice the number of deaths in the previous year.

DTM provides detailed and up-to-date information on characteristics and needs of crisis-affected populations registration and profiling of displaced populations in camp and camp-like settings, flow monitoring exercises and reports, as well as the provision of detailed infrastructural information on areas of return through village assessment surveys.

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