How 35 Former, Serving Governors Acquired 800 Properties Worth Over N152billion In Dubai - IReporteronline
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How 35 Former, Serving Governors Acquired 800 Properties Worth Over N152billion In Dubai

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According to Sahara Reporters, No fewer than 35 past and present governors and 299 former officeholders in Nigeria have been linked with multi-billion choice properties in London, UK and Dubai, UAE, it was learnt on Tuesday.

The persons were said to have spent over $400 million (over N152 billion) to acquire 800 properties in Dubai.

According to Nation, some of those implicated include a North-West governor, two former Deputy Presidents of the Senate and a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Others are 15 former ministers; one judge; 14 police, security and military chiefs; lawmakers; five staff members in the Presidency; 11 officers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; and 16 heads of departments and agencies.

Also on the list are 50 businessmen serving as fronts for Politically Exposed Persons (PEP); 158 suspected PEP proxies; and 13 known Nigerian law enforcement agency suspects.

The facts and figures, including names, were laid bare on Tuesday by an Associate Fellow, Chatham House, Mr. Mathew Page in a presentation at a training session by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.

The paper was curiously silent on past and present governors of the ruling All Prorgessives Congress.

The Zoom session was tagged “Capacity building for investigators on investigating Illicit Financial Flows.”

He listed the Real Estate sector and payment of school fees abroad as means being used by High-Risk PEPs to launder stolen funds abroad, especially in Dubai, the United Kingdom and the United States.

He said PEPs and public officers in Nigeria used to engage in Illicit Financial Flows in the Real Estate sector “both as a means to launder money and as something to spend laundered money on.”

On laundering in Dubai, Page said it has been possible for high-profile Nigerians because of “global nexus of IFFs, accessibility, permeability, reliability and affordability.”

He said the UAE had also been “reluctant to cooperate and share information.”

Page said: “There are 800 plus properties linked to Nigerian PEPs. They are worth $400 million plus.

He said while a serving governor in the Northwest has eight Dubai properties ($5 million), a former PDP national chairman acquired 11 Dubai and two London homes at $18 million.

He said a former Deputy Senate President secured 14 Dubai properties at $12 million and one of his successors bought eight Dubai assets and three UK properties at $15 million.

Page said it has been easy to transfer large sums out of Nigeria by PEPs and public officers because of “permissive environment, techniques used to avoid detection, the role of professional enablers, commercial banks, Bureau De Change and cash couriers.

He said Nigerian PEPs have also been using proxies, families, shell companies and links to trade-based money laundering.

He asked anti-corruption investigators in Nigeria to “examine bank transfers to Dubai, verify asset declarations, investigate middlemen and property marketers.”

On IFFs to the United Kingdom, he gave six examples of how top Nigerians allegedly used payment of school fees to launder money.

Page said, “Former Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye was charged with corruption in 2007 and convicted in 2018. Despite facing corruption charges, he was able to send his children to UK boarding schools and universities. His children have not been implicated in any wrongdoing.) Estimated Fees Paid: £240,000+.

“A senior Nigerian legislator who has been a career politician for the last 25 years had children attending independent British schools and universities. The politician also owns several high-end properties in the United Kingdom. Estimated Fees paid: £665,000+.

“In 2012, a British court convicted former Delta State governor James Ibori of fraud and money laundering. Despite this conviction, he continued to send his children to UK schools and universities. (Note: His children have not been implicated in any wrongdoing.) Estimated Fees paid: £286,000+.

“A prominent career politician from Northern Nigeria with minimal income outside official earnings sent several children to UK private schools and universities. The politician’s spouse allegedly owns high-end property in the United Kingdom. Estimated Fees paid: £861,000+”

“A career Nigerian politician who has served in various government positions over two decades sent children to top British boarding schools and universities. The politician also owns high-end property in the United Kingdom. Estimated Fees paid: £447000+.

“A prominent career politician from Southern Nigeria sent multiple children to top British boarding schools and universities. The politician also owns luxury property in the United Kingdom. Estimated Fees paid: £343,000+.”

The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN), said the commission has dragged about 2,000 corporate entities into the country’s tax net.

He made the disclosure in Abuja while responding to questions from reporters at the end of the capacity building training for investigators.

Source: Sahara Reporters

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Nigerian Governor’s Aide Arrested In U.S. Over $350,000 Fraud

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An aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State is currently enmeshed in over $350,000 (about N140 million) COVID-19 unemployment fraud in the United States.

Abidemi Rufai, who works as Senior Special Assistant to Mr Abiodun, was arrested last Friday, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York before boarding a flight to Amsterdam.

He is scheduled for a detention hearing Wednesday.

The money wired is said to be unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Wire fraud according to the United States Department of Justice is punishable by up to 30 years in prison when it relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially-declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statement

The Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said in a statement that his team “worked diligently with a federal law enforcement team to track down the criminals who stole funds designated for pandemic relief since the first fraud reports to their office in April 2020″.

“This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud,” Ms Gorman said.

Mr Rufai reportedly used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits, the statement added.

He is also accused of filing fraudulent unemployment claims with Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania.

“Rufai used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems,” Ms Gorman continued.

“By using this practice, Rufai made it appear that each claim was connected with a different email account.

“Rufai caused the fraud proceeds to be paid out to online payment accounts such as ‘Green Dot’ accounts, or wired to bank accounts controlled by ‘money mules’.

“Some of the proceeds were then mailed to the Jamaica, New York address of Rufai’s relative. Law enforcement determined more than $288,000 was deposited into an American bank account controlled by Rufai between March and August 2020.”

Also, the Special Agent in Charge FBI Seattle, Donald Voiret, said “the FBI and our partners will not stand idly by while individuals attempt to defraud programs meant to assist American workers and families suffering the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

PREMIUM TIMES understands the case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG).

“The fraud on ESD is being investigated cooperatively by the FBI, DOL-OIG, Social Security Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations.

“The Washington Employment Security Department is cooperating in the investigation,” the report on the United States Department of Justice website read.

“The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Wilkinson, Cindy Chang, and Benjamin Diggs of the Western District of Washington, and Trial Attorney Jane Lee of DOJ’s Cyber Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).”

PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr Rufai’s principal, Governor Abiodun, on the matter but his spokesperson, Kunle Somorin, asked our reporter to call him back.

Hours later, he is yet to respond to calls and text messages.

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JUST IN: El-Rufai Declares NLC Boss, Wabba, Other Labour Leaders Wanted Over Strike In Kaduna

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The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has accused the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLc) and its leaders as saboteurs after the halt in economic activities due to the ongoing industrial action.

Consequently, El-Rufai declared the NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba ‘wanted’ while pledging his prosecution under the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

The Governor made this disclosure via a tweet on Tuesday, saying, “KADUNA UPDATE: Ayuba Wabba & others of NLC declared wanted for economic sabotage & attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act.

“Anyone that knows where he is hiding should send a message to Ministry of Justice, Kaduna. There will be a handsome reward!”

Ripples Nigeria had reported that Wabba in his remarks on Monday, commended the workers, saying there will be no retreat or surrender by the organized labour to ensure the realisation of their demands is met by the El-Rufai led government.

According to the labour leader, “the 5-day warning strike in Kaduna state is a decision of the highest body of labour, the decision has been communicated to all security agencies of government. It is the beginning of the struggle of labour, hope our politicians will cooperate with us to ensure we protect our democracy by delivering its dividends to the citizens including workers.”

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Police Rearrest Imo Fleeing Inmate In Owerri

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The police authorities have rearrested an inmate who recently escaped from the prison in Imo State, South-East Nigeria.

Some 1,844 prisoners were freed when gunmen attacked the prison headquarters in Owerri on April 5. The police headquarters in the state was similarly attacked by gunmen.

Francis Enobore, the spokesperson of the correctional centre, said the gunmen used explosives to blast their way through the centre’s administrative block before gaining entrance into the prisons yard.

In a statement issued on Monday, the police spokesperson in Imo State, Ikeokwu Godson Orlando, identified the rearrested inmate as Eze Obinna, from Amaimo, Ikeduru Local Government Area of the state, adding that he was in series of kidnap incidents lately.

“The operatives while acting on the directives of the Commissioner of Police, CP ABUTU YARO, fdc to rid Imo state of crime and criminality to take the war against violent crime to the den of the hoodlums,  as well as rearrest the escapee inmates of the Correctional services stormed Obinze, Owerri West LGA, Imo State, arrested the said Eze Obinna whom has since his escape from the prison,  formed another deadly kidnap gang and have been terrorising Owerri and environs,” he said.

According to the police, the suspect was arrest in December 2020 by the operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit, for kidnapping a victim, where he personally transferred the sum of five million naira from the victim’s Bank account to his own account.

He was said to have and later collected the sum of four million Naira cash, as ransom from the same victim, while the victims Toyota Venza car is yet to be recovered.

Three AK-47 rifles with a large number of ammunition were also recovered from him and his accomplices then.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police has ordered the arrest of all his gang members, as well as mopping up their operational arms, noting that the investigation is ongoing.

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