Sunday, October 4, 2015

AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION ... DE-GOATING A YAM FARM : UK investigators in Nigeria, join EFCC to probe Diezani •Ex-minister’s probe began in 2013 –Britain ... PunchNews

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke
The British National Crime Agency has dispatched a team of detectives to Nigeria who are now working with the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Findings by SUNDAY PUNCH revealed that the team of investigators from the UK Police was drawn from the Seizures Organised Crimes Agency.
A top operative of the EFCC, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity on Saturday, said the SOCA team had been involved in a discreet investigation of Alison-Madueke for two months before they finally moved against her.
The former petroleum minister left Nigeria shortly before the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari in May this year.
It was further gathered that the team from SOCA had been working alongside a team of EFCC operatives from the Subsidy Unit led by a Chief Superintendent of Police.
The EFCC team was constituted in August 2015 by the Chairman of the anti-corruption agency, Ibrahim Lamorde, to investigate the activities of Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The SU team was mandated to probe all the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which were under the supervision of the former minister.
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered on Saturday that the intensified investigation into the activities of the former minister was being supervised by Lamorde and the Director of Operations of the EFCC, Mr. Olusola Adegbite.
Investigations further showed that the operatives from the subsidy unit of the EFCC carried out the operation at Alison-Madueke’s Asokoro residence in Abuja, following her arrest on Friday.
An operative of the commission, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the EFCC’s subsidy team ransacked the residence of the former minister for hours.
The operatives were said to have recovered several files from the ex-minister’s residence and they were carted away for further analysis by the combined team of investigators from the EFCC and the SOCA.
It was gathered that the operatives did not find anybody within the residence to guide them, so they had to get some security personnel who had worked with the former minister to gain access into the building through one of the windows.
It was further stated that the operatives later got the keys and searched all the rooms in the house for hours before they carted away the files.
The source said, “When our operatives got there, there was nobody in the building. What they did was to get the security men who were working with her to guide them through the building.
“They entered the building through one of the windows and later found the keys with which they accessed all the rooms. They found some documents in some files and they carted them away.”
Ex-minister’s probe began in 2013 — Britain
Similarly, the NCA has revealed that contrary to speculations that the corruption investigation leading to the arrest of Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister started in 2013.
The Nigerian media, both the traditional and social media platforms, were awash with reports that it was President Buhari’s recent meeting with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, and other world leaders that led to the investigation and arrest of Alison-Madueke.
The ex-minister and current President of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was arrested on Friday by the NCA’s recently formed International Corruption Unit, along with four other persons.
She was arrested in London as part of an investigation into suspected bribery and money laundering offences.
Alison-Madueke was, however, granted bail but her passport was withheld by the British authorities, pending further investigations, both in the UK and other countries.
In an update on its website, the NCA noted that the investigation started about two years ago.
“The investigation commenced in 2013 under the Proceeds of Corruption Unit, and transferred to the NCA earlier this year (2015). The International Corruption Unit investigates bribery of foreign public officials by individuals or companies from the UK and money laundering by corrupt foreign officials and their associates,” it stated.
The UK crime agency added that the ICU would also trace and recover the proceeds of Alison-Madueke’s alleged corruption and support Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies with international anti-corruption investigations.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of a UK-based group, Security in Africa, Mr. Ben Oguntala, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the arrest and possible prosecution of Alison-Madueke would only scratch the problem of corruption in Nigeria at its surface.
He said, “To have a simple Police Unit in the UK bring up partial evidence of corruption against a former minister is barely scratching the surface. You cannot fight corruption in this manner; it is far too complicated for ordinary corruption prosecution.
“What would have made this case extraordinary would be if Mrs. Madueke decides to reveal all. However, she is unlikely to do that, if your strategy is to arrest her first, embarrass her and drag her through the UK courts with little or insufficient evidence. Now, she will get a good lawyer and make the process the lengthiest as legally permissible.”
According to Oguntala, what President Buhari needs to do is not to allow a UK-led corruption charges.
He noted that the British government’s approach at fighting corruption cases emanating from Nigeria is putting the cart before the horse.
Also reacting to the ex-minister’s arrest, the Executive Director of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr. Debo Adeniran, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the news of Alison-Madueke’s arrest in the UK was a good one.
According to him, the news will show the world that Nigeria is serious about fighting corruption and impunity usually perpetrated by its public officials.
“It came as a cheering news when we heard about her arrest in the UK. I felt relieved; at least a big fish has been caught in the cause of our anti-corruption crusade. It also shows that President Buhari is intent on bringing to book those who have looted the country’s treasury.
“We also want the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries as an august organisation to deem it fit to replace Alison-Madueke as its president. She does not enjoy the trust and respect of Nigerians,” Adeniran stated.
Checks on the webesite of OPEC on Saturday night showed that the organisation had been quoting its alternate president, Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada, lately.
There was no recent mention of Alison-Madueke.
Efforts to get the Presidency to comment on the incident failed on Saturday.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, kept mum.
He also refused to speak on whether or not the Federal Government would seek the ex-minister’s extradition.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

THE MINIONS AND GRANDSTANDERS HAVE SUDDENLY FALLEN QUIET ... DE-GOATING A YAM FARM : Presidency links Diezani's arrest to stolen oil funds ... DailyTrust

Presidency links Diezani's arrest to stolen oil funds
The arrest in London of former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke on Friday may be assumed to be connected with President Muhammadu Buhari's efforts towards recovering stolen oil funds, the Presidency has said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated this in a telephone chat with our correspondent on Friday night.

The presidential aide, however, noted that he had no information yet on the arrest of the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Diezani, alongside four other people, was reportedly arrested in London on Friday morning by the United Kingdom National Crimes Agency, for crimes related to bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Asked whether the former minister's arrest had to do with Buhari's moves to prosecute those who mismanaged oil funds, Shehu said: "It may be assumed that it has to do with the president's efforts towards recovering stolen oil funds. If you read the president's address in the New York during the just-concluded United Nations General Assembly, he (Buhari) made a passionate appeal to the international community to assist Nigeria in recovering stolen money".

Buhari had Monday while addressing world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York called on the international community to urgently redouble its efforts to strengthen mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption.

President Buhari had also urged world leaders to do more to return stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.

The president had also reaffirmed his government's determination to frontally confront the twin evils of corruption and illicit financial outflows.

"Let me reaffirm the Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. By any consideration, corruption and cross border financial crimes are impediments to development, economic growth, and the realization of the well-being of citizens across the globe. Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption.

"In particular, I call upon the global community to urgently redouble efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin," the president had appealed.

YOUR SINS WILL ALWAYS FIND YOU OUT : DE-GOATING OF A YAM FARM : We started investigating Alison-Madueke since 2013 – UK National Crime Agency ... PremiumTimes

Former Nigeria's Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke

The UK National Crime Agency [NCA] on Saturday said investigation into allegations of corruption against Nigeria’s former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the four other people arrested Friday had been on since 2013.
In an update on its website, the NCA said, “The investigation commenced in 2013 under the Proceeds of Corruption Unit, and transferred to the NCA earlier this year.”
Until recently, the Proceeds of Corruption Unit was domiciled at the Metropolitan Police Service.
But after the International Corruption Unit was created at the NCA in line with the UK Anti-Corruption Plan, the Proceeds of Corruption Unit at the Metropolitan Police and the Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit of the City of London Police were scrapped.
The ICU then became the UK’s prime agency  for the investigation of bribery of foreign public officials by individuals or companies from the UK, and money laundering by corrupt foreign officials and their associates.
In its update Saturday, the NCA also said it had released the former minister on “conditional bail”.
The other four unnamed persons arrested with her were also granted bail.
“All five people arrested were released on conditional police bail later that evening, pending further investigation both in the UK and overseas.”
The conditions of the bail are not immediately clear.
But people familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES that Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her colleagues were barred from travelling out of the UK pending conclusion of investigation and their arraignment in court.
One source said the suspects’ travelling documents were seized, but PREMIUM TIMES has been unable to independently verify that as at the time of this report.
The source also said the suspects were also warned against any attempt to tamper with evidence.
PREMIUM TIMES had on Friday exclusively reported the arrest of the former minister, alongside four others, by the UK agency over offences related to bribery, corruption and money laundering.
The identities of the four other people arrested along with Mrs. Alison-Madueke, could not be immediately ascertained.
Former minister accused of graft
​Mrs. Alison-Madueke, one of the most influential officials of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, was first appointed into the federal cabinet in 2007.
A former board member of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, she was later appointed Minister of Transport by former President Umaru Yar’adua.
In December 2008, she was redeployed to the mines and steel development ministry.
After former Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became acting president, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was appointed Nigeria’s first female petroleum minister in February 2010, a position Mrs. Alison-Madueke held till May 29, 2015 when Mr. Jonathan left office.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s tenure as petroleum minister turned out one of Nigeria’s most controversial, amid unending allegations of massive corruption.
Under her watch, dubious oil marketers stole trillions of naira of oil subsidy money. She retained her position despite an indictment by the House of Representatives which investigated the fuel subsidy scandal.
Probes by independent audit firms, including the KPMG and PriceWaterhousecoopers, confirmed that billions of dollars of oil money were missing. The most notable case of missing money involved $20billion in 2014, as alleged by a former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi.
Several shady deals exposed by PREMIUM TIMES and confirmed by government and independent auditors were linked to the former minister and her cronies.
Long before her stint in the oil and gas sector, Mrs. Alison-Madueke was investigated by the Nigerian Senate on allegation she paid N30.9 billion to contractors while she held office as transportation minister.
In 2009, the Senate indicted and recommended her prosecution for allegedly transferring N1.2 billion into a private account of a toll company without due process.
Regardless of the indictments, Mrs. Alison-Madueke got elected in November 2014 as the first female president of oil producing countries alliance, OPEC.
The former minister consistently denies wrongdoing. In June, after leaving office, she rejected all allegations of embezzlement saying she never stole from Nigeria.

AN ANOINTING FOR BLOWS : Photo: MFM, Mountain Of Fire Pastor Beats Wife Who Quit Marriage Over Domestic Violence ... NigeriaCamera

Mountain Of Fire Pastor Attacks Wife Who Quit Marriage Over Domestic Abuse.An aggressive Pastor with MFM (Mountain of Fire Ministries) identified as Tunde Tolulope Ajayi attacked his estranged wife yesterday days after she told him she is leaving for good

mfm pastor beat wife
Pastor Mrs Yemisi Abiose Ajayi was rescued by passersby yesterday after she raised an alarm at Adura bus stop in Alagbado area of Lagos yesterday.

The victim said Pastor Ajayi stole her N17000, phone and other valuable
Even after the attack, Mrs Ajayi said she is quitting her 17-year-old marriage that was plagued with constant beating and maltreatment.
The marriage is blessed with three children.

THE DE-GOATING OF A YAM FARM ... THE DRAGNET BROADENS : French Police Detain Nigerian Private Jet Carrying President Jonathan's Front Man ... SaharaReporters

SaharaReporters has learnt that French law enforcement officers detained a private jet conveying a Nigerian businessman, Jide Omokore, in Paris. Mr. Omokore is one of President Goodluck Jonathan’s closest business associates.
The Abuja-bound plane had arrived in Paris from Monaco. A French police source who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity disclosed that the plane was detained for two days.
The source did not disclose the make and model of the jet nor the exact date the aircraft was detained, but disclosed that the private jet was detained as part of an investigation into its ownership. Even though the source refused to reveal more, stating that further disclosure could compromise their investigation, a source in Abuja told SaharaReporters that French authorities seemed interested in finding out if the jet belonged to a Nigerian official. The Abuja source stated that Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke may be the focus of the French investigation.
SaharaReporters was told that the detained jet was flying Mr. Omokore and two women when it was impounded for two days. The jet was later released and was then flown back to Nigeria with Mr. Omokore on board.
The name of the Kogi-born Jide Omokore has featured prominently in the recent fuel subsidy scandal that rocked the Nigerian economy. In Abuja circles, he is well known as a front man for President Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Alison-Madueke.

Friday, October 2, 2015

THE DE-GOATING OF A YAM FARM ... LIKE DSP, LIKE DAM, THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR : Alleged Bribery, Corruption And Money Laundering: FG Mulls Diezani’s Extradition ... LeadershipNews

Hours after the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke was arrested by the United Kingdom National Crime Agency, and her residences in Abuja and Lagos simultaneously raided by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Federal Government has started mulling the idea of having her extradited back to Nigeria.
Diezani was arrested yesterday alongside four other people on offences related to bribery, corruption and money laundering. Even though the names of the other four couldn’t be ascertained, but just after the arrest of Diezani in London, EFCC operatives who stormed her home in Abuja also stormed the home of one Jide Omokore, a business friend of hers while she held sway as oil minister.
There were reports that Omokore’s 9 Turnbull Street home in Ikoyi, was raided by EFCC operatives. His office on Glover Street, also in Ikoyi was also under lock-down by EFCC officials.
Information gotten by LEADERSHIP Weekend shows that the arrest of Diezani by the Seizure Organised Crime Agency of the United Kingdom was at the behest of the EFCC which has been working discreetly and collaborating with the UK police on investigating Diezani and several other high-profile Nigerian government officers.
Even though her passport was seized and she was released on bail after hours of questioning by the London police, she was however, mandated to report at the Charing Cross Police Station on Monday, where she will continue answering question from the Seizure Organised Crime Agency who arrested her.
The former minister is in the the books for offences related to bribery, corruption and money laundering. When contacted, the British High Commission in Nigeria confirmed that some arrests were made Friday but declined to disclose the identities of those arrested.
Joseph Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, said, “This morning, five people between the ages of 21 and 60 were arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences. The crimes are being investigated by the National Crimes Agency.
“The National Crime Agency does not confirm identity at arrest nor provide information that could be used to corroborate the identity of an arrested individual,” he was quoted as saying.
Even though Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson of the EFCC refused to pick calls put through to him, nor replied text messages asking for conformation of the raid on both Deziani and Omokare’s houses, a credible source within the EFCC, who spoke to LEADERSHIP Weekend said “what you heard today (yesterday) was a result of careful and coordinated investigation by our commission. And I can confirm to you that more arrest will follow as we dig deeper into allegations surrounding a lot of high profile Nigerians on certain dealings.”
Asked whether they will initiate the process of extraditing her to Nigeria, the source said they will, when the London police are through with her. “The Commission will surely want to have her back in Nigeria so that we can also ask her some questions. But we will wait first and see the outcome. He also volunteered information that some officers of the EFCC will quickly proceed to the United Kingdom so they can be close and monitor proceedings.
Also, When LEADERSHIP Weekend contacted the force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, to confirm the planned extradition, the spokesman said she was not aware but would have to make some contacts and get back . As at the time of filling this report, the police PRO had not gotten back to our reporter. But a source said the police are out to carry out the plans of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the repatriation of the country’s money stolen and freighted to foreign countries.
“Yes the police played a role in the arrest of the former petroleum minister and we are making collaborative moves to extradite her into the country to face charges of corrupt enrichment and money laundering,” the source said.
Asked how soon the extradition is expected to materialise, the source said he could not yet be certain due to some of the legal processes that would clear the way for the action.
LEADERSHIP Weekend further sought clarification from the Ministry of Justice on whether officials of the ministry were aware of the arrest. A very senior official in the ministry of justice could not confirm to LEADERSHIP Weekend, if the arrest was as a result of an agreement between the government of the United Kingdom and that of Nigeria.
When asked to confirm or deny, if the government has anything to do with the arrest, he simply said he was going to make enquiries from a superior officer.
When LEADERSHIP WEEKEND put another call through to find out the true position, his mobile telephone rang severally with no one answering.
But In its reaction, the presidency said last night that the arrest of the former petroleum resources minister in London was an indication that the world is actually listening to President Muhammadu Buhari’s appeal for assistance in the ongoing war against corruption in the country.
The presidency was reacting to questions as to whether the arrest of Mrs. Alison-Madueke and four others by the British crime agency was based on its request.
When contacted by LEADERSHIP Weekend on telephone, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina simply said, “We have no information”.
The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, however, told our correspondent that although he was not aware of any request by the presidency for Deziani’s arrest, the action taken by the British Crime Agency showed that the world was listening to President Buhari.
Shehu said, “I am not aware of any request. But you are aware of what President Buhari told world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations; that they should assist in facilitating the return of stolen funds back to their countries of origin.
“If the arrest of the former minister has actually taken place in the U.K, then it definitely means that the world is listening to President Buhari’s call for assistance in the anti- corruption war”.
President Buhari had on Monday in New York urged world leaders heading countries where proceeds of corruption were being stashed to do more in returning the stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.
Addressing the world leaders at the UN general assembly, the Nigerian President had said, “Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption.
“In particular, I call upon the global community to urgently redouble efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin”.
As at the time of going to press, LEADERSHIP weekend found out that the Asokoro home of the former minister was still under locks by officials of the EFCC who continued searching the house.

THE DE-GOATING OF A YAM FARM ... THE DRAMA AT HOME AND ABROAD : EFCC raids homes of Jide Omokore, Diezani in Lagos, Abuja ... TheNews

 Diezani Allison-Madueke
The arrest of Diezani Alison-Madueke in London  today may just be the tip of a well coordinated international operation to nab all those suspected to have stolen Nigeria’s oil money under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Just after the arrest of Diezani in London by the UK National Crime Agency, EFCC operatives also stormed her home in Abuja, simultaneously as they also stormed the home of Jide Omokore, one of her  visible business allies  while oil minister.
Omokore owns SPOG and Atlantic Energy . He was   said to be involved in multi-billion dollar oil deals, including kerosene scam that dented Nigeria’s treasury by over $6billion. He was famous for throwing a lavish wedding for his son in Dubai, for ‘a chicken change’ of several millions of dollars.
Jide Omokore
Jide Omokore

According to sources, Omokore’s  9 Turnbull Street  home in Ikoyi  was raided today by EFCC operatives. His office on Glover  Street, also in Ikoyi was also  under Lockdown  by EFCC officials.
One source even said,  Omokore’s  wife locked herself inside one of the rooms at Turnbull, hiding from the operatives.
Diezani, 55,  was Nigeria’s first female oil minister and was believed to have exercised too much power in violation of the limits of her office.
Under her watch, Nigeria failed to benefit from the oil boom years, when a barrel was going for over $120,  before the  bust of 2014, when prices crashed.
Nigeria’s former governor of Central bank,  Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, cried out about an unremitted $20 billion into the treasury, but all he got for his whistle-blowing were abuses and the termination of his appointment, few months to the end of his tenure.
Lamido is now the powerful Emir  Muhammed Sanusi of the biggest northern Nigerian city of Kano.
Part of the anomalies Sanusi pointed out before he was sacked by Jonathan was confirmed by the PWC auditors when they looked into NNPC books and unearthed a 2011 Strategic Partnership Agreements, involving Omokore’s Atlantic Energy and kola Aluko’s Seven Energy.
In 2011, as part of the efforts to promote local content, Shell sold its shares in 5 oil fields where NNPC was the majority shareholder. Shell had been the operator of these oil wells but NNPC awarded the operator rights to its subsidiary NPDC , that is,  it allowed Shell to sell its shares but not the rights to operate them as it previously did.
NPDC then signed an ‘agreement’ worth almost $7bn with Seven Energy(Kola Aluko) (3 fields) and Atlantic Energy(Jide Omokore) (2 fields) for them to operate the fields. These companies of course had no clue how to operate the oil fields – Atlantic was registered as a company the day before it signed the agreement – so of course they sub-contracted the work to other companies. Seven Energy’s contract entitled it to 10% of the profits from the 3 fields while Atlantic was entitled to 30% of profits in its 2 fields.
Sanusi’s  complaint was that these two companies were pointless and were just collecting money that should have accrued to Nigeria. The two companies also did not pay any taxes or royalties whatsoever to Nigeria.
EFCC kept mute on what they looking for in all the homes raided today. One official simply told TheNEWS: It’s true that the raids are on. Our men are still there. But I am not allowed to comment officially”.
President Buhari recently said his government was ready to prosecute all those who stole Nigeria’s oil money.