Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - DIEZANI ALISON-MADUEKE: Some Questions

Edited


The impression I am getting is not that the EFCC has proved she acquired these properties illegally.

The argument so far seems to be that she is likely to to have acquired them illegally, for as Aluko put it, ' If it is NOT her, then WHAT GHOST acquired all of these properties, and what kind of WORK did that ghost do to get all the money to make the acquisitions?'.

Regrettably, the spillover of the 2015 election fight and the subsequent selective political opponent directed 'anti-corruption' policy of the fed govt has made many of us into selective critics.

The EFCC under Buhari is not an institution I take seriously. They are high on sensational claims and low on procedural proof when the chips are down in court.We have been here before with the flaming story of the judges whom money was allegedly discovered in their houses after EFCC commando raids but out of which practically nothing seems to have emerged eventually . In terms of double standards, the Ikoyi apartment discovery of a mysterious massive cash stash by the EFCC seems to have sunk into oblivion after the money was linked to the fed govt.

The govt has strenuously but unsuccessfully tried to indict various members of the last admin, from Okonjo Iweala's long running battle agst allegations from Edo state governor Adams Oshiomole, who made himself her personal auditor, to his efforts to indict the former agric minister, now head of the African Development Bank, to the former National Security Adviser Dasuki's story which seems to have no head or tail after the stories of massive money sharing allegedly from funds for fighting Boko Haram terrorism, with Dasuki languishing in detention as his case remains in limbo, stuck in the stasis of allegations without conclusive prosecution.

Apologies if any of my facts on this are inaccurate since I long lost interest in detailed following of what may be seen as  the 'anti-corruption' circus after observing the absurdities represented by the ballooning budget with its weird provisions and the clowning represented by the nation's chief executive claiming he knew nothing about those disgraceful oddities in the budget directed at siphoning huge sums for strange reasons, to the unquestioning appointment as ministers, of characters with clear corruption cases hanging on their necks to such self indulgences as the chief executive building a helipad in his village to his ridiculous appointment strategy focused on his ethnic kin talk less his subtle but definitive sponsoring of nation wide terrorism in the name of the dominance of his ethnicity-another banana republic or near banana republic story of the kind that drives underdevelopment in Africa and has mired development in South America.

People have observed that the govt unearths sensationalist corruption allegations when they wish to divert attention from their own failings. Right now, the burning issues are the long absence  outside Africa, of the chief executive, on account of an undisclosed ailment, on a self given open ended leave on Nigeria's money, as the very identity of the country is challenged by secessionist challenges, by demands for restructuring, by recurrent and systematic  massacres by Boko Haram and Fulani terrorism, with a group going so far as to stage protests for his return or resignation, a protest described as attacked by Nigeria's security forces.

This sceptical view could hold that the current resurrection of the Diezani allegations, the latest in a string of periodic revivals, is meant to titillate Nigerians so they may not look too closely at the dire crises on the ground, like the ancient Roman govt is depicted as using the gladiatorial games in diverting the attention of the populace from its challenges.

Anyway, Babachir Lawal, the chap described as swallowing a huge amount of money in the name of cutting grass seems to be treated disapprovingly by this govt to which he belongs, so that might suggest progress. I will not bore you with speculations on the possible link to his being made uncomfortable and Senate President Bukola Saraki's sudden freedom from corruption charges.

Perhaps as a selective critic myself, I am not eager to try to follow the Diezani allegations to their roots but to motivate me I will need help from the govt in terms of evidence of sincerity, thoroughness and comprehensiveness in its so called anti-corruption drive  to convince me I am not watching a show where there is no real distinction between thieves and non-thieves but a power play in which who is named a thief depends on their place in the political divide amidst other chess games played by a govt that spends most of its political capital  playing games.

thanks,

toyin

On 9 August 2017 at 23:12, Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju <toyin.adepoju@gmail.com> wrote:
The impression I am getting is not that the EFCC has proved she acquired these properties illegally.

The argument so far seems to be that she is likely to to have acquired them illegally, for as Aluko put it, ' If it is NOT her, then WHAT GHOST acquired all of these properties, and what kind of WORK did that ghost do to get all the money to make the acquisitions?'.

Regrettably, the spillover of the 2015 election fight and the subsequent selective political opponent directed 'anti-corruption' policy of the fed govt has made many of us into selective critics.

The EFCC under Buhari is not an institution I take seriously. They are high on sensational claims and low on procedural proof when the chips are down in court.We have been here before with the flaming story of the judges whom money was allegedly discovered in their houses after EFCC commando raids but out of which practically nothing seems to have emerged eventually . In terms of double standards, the Ikoyi apartment discovery of a mysterious massive cash stash by the EFCC seems to have sunk into oblivion after the money was linked to the fed govt.

The govt has strenuously but unsuccessfully tried to indict various members of the last admin, from Okonjo Iweala's long running battle agst allegations from Edo state governor Adams Oshiomole, who made himself her personal auditor, to his efforts to indict the former agric minister, now head of the African Development Bank, to the former National Security Adviser Dasuki's story which seems to have no head or tail after the stories of massive money sharing allegedly from funds for fighting Boko Haram terrorism, with Dasuki languishing in detention as his case remains in limbo, stuck in the stasis of allegations without conclusive prosecution.

Apologies if any of my facts on this are inaccurate since I long lost interest in detailed following of what may be seen as  the 'anti-corruption' circus after observing the absurdities represented by the ballooning budget with its wired provisions and the clowning represented by the nation's chief executive claiming he knew nothing about those disgraceful oddities in the budget directed at siphoning huge sums for strange reasons, to the unquestioning appointment as ministers of characters with clear corruption cases hanging on their necks to such self indulgences as the chief executive building a helipad in his village to his ridiculous appointment strategy focused on his ethnic kin talk less his subtle but definitive sponsoring of nation wide terrorism in the name of the dominance of his ethnicity-another banana republic or near banana republic story of the kind that drives underdevelopment in Africa and has mired development in South America.

People have observed that the govt unearths sensationalist corruption allegations when they wish to divert attention from their own failings. Right now, the burning issues are the long absence  outside Africa, of the chief executive, on account of an undisclosed ailment, on a self given open ended leave on Nigeria's money, as the very identity of the country is challenged by secessionist challenges, demands for structuring, by recurrent and systematic  massacres by Boko Haram and Fulani terrorism, with a group going so far as to stage protests for his return or resignation, a protest described as attacked by Nigeria's security forces.

This sceptical view could hold that the current resurrection of the Diezani allegations, the latest in a string of periodic revivals, is meant to titillate Nigerians so they may not look too closely at the dire crises on the ground, like the ancient Roman govt is depicted as using the gladiatorial games in diverting the attention of the populace from its challenges.

Anyway, Babachir Lawal, the chap described as swallowing a huge amount of money in the name of cutting grass seems to be treated disapprovingly by this govt to which he belongs so that might suggest progress. I will not bore you with speculations on the possible link to his being made uncomfortable and Senate President Bukola Saraki's sudden freedom from corruption charges.

Perhaps as a selective critic myself, I am not eager to try to follow the Diezani allegations to their roots but to motivate me I will need help from the govt in terms of evidence of sincerity, thoroughness and comprehensiveness in its so called anti-corruption drive  to convince me I am not watching a show where there is no real distinction between thieves and non-thieves but a power play in which who is named a thief depends on their place in the political divide amidst other chess games played by a govt that spends most of its political capital  playing games.

thanks,

toyin




On 9 August 2017 at 20:07, Mobolaji Aluko <alukome@gmail.com> wrote:
On Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 10:43 AM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
The stories of Nigeria's former petroleum minister make rounds everywhere: on social media, press, television. Scandalous. Very scandalous in the scale, if true. 
Some questions:
  1. If she could steal so much, how much, then, would Abacha, Babangida, Obasanjo etc could possibly have stolen?
  2. Is there a total lack of institutional control in a govt. that a minister can just steal, and steal, and steal? Is the civil service dead?
  3. If institutional controls are so weak, what is the worth of democracy?
  4. Can this kind of democracy create strong institutions? If it cannot, why can't we rethink it?

TF:

When you read the full OFFICIAL account below, the scale of plunder, if true, is simply STAGGERING.  If it is NOT her, then WHAT GHOST acquired all of these properties, and what kind of WORK did that ghost do to get all the money to make the acquisitions?

The fact of the matter is that when THE POLICE-RS of policy implementation are themselves seriously needy of POLICE-ING, then we get the kind of financial rot that we are in.    All of these requires the ACTIVE COLLUSION of:

    - Accountants, who helped to fiddle the books in the various MDAs
    - Auditors, who should have caught when monies were missing
    - Bankers, who should have inquired where all these monies were coming from, and helped move things around
    - Lawyers, who helped to draft these fake contracts
    - Court Registrars and Judges, who often "freed" these thieves for "lack of evidence"
    - State and Federal Inland Revenue services, who have refused to embark on a COMPREHENSIVE property audit       and taxation, to "lift the veil" on ALL property owners in flesh and blood.
    - Nigerian public, who episodically ask that their "thief" be left alone - "na im alone steal?"

Aaarggh!


Bolaji Aluko


--------------------- Below is an EFCC publication


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.
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 causewithin 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.
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,
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.


On Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 10:43 AM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
The stories of Nigeria's former petroleum minister make rounds everywhere: on social media, press, television. Scandalous. Very scandalous in the scale, if true. 
Some questions:
  1. If she could steal so much, how much, then, would Abacha, Babangida, Obasanjo etc could possibly have stolen?
  2. Is there a total lack of institutional control in a govt. that a minister can just steal, and steal, and steal? Is the civil service dead?
  3. If institutional controls are so weak, what is the worth of democracy?
  4. Can this kind of democracy create strong institutions? If it cannot, why can't we rethink it?
Where is Samuel Zalanga? His analyses on matters like this are always peerless.
TF

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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