BREAKING: Judge orders forfeiture of N34 billion linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke

A federal court in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of N23.4 billion, N9.08 billion, and $5 million (about N34 billion in total) linked to former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Muslim Hassan, who had issued an interim forfeiture order on the funds on January 6, on Thursday gave a “final forfeiture order” on the funds.

The judge said he was satisfied with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s argument that the monies were proceeds of illegal activity.

Details later…

EFCC Urges Final Forfeiture Of Funds Allegedly Diverted By Allison-Madueke

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told a Federal High Court in Lagos State that an Executive Director of First Bank Plc, Mr Dauda Lawal, allegedly laundered funds on behalf of former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.

 

The counsel representing the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, made the revelation on Tuesday while responding to a counter affidavit by the bank official.

 

Mr Lawal is seeking to discharge an interim forfeiture order of the sum of 9.08 billion naira.

 

About three weeks ago, Justice Muslim Hassan issued an interim order of forfeiture of the sum of $153 million to the Federal Government, following an ‘exparte application’ filed by the EFCC.

 

The EFCC linked the funds to Mrs Allison-Madueke.

 

The court had also issued 14 days to any interested party to appear and prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the government.

 

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Mr Charles Adeogun-Phillips announced appearance for Mr Lawal who is joined as respondent in the suit.

 

In his arguments before the court, Mr Adeogun-Phillips challenged the forfeiture order and urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of the sum of 9.08 billion naira to his client, on the grounds that same was obtained by coercion.

 

He argued that his client admitted having received the sum of $25 million in clear dispensation of his duties, but was purportedly coerced by the commission to further admit receiving a total of $65 million.

 

The 9.08 billion naira represents the naira equivalent of the difference of $40 million which Mr Lawal said he was also made to give up after being coerced.

 

EFCC Counsel, Mr Oyedepo, however, challenged the claims and insisted that the First Bank boss allegedly conspired with some other persons to launder funds on behalf of Mrs Allison-Madueke.

 

He urged the court to order a final forfeiture of the $153 million and the 9.08 billion naira already surrendered by the respondent, to the government.

 

After listening to all the lawyers, Justice Hassan fixed the February 16 for judgment.

 

Source: Channels TV

UK Probe: Dominica Suspends Ties With Nigeria’s Ex-Oil Minister Alison-Madueke

A Caribbean country, Dominica, has suspended all relations with Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, following investigations into her finances in the United Kingdom in October, in connection with alleged money laundering.

 
A statement by the Prime Minister of Dominica, a small Caribbean Island, Mr Roosevelt Skerrit, stated this on Monday.

 

The prime minister said, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs moved with dispatch to suspend all relations with Mrs. Alison-Madueke immediately following her arrest in October, 2015, pending the outcome of the investigations.
“This suspension took place in the month of October. Our position is that the relationship with Mrs. Alison-Madueke and all that flows from this will remain completely suspended until such time as the probe into her conduct as a minister of government is concluded and a determination made by the relevant authorities.”

 
Skerrit explained that in May of this year, during a routine stop-over visit to London, Alison-Madueke was introduced to him as the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria and also the immediate past President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
He said the discussions, however, took place well before any question of an investigation by the relevant authorities arose.
He said the idea of relocating to Dominica was never discussed, far less agreed, in any discussions with Alison-Madueke.

 
The prime minister added, “She served as an Executive Official and Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company in Nigeria. In my budget address to the people of Dominica two years ago, I outlined the intention and policy of my government to recruit persons of experience, influence and integrity to serve and represent Dominica in various capacities abroad.

 
“As a small nation with very limited resources, we do not have the capacity to establish consular or other offices in many regions of the world. In this case, who is better to speak for and on behalf of Dominica in parts of the African continent than a former President of OPEC and former Chairman of the West African Gas Pipeline Authority?”

 
According to him, the issue of the former Nigeria’s minister relocating to the Caribbean country was not discussed.
He stated, “The arrangement of Mrs. Alison-Madueke serving in an honorary capacity, with no direct remuneration from Dominica and Dominica facilitating her travels across Europe and Africa with the issuance of a diplomatic passport, was entirely in accordance with existing convention, protocol and practice, until the very recent and unexpected development of the investigations by the UK and Nigerian authorities.

 
“This development was not foreseen nor anticipated by the due diligence undertaken on behalf of the government, and could not have been and was not foreseen by me or the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica.”

 
The United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria could not be reached for comment on the alleged moves by the former petroleum minister to flee the UK.

 
The High Commission’s spokesperson, Joseph Abuku, had yet to respond to an email sent to him as of the time of filing this report on Monday.

 
The former minister was reported on Saturday to have obtained the citizenship of the Caribbean country.
She was said to have been offered a post as the country’s trade and investment commissioner.

 
The report added that no allowance had been offered to her.
According to the report, the former minister would promote trade and investments in Dominica at no cost to the country.
In return, she would have received all the necessary assistance and protection from the small Caribbean island in accordance with international law.

 

 

Credit : Today.ng

EFCC sets up four-man panel to probe Diezani

EFCC has commenced a full investigation into the activities of the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the NNPC by constituting a four-member committee of crack detectives to probe all the NNPC accounts which were supervised by the former minister.

The committee is led by a Superintendent of Police, who was seconded to the commission while the other three members of the committee are pioneer civilian operatives of the commission with high capacity for investigation.

It will be recalled that the ongoing probe of the immediate-past administration by President Muhammadu Buhari was to beam its searchlight on the alleged purchase of three mobile stages, costing $6.9m, by former President Goodluck Jonathan and two of his officials.

According to a document, which was obtained from the Presidency on Saturday, the deal, which is now a subject of investigation, was allegedly carried out by Jonathan; his Chief Security Officer, Mr. Gordon Obuah; and Alison-Madueke.

The fund was said to have been withdrawn from one of the numerous accounts of the NNPC.

The $6.9m (about N1.37bn) was said to have been withdrawn for the purpose of buying three pieces of 40-feet mobile stages for use by Jonathan during the campaign.

Besides the latest allegation, it will be recalled that a group, Crusader for Good Governance, had petitioned the EFCC accusing the former minister of squandering million of dollars of public funds to charter private jets.

The petitioners also accused her of spending $300,000 on an average international trip.

The group also alleged that the NNPC, a government agency she oversaw, maintained a Challenger 850 Visa jet which serves the former minister’s needs as well as those of her family. The cost of running the jet is $500,000 per month.

She was also accused of going to a meeting of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries in Austria in a private jet.

It was gathered on Sunday that the committee set up by the EFCC had since commenced probing the NNPC accounts and activities of the former minister.

A top operative of the EFCC, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “I think the commission has commenced investigation into this Diezani issue. It is not just about inviting her, the commission has set up a four-man team of crack detectives to investigate her operations in the NNPC.

“The terms of reference of the committee include to look into all the NNPC accounts which were under the supervision of Mrs. Alison-Madueke.

“The committee has since commenced work; they are still working. I think a very senior police officer, a Police Superintendent, is leading the other operatives in the probe of Diezani and multiple accounts of the NNPC.” The source said.

Jonathan, Diezani, Obuah face probe over purchase of $6.9m campaign stages

The financial heist committed under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has come under probe by President Muhammadu Buhari as he beams his anti-corruption searchlight on the alleged purchase of three mobile stages, costing $6.9m, by former President Goodluck Jonathan and two of his officials, a Presidency source has said.

 

According to a document, made available to journalists on Saturday by sources from the Presidency, the deal, which is now a subject of investigation, was allegedly carried out by Jonathan; his Chief Security Officer, Mr. Gordon Obuah; and former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

The fund was said to have been withdrawn from one of the numerous accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

 

The $6.9m (about N1.37bn) was said to have been withdrawn for the purpose of buying three pieces of 40-feet mobile stages for use by Jonathan during mass public speaking events.

 

According to the document, apart from the fact that the sum for the stages was “incredibly inflated”, there is currently no evidence that the stages were bought since the money was withdrawn.

 

The document read, “While the cost of mobile stages ranges in sizes and designs, only outlandish rock star musicians in Europe and the US spend hundreds of thousands on their huge stages way bigger than the 40-feet stages.

 

“Even then, those musicians and superstars would not pay over $2m per stage, according to industry sources.

 

“The process of procurement of the three mobile stages was neither known to extant Nigerian laws and due process regulations nor were the offices of the Auditor-General and the Accountant-General in the know, according to the investigators.”

 

It added that the phony purchase was carried out late 2011, a few months after Jonathan won the presidential election for a full term after having completed the term of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

 

Jonathan’s CSO was said to have initiated a memo to the former President on October 17, 2011, asking for the purchase of three mobile stages.

 

He was reported to have written in that memo to Jonathan that memo referred to “my earlier discussion with Your Excellency on the security implication of your public appearances and your subsequent directive on the need to procure a secured presidential platform.”

 

The Presidency source said on the same day, without any financial advice or purchase order reviews, the former President approved the request to buy the three stages and minuted the memo to the then Minister for Petroleum Resources.

 

In his minute, Jonathan was said to have written, “We have discussed this, please deal.”

 

According to the document, on the same October 17, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administrative Matters, Mr. Matt Aikhionbere, did another letter on the strength of the President’s approval requesting the minister to take action on the request to purchase the stages for $6.9m.

 

It added, “By the next month, an NNPC payment voucher, number 3840336, was already in place, revealing that the money was released.

 

“NNPC directed that the money be taken from one of its accounts in New York CITIBANK with sort code CITIUS 33, and Routing number 021000089.

 

“It was first routed from the US bank to an NNPC account in Zenith Bank account number 5000026593, Maitama branch in Abuja, from where the money was sent to a private account.

 

“The sum of $6.9m was then credited to a Sterling Bank account of one J. Marine Logistics Limited, Abuja, a company investigators said was registered by Obuah.

 

“The CSO himself, according to investigators, has not been able to show proof of the purchase and his memo irked his bosses at the SSS that he took the initiative to write requesting for the stages, an action which officials said was way above his pay grade.”

 

The document added that it was not the duty or responsibility of the CSO to make the determination on that purchase as he was meant to have informed the service, which will then review the situation and act accordingly.

 

It added that the $6.9miilion in question was promptly paid on Nov. 29, 2011 into a private account belonging to the former CSO.

 

“The former President approved the procurement of the mobile platforms without due process and bypassing the Procurement Act; neither was there an appropriation in the 2011 budget for such facility,” the document quoted investigators as saying.

 

It added that neither the then Minister of Finance nor the Director-General of the Budget Office was aware of the deal.

 

“Investigators say this is just one of the several instances, where the Jonathan administration used secret NNPC accounts to fund many questionable projects and for alleged personal financial aggrandisement.

 

“Already, the CSO has been questioned over his role and activities in the Jonathan Presidency. It will be recalled that he was arrested, detained, questioned and later released.

Diezani Flees To London For “Medical Attention”- Report

Reports gathered say following Diezani Alison-Madueke’s failure to get President Jonathan and ex-Head of state, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar to secure a soft landing deal for her from Gen Buhari last weekend, controversial Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke has fled the country to the United Kingdom.
It was gathered that Diezani has left the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Monday aboard a British Airways flight. A reliable source in the presidential villa told iReports-ng.com that “madam had to take off far ahead of the inauguration of the government of Gen Buhari because she is scared he may turn his searchlight on the oil sector.”
When contacted to confirm the Minister’s whereabout, one of her aides who pleaded for anonymity confirmed Mrs Alison-Madueke indeed left the country on Monday morning but gave a different reason for the trip. According to the minister’s aide “it is true the Hon. Minister traveled but she went to take care of her health because she has been down medically and she needs proper medical attention.”
Read More: newsposts247

Alison-Madueke’s Brother Abducted

Barely five months after the younger sister of Nigeria’s petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, was kidnapped in Port Harcourt, gunmen have abducted the minister’s brother. Joseph Agama, who is Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s younger brother, was kidnapped in the early hours of Thursday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, police said.

The Bayelsa State police spokesperson, Asinim Butswat, who confirmed the development, said that the command received news of the incident shortly after it occurred and had already moved to rescue him.

Mr. Butswat said the incident occurred at about 12.30 a.m. on Thursday at Yenaka community, a coastal settlement in Yenagoa Local Government Area.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Alison-Madueke Asks Court To Stop Premium Times, 9 Others From Linking Her With Missing $20bn Oil Money

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has sued Premium Times and 10 other individuals and organizations to restrain them from further reporting on the controversial missing $20billion oil money involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
In an application before Justice AFA Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s lawyer, Godwin Obla, from Obla & Co., sought and obtained an interim injunction restraining Premium Times and 10 others from “publishing or causing to be published any further defamatory statements” stating or suggesting that the minister “stole, misappropriate or colluded in the stealing of $20billion crude oil revenue”.
In the application dated March 13, 2015, Mr. Obla warned the persons and organisations to desist from “further publishing any disparaging defamatory or otherwise salacious materia (sic) as it relates to or affects our client.”
Those listed as defendants in the case are the All Progressives Congress, APC, Vanguard Media Limited and its editor, Mideno Bayagbon; Leadership Newspapers Group Limited and its editor Ekele Peter Agbo; Premium Times Services Limited and its editor in chief, Dapo Olorunyomi, and Vintage Press Limited and its editor, Lekan Otufodunrin.
Also joined in the application were the National Broadcasting Corporation and the Nigerian Press Council.
The Court directed the two government regulators to ensure Mrs. Alison-Madueke is not linked in any report regarding the alleged missing $20 billion either on broadcast media, internet, print or radio.
The court specifically ordered the media houses to “desist from publishing any materials or running any programmme alluding to the complicity or collusion” the minister in respect of “$20billion, $49billion or any other figure, howsoever computed or arrived at, which are purportedly/allegedly missing or ‘unaccounted’ for”.
“You are hereby advised to immediately ensure total compliance with the Order of the Hon. Justice Ademola and to further cease and desist forthwith from publishing any material, howsoever titled or presented and irrespective of its form and content, which alludes to any amorous, immoral, salacious and defamatory matters connected to or related with our client, including anything to do with any allegation(s) or insinuation that our client colluded, was involved with or is complicit in the matter of a purportedly/allegedly missing $20billion, $49billion or any other amount whatsoever, until the determination of the substantive suit,” it stated.
Warning that compliance to the court order was not discretionary, but mandatory, Mr. Obla said that any attempt to do otherwise would be tantamount to flouting a subsisting order of a competent court.
“Failure to heed or give effect to the subsisting orders of the court will lead to the full force of the law being brought to bear upon your organization,” he said.
The missing $20 billion oil money was first raised by former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, who accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of not accounting for the amount.
As petroleum minister, Mrs. Alison-Madueke is the chairperson of the board of the NNPC.
While the government denied that funds were missing, it ordered a forensic audit of the NNPC, carried out by PriceWaterHouseCoopers Limited.
Several months after the completion of the audit, President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the report be withheld.
Last month, Mrs. Alison-Madueke told the Financial Times of London that the government was sitting on the report to ensure a “rabid” opposition does not exploit every of its detail to ridicule the government ahead of crucial polls March 28.
Under immense pressure from Nigerians, the government released a “highlight” of the report, which indeed proved the NNPC was indebted to the government, but at a much lower rate of $1.49billion.
The petroleum minister has since directed the NNPC to pay the money to the federation account.
Notwithstanding, many Nigerians have continued to demand the release of the full report.
The minister and her finance counterpart, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, have repeatedly flouted the directives of the House of Representatives that the report be made public.
Source; Premium Times

Diezani’s Kidnapped Sister Freed

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The kidnapped sister of Nigeria’s oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was abducted last week in the oil city of Port Harcourt, was freed in a joint operation by security forces, police said Wednesday.

“Osio Agama has been safely rescued during a joint operation by the police, military and SSS (State Security Service),” Rivers state police spokesman Ahmad Muhammad told AFP.

Muhammad did not say if ransom was paid for the release, the latest targeting relations of prominent Nigerians in recent months.

10 Curious Points You Must Not Ignore While Reading The CBN Report By The Financial Reporting Council – Omojuwa

 

  1. Based on the allegations raised, the suspended Central Bank Governor has a case to answer and he MUST as a matter of expediency state his own side of the issue. This should not be up for debate.
  2. The report was prepared by The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), formerly the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB). The council operates under the Ministry of Trade and Investment. The Ministry of Trade and Investment has a Minister who is subjected to the President of Nigeria. Essentially, the President himself might as well have prepared the report. It is like being a judge in one’s own case.
  3. The report repeated the same lines over and again. The 13 pages could easily have been two pages. May be those who prepared it felt repeating the accusations will make the number of accusations increase. Or repetition would make them believe their own report. One sensible way they could have increased the size of the report would have been to at least quote parts of the report of the referred joint auditors that suggest they DID NOT certify that the accounts give a true and fair view of the financial position of the CBN. The FRC stated their opinion was carefully crafted and was capable of deceiving the uninformed but the FRC could have helped the President better by at least quoting some of that “well crafted” opinion. May be they left it out to avoid the situation of that single line deceiving the President too?
  4. The report failed to mention the increase (or decrease) in income generated by the Central Bank in the period under review. They failed to tell the President in their reporting whether the Central Bank was remitting less money into the Federation account since the advent of the Sanusi Lamido administration or it was remitting less. They should have stated this. Not stating it should get one curious.
  5. According to the report, the Central Bank of Nigeria never did anything right with its financial reporting. This is interesting because one would assume that even the daftest of thieves would at least cover his/her tracks a little. It is either the suspended Central Bank Governor was naïve in never ensuring at least one thing was done right with the CBN’s financial reporting or the report of the Financial Reporting council of Nigeria had an intent from the beginning; nail Sanusi Lamido Sanusi by all means. One of my suggestions on this note is certainly likely to be true. Make your own decision.
  6. The report while speaking of some expenses made sure not to state that the expenses mentioned were likely to have catered for the Central Bank headquarters in Abuja, its regional offices across the federation and all the other offices located in all the states of the Federation. The Central Bank has a presence in all the states of the federation. Its budget covers all these states. Surely, this should have been stated in a report that sought to clear the air on financial recklessness or otherwise. May be the report had a clear intent from the get go. Like reporting to a charge, “Get me a Financial recklessness report on Sanusi’s CBN!”
  7. The report suggested the investigation into the allegations could not be carried out with the CBN Governor and his Deputy Governors allowed to continue in office. Curiously though, the President suspended only the Governor. Are we missing something here? This is of course not emphasizing that the Deputy Governors be suspended, it is only stating that surely Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was the specific target all along.
  8. The report was sent to the President 7th June 2013. The president ended up suspending the Governor on the 20th of February 2014. Why did the President wait for so long? Could it be because the CBN Governor refused to keep quiet about what he thought was the administration’s continued mismanagement of the economy? Was the straw broken when Sanusi Lamido finally dared the Oil cabal? Or could it be that the President decided he had to make the illegal move of suspending the Governor seeing as even if the courts find it illegal, Nigeria’s slow grinding court system would have ensured that with the tenure of the Governor ending only months later, the court ruling would have little or no effect on a CBN led by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
  9. The Financial Reporting Council let down its guard in its conclusion by finally giving an indication of the purpose of the report. It mentioned in its second bullet point “for political reasons.” Is a report that ought to be objective, based on facts and figures allowed to subjectively refer to “political reasons” as one of the reasons the President must act? This is probably arguably one of the most curious parts of the report.

10. The suspended Central Bank Governor no doubt has a case to answer based on this report, spurious or not. The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria under the supervision of the Mr. Olusegun Aganga’s Ministry of Trade and Investment certainly has a report that puts its independence on the issue in doubt. That’s expected, it derives its budget from the Presidency. It is an organ of the presidency.

Conclusion: It is impossible not to look at these issues altogether and not see that our country continues to be run like a Primary School Pupils’ club. Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke who could easily be assumed to be Nigeria’s de facto President openly stated on national television that she disregarded a Presidential directive that has since amongst other scams cost the country about $20 billion yet no questions have EVER been asked of her despite these and several other allegations. We see again and again that the Petroleum cabal is bigger than Nigeria and this will remain as long as the Jonathan administration, now globally renowned for its corruption, continues to hold sway.

God bless the patience and the looking-up-to-God energy of the people of Nigeria. Amen.

You can download the report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Memorandum submitted to the National Assembly on Non-Remittance of Oil Revenue below.

This is Japheth Omojuwa | @omojuwa

Views expressed are solely the author’s

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The CBN Report by The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria

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