Showing posts with label Corruption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corruption. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Abacha’s family challenges revocation of Abuja land

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed 27 June for judgment in a suit by the family of the late Nigerian military ruler, Sani Abacha, challenging the revocation of his property in the Maitama District of Abuja.

The judge, Peter Lifu, fixed the date for judgement after the lawyer to the family of the late dictator, Reuben Atabo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and those of the defendants led by James Onoja, also a SAN, adopted their processes and argued their case for and against the suit.

Mr Abacha, the partriach of the Abacha family, was a constant feature during the the dark era of military regimes between the 1980s and 1990s, variously serving as the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defence Staff and the Minister of Defence, until he became the Head of State in 1993.

Mr Abacha, a general, seized power from the interim national government of Ernest Shonekan on 17 November 1993 and ruled Nigeria until he died at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on 8 June 1998.

The developed piece of land in question was revoked from the family in 2006, about eight years after Mr Abacha died in office.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suit was instituted by the widow of the late Mr Abacha, Maryam Abacha, and her eldest surviving son, Mohammed Sani Abacha.

The defendants in the suit are the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA); President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Salamed Ventures Limited as 1st to 4th respectively.

The applicants asked the court to set aside the purported revocation of the certificate of occupancy (CoO) of the property of the late Abacha located in the Maitama District.

The C of O marked FCT/ABUKN 2478 covering Plot 3119, issued on June 25, 1993, was said by the family to have been illegally and unlawfully revoked by the defendants.

How it began

In their statement of claims, the Abacha family said that the FCT, under Nasir El-Rufai, had instructed them to submit the C of O in their possession for re-certification.

They claimed that the 2nd plaintiff, Mohammed Sani Abacha, promptly complied with the directive by delivering the C of O to the FCDA and acknowledgement copy issued to him.

While waiting for a new C of O to be issued to them, Mohammed Abacha said he received a letter on 3 February 2006, notifying them that the C of O had been revoked without any reason adduced in the letter.

Besides the failure to give any reason for the revocation, the Abacha family alleged that adequate compensation was not paid as required by law.


The family therefore asked the court to declare as unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, null and void and of no effect, the purported revocation of the property.

They sought an order of the court setting aside the purported revocation and holding that their CoO is valid and subsisting having been revoked without payment of adequate compensation.

According to them, the Certificate of Occupancy issued to the late Head of State was maliciously revoked without legal basis or justification

The plaintiffs asked for an order of injunction prohibiting the defendants from taking any further step on the disputed revocation.

Similarly, they prayed to award N500 million as damages to be paid to them by the four defendants.


However, the defendants in their separate counter-affidavits and preliminary objections, asked for outright dismissal of the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2016.

The defendants claimed that the suit at the time it was instituted had become statute barred having not been filed within time allowed by law, among other arguments.

Although, some of the defendants were not in court at Wednesday’s proceedings, the judge, Mr Lifu invoked the rule of the court in adopting their processes already filed.


Mr Abacha ruled Nigeria with an iron fist between 1993 and 1998, when he suddenly died in office.

He seized power on 17 November 1993 after he dislodged the Ernest Shonekan-led interim government installed by the regime of Ibrahim Babangida.

Premium Times

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Former Kwara finance commissioner arrested for N1.22 billion fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a former Commissioner for Finance in Kwara State, Ademola Banu, at the Federal High Court in Ilorin over alleged money laundering and misappropriation of state funds to the tune of N1.22 billion.

Mr Banu was arraigned before the judge, Evelyn Anyadike, on Monday, a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Tuesday said.

The defendant was alleged to have, among other sundry offences, conspired to divert the said sum during the administration of then-Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed between May 2011 and May 2019 when he served as the Commissioner for Finance.

Mr Banu was to be arraigned alongside his principal, former Governor Abdulfatah, on 23 February 2024, but the scheduled hearing was stalled because he was not in court, prompting the judge to issue a warrant of arrest against Mr Banu.

The court, on the said date, took the plea of Mr Abdulfatah on the 12-count charge preferred against him and Mr Banu.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, the two defendants – Messrs Abdulfatah and Banu – listed as the first and second defendants in the charge, were present in court.

When the case was called, A. A. Ajibade, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), announced the appearance for Mr Abdulfatah, while Gboyega Oyewole, a SAN, for Mr Banu, and the prosecution team was led by Rotimi Jacobs, also a SAN.

Mr Jacobs informed the court that the second defendant, who was unavailable at the last sitting when his co-defendant, Mr Abdulfatah, was arraigned, was finally in court to take his plea.

In response, Mr Banu’s lawyer, Mr Oyewole, prayed the court to discharge the bench warrant earlier issued against his client, which Mr Jacobs did not oppose.

In a bench ruling, the judge vacated the bench warrant on the second defendant, setting the stage for his arraignment.

Thereafter, Mr Banu pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

Following his plea, Mr Oyewole applied for his client’s bail. He prayed the court to grant the application on liberal terms, citing Mr Banu’s medical conditions.

But, the prosecution lawyer did not oppose the bail request given the earlier ruling.

Bail conditions

The judge granted the second defendant bail of N20 million with two sureties in like sum.

Ms Anyadike said the sureties must have landed property within the court’s jurisdiction.

She added that the sureties must deposit three passport photographs with the court’s registrar.

The sureties must also produce evidence of payment of electricity bills for the last three months.

Furthermore, the judge ordered that the sum of N5 million must be paid as a bond into the litigation account of the Federal High Court by the defendant, which will be returned to him after the final determination of the case but forfeited to the federal government in the event the defendant jumps bail.

The judge also ordered the defendant to deposit his passport with the court.

She said Mr Banu must not travel without the court’s permission but may apply for it on medical grounds.

Thereafter, the judge ordered the defendant to be remanded in the custody of the EFCC, pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

The case has been adjourned to 25 and 26 June for trial.

Premium Times

Related stories: Nigerian film star Amal Umar arrested on bribery charges

Nigeria recovers $24m in poverty minister Betta Edu investigation

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Nigerian film star Amal Umar arrested on bribery charges

One of Nigeria's most popular actresses has been arrested for allegedly trying to bribe a police officer in Kano state.

Police say Amal Umar gave an officer 250,000 naira (£137; $175) to have her impounded car released.

Her lawyer Adama Usman says she denies the charges, saying it was a police officer who first asked for money.

She has appeared in hundreds of movies over the past decade and is also well known in neighbouring countries.

Amal, as she is known by fans of Kano's film industry, Kannywood, has millions of followers on social media.

According to the police, Amal's car was seized over a year ago on suspicion it had been purchased using proceeds of fraud allegedly committed by her boyfriend.

"She gave our officer 250,000 [naira] with a promise to bring more money," Kano police spokesman Bashir Muhammad told the BBC.

Amal's lawyer Mrs Usman told the BBC they would continue to fight the case in court as she thinks the Fuska Biyu star was coerced.

"This is simply a case of abuse of her rights. We won the initial case in court where they were trying to link her with her boyfriend's activities which she has no hands in," the lawyer told the BBC.

"But the police are yet to obey court orders four months in by still holding on to her car.

"On this case of attempted bribery they are claiming, we are going to pursue it to the end because she was called to come and collect her car only for things to change," the lawyer said.

Amal, 24, has been freed on bail.

Police say Amal's boyfriend Ramadan Inuwa is wanted on charges of obtaining money by false pretences and is still at large.

He has not commented on the accusations.

By Mansur AbubakarBBC

Related stories: Kannywood filmmakers in Nigeria face jail if they show violence

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Nigeria recovers $24m in poverty minister Betta Edu investigation

Nigeria has recovered 30bn naira ($24m; £19m) as part of an ongoing corruption probe into a suspended minister, the financial watchdog says.

The funds were traced to more than 50 bank accounts, it said.

Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Minister Betta Edu was initially suspended in January over the alleged diversion of $640,000 of public money into a personal bank account.

President Bola Tinubu then ordered an investigation into her ministry.

At the time Dr Edu, 37, denied any wrongdoing. Her office said she had approved the transfer into a personal account, which was not in her name, but said it was for the "implementation of grants to vulnerable groups".

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said during its nearly six weeks of investigating so far, it had found "many angles" to examine.

"As it is now, we are investigating over 50 bank accounts that we have traced money into. That is no child's play. That's a big deal," its chairman Ola Olukoyede said in the latest edition of the agency's monthly e-magazine, EFCC Alert.

He urged Nigerians seeking redress to give the agency time to finish its probe thoroughly.

"We are exploring so many discoveries that we have stumbled upon in our investigation. If it is about seeing people in jail, well let them wait, everything has a process to follow," he said.

The EFCC chairman gave an assurance that the recovered funds were "already in the coffers of the federal government".

The suspension of a minister is a rare occurrence in Nigeria.

By Gloria Aradi, BBC

Related story: President Tinubu suspends humanitarian minister in corruption scandal

Monday, April 8, 2024

Ex-Central Bank Governor of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele pleads not guilty to fresh charges

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accused Emefiele of arbitrarily allocating foreign exchange of about $2 billion without bids and due process, it said in a fresh charge sheet with 26 allegations.

The move escalates the legal battle between the anti-graft agency and the former bank governor who’s also facing charges of fraud, corruption and criminal conspiracy.

Emefiele, who appeared before Lagos High Court Judge Rahman Oshodi, pleaded not guilty to all of the accusations, Bloomberg reported.

Following his inauguration in May, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu suspended the former central bank governor, whose policies on naira redesign and foreign exchange controls had drawn criticism.

Tinubu later ordered an investigation of the central bank’s operations and a report in December made more fraud accusations against Emefiele including holding hundreds of unauthorized overseas bank accounts, buying two banks through proxies and obtaining dollars through false claims. The allegations were added to his old charges in January.

However, Emefiele has vehemently denied all accusations levelled against him.

Emefiele's successor, Olayemi Cardoso said in February that about $2.4 billion unmet foreign-currency claims on the central bank were fraudulent and dismissed them because of irregularities.

By Adekunle Agbetiloye, Business Insider Africa

Related stories: Suspended Nigeria central bank governor Godwin Emefiele charged

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Friday, January 12, 2024

Video - Central Bank of Nigeria dissolves boards of three lenders over non-compliance

Nigeria's Central Bank has sacked the boards and management of three lenders due to what it called regulatory infringements and acts that pose a threat to financial stability. The affected lenders are privately-held Union Bank, Keystone Bank and Polaris Bank.


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

President Tinubu suspends humanitarian minister in corruption scandal

Nigeria’s president on Monday suspended the country’s minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation over the use of a private bank account for ministry financial transactions in the government’s social welfare program.

Betta Edu was suspended with immediate effect while Nigeria’s anticorruption agency carries out a “thorough investigation” of all ministry financial transactions,” presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said in a statement. It said the investigation would extend to the entire framework of Nigeria’s social investment programs.

President Bola Tinubu came to power last year promising to crack down on graft in Nigeria despite longstanding question marks around his source of wealth and educational records. Within a month of his inauguration, he suspended the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indefinitely for abuse of office.

His government said the suspension follows his commitment “to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency and accountability” in how Nigeria’s resources are managed.

Edu’s suspension comes days after local media cited an official memo in which she directed that 585 million naira ($663,000) worth of grants meant for vulnerable groups should be paid into a private account — a decision that the minister’s office said followed due process. The minister has denied any wrongdoing.

In a country where the government’s austerity measures have further squeezed millions of people facing extreme levels of poverty, many Nigerians criticised the use of a private bank account for the grants program and called for the minister to be fired.

The office of Nigeria’s Accountant General of the Federation said in a statement that such funds are meant to be sent directly from government accounts to the beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Umar Farouq, reported to the EFCC on Monday as it investigated alleged corruption in the disbursement of public funds during her time as minister. Farouq said on social media that she was at the commission’s office to “offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating”.

Al Jazeera

Related story: Court grants bail to central bank chief of Nigeria facing fraud charges

Monday, January 8, 2024

Dead evangelist TB Joshua accused of sexual abuse

 Before his death in 2021 at the age of 57, TB Joshua was one of Africa's most influential televangelists.

The Christian preacher attracted followers from all over the world by claiming to perform miracles, like curing blindness and HIV.

However, an investigation by the BBC has uncovered more than a decade of allegations of rape and torture by him inside his compound in Lagos.

Joshua amassed great wealth throughout his career, possessing a fleet of cars and travelling via private jet.

But his beginnings were far more humble. Born Temitope Balogun Joshua to a poor family on 12 June 1963, he was raised by a Muslim uncle after his Christian father died.

One of the claims he made was that he had been in his mother's womb for 15 months.

He also said that during his early days, he experienced a three-day trance in which he was called to serve God.

"I am your God. I am giving you a divine commission to go and carry out the work of the heavenly father," Joshua declared.

It was then that he started the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (Scoan), with eight members.

Joshua and Scoan rose to prominence in the late 1990s, amid an explosion of "miracle" programmes performed by pastors on Nigerian TV.

Tens of thousands of followers from Nigeria and around the world would regularly attend his services in Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city, in an attempt to be healed and hear the preacher's "prophecies".

Joshua also took his ministry on tour, visiting other African countries, the UK, US, and nations in South America.

In testament to his vast reach, the Lagos state government turned to Joshua in an effort to control the spread of Ebola during the 2014 outbreak in other West African countries.

Officials asked Joshua to tell infected followers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - the worst affected countries - not to travel to Joshua's Lagos church for healing.

He agreed to suspend some of the church's healing programmes but is also said to have sent 4,000 bottles of "anointing water" to Sierra Leone, falsely claiming they could cure the disease.

Joshua's anointing water was always in high demand - in 2013 a rush for the bottles at his church in Ghana led to the death of four people in a stampede.

Many criticised the preacher following the incident but police in Ghana said it was difficult to apportion blame.

In an even deadlier case the following year, one of Joshua's churches collapsed in Lagos, killing at least 116 people.

The preacher never faced charges, despite a coroner in a Lagos court saying that "the church was culpable because of criminal negligence".

Although thousands packed his churches, Joshua always struggled to be accepted by his peers.

Ostracised by both the Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), he was described as an "impostor" who belonged to a group of "occults" that had infiltrated Christianity.

"He was rough. He was crude. His methods were unorthodox," Abimbola Adelakun, assistant professor in the African Studies Department at the University of Texas, told the BBC in 2021.

While the growth of the internet and social media helped him spread his message, it also revealed increasing opposition to Joshua and other wealthy mega-church pastors.

Some critics took issue with Joshua - known as "the prophet" by his followers - claiming to have predicted numerous events, from the death of Michael Jackson, to the disappearance of the Malaysian plane MH370 in 2014.

Before Jackson's death in 2009, TB Joshua told his congregation : "In his own area he is famous. He is known everywhere. Great. Too great. Because I see something will begin to happen to that star and that will likely end in him to pack his load and go to the journey of no return but I don't know when that journey [is]."

Six months later, Joshua used the star's shock death as proof that he could supposedly see the future.

Despite making such outlandish claims, Joshua had numerous high-profile followers.

South African politician Julius Malema, Malawi's former President Joyce Banda, long-time Zimbabwe opposition leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai and the former president of Ghana, the late John Atta Mills, are among the prominent Africans who paid homage to Joshua while he was alive.

Joshua career really took off when he began preaching on Emmanuel TV, a television station run by Scoan.

Along with being a platform for his sermons, the station broadcast accounts of people who said their lives were changed for the better because of the preacher's ministry.

Testimonies included stories about financial prosperity, inexplicable recoveries from illness and even people supposedly being awakened from the dead.

Joshua was also known for his charity work, for which Nigeria's former president, the late Umaru Yar'Adua, awarded him the Order of the Federal Republic, one of the country's highest honours.

When the preacher died - of a cause that was never made public - mourners travelled from across the globe to Lagos for his burial service.

His wife, Evelyn Joshua, took over as head of the the church. They had three children.

But that legacy now lies in tatters.


Related stories: TB Joshua: Nigerian televangelist to be buried in Lagos

Controversial Nigerian pastor TB Joshua dies aged 57

YouTube shuts down prominent Nigerian megachurch preacher's channel for 'gay curing' claims

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Nigeria $11 bln damages bill for collapsed gas deal thrown out by London court

An $11 billion damages bill against Nigeria for a collapsed gas processing project which was procured by bribery has been thrown out by London's High Court.

The West African country was on the hook for the sum – representing around a third of its foreign exchange reserves – after a little-known British Virgin Islands-based company took Nigeria to arbitration over the deal.

But the High Court ruled in October that the contract was procured by Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) paying bribes to a Nigerian oil ministry official.

Judge Robin Knowles also found that P&ID failed to disclose the bribery when it later took Nigeria to arbitration.

He said in a further ruling on Thursday that the damages award should be thrown out immediately, rejecting P&ID's argument that the case should be sent back to arbitration.

P&ID was also refused permission to appeal against the ruling, though the company can apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

By Sam Tobin, Reuters


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Court grants bail to central bank chief of Nigeria facing fraud charges

A Nigerian court has freed former central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, who has been charged with six counts of fraud and corruption, on bail.

Emefiele, suspended as head of the central bank in June and arrested by the security services, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He was granted bail by Justice Hamza Muazu on Wednesday subject to the provision of a 300 million naira (roughly $333,000) bond and two sureties with properties in the upscale Maitama district of the country’s capital Abuja.

“I hereby admit the applicant [Emefiele] to bail subject to his appearance in court,” Justice Muazu said in his ruling.

The judge asked Emefiele, 62, to deposit his travel documents with the court and remain in Abuja while the case against him proceeds.

The disgraced former bank chief, who made an unprecedented run for the Nigerian presidency last year, was one of the country’s most powerful people in the last decade. He was head of the bank for nine years, mostly under President Bola Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari.

Emefiele oversaw a much-criticised system of multiple exchange rates used to keep the local naira currency artificially strong.

But then he fell out of favour with the government after Buhari’s exit and resigned in August, paving the way for Tinubu’s appointment of new central bank governor Olayemi Cardoso.

At his inauguration in May, Tinubu, who announced economic reforms, had said the central bank policy needed “thorough house-cleaning”.

Emefiele has since been accused of “conferring corrupt advantage”. Prosecutors cut the charges from a previous 20-count indictment, which he faced along with two others, so he could be tried separately and quickly.

He has not commented publicly on the case. 

Al Jazeera

Related stories:  Ex-central bank chief of Nigeria remanded in custody pending bail hearing

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Monday, October 23, 2023

Video - Corruption, disorganization have been faulted for revenue shortfall in Nigeria

Nigeria is facing a tax administration challenge characterized by corruption and disorganization within the tax collection system. Authorities say there's a significant shortfall between the number of taxes collected and what is reflected in the revenues.


Friday, October 13, 2023

President Tinubu nominates new head of EFCC

Nigeria's president nominated a lawyer to head its anti-graft agency after President Bola Tinubu suspended the previous chief amid corruption allegations, his spokesperson said on Thursday.

Tinubu's nomination of Ola Olukoyede, a former chief of staff to the previous head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), comes four months after he suspended indefinitely Abdulrasheed Bawa for alleged abuse of office.

The EFCC is tasked with investigating and prosecuting graft in Africa's largest oil exporter and biggest economy, which has grappled with endemic corruption for decades.

If confirmed by the Senate, Olukoyede will take the reins of an agency that is leading extradition proceedings for former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, charged with receiving bribes in the form of cash, luxury goods, flights on private jets and the use of high-end properties in Britain in return for awarding oil contracts.

Nigerians blame corruption by the political elite for widespread poverty in the country, which is facing chronic dollar shortages, a high debt burden, double digit inflation and sluggish growth. 

By Felix Onuah, Reuters

Related stories: US Treasury Secretary Adeyemo urges Nigeria to fight corruption

Former oil minister of Nigeria Alison-Madueke charged with bribery by UK police

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Friday, September 29, 2023

Britain urged to return James Ibori's loot to Nigeria

British and Nigerian civil society groups have urged the British government to return funds confiscated from Nigerian politician James Ibori, a convicted fraudster, to his country in a swift and transparent way so the money can benefit ordinary Nigerians.

In a letter to Britain's home and foreign affairs ministers, a coalition of close to 50 NGOs said the long-delayed confiscation process had undermined the strong anti-corruption message sent by Ibori's conviction over a decade ago.

"The years of disruption and delay in recovering and returning these stolen assets means this message has so far rung hollow for the Nigerian people," said the letter, made public on Thursday by one of its signatories, Spotlight on Corruption.

A former governor of oil-producing Delta State in southern Nigeria, Ibori pleaded guilty in a London court in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering and was handed a 13-year jail sentence, of which he served about half before going home.

Still influential in Nigeria, Ibori has had meetings with President Bola Tinubu in recent months and has friends and associates in other powerful positions.

The NGOs, which also included Transparency International and Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, said funds confiscated from him should go to projects benefitting the people of Delta State and implementation should be subject to civil society monitoring.

Efforts by British prosecutors to confiscate Ibori's assets began in 2013 but have run into repeated obstacles and delays in the London courts.

In July, a judge ordered the confiscation of 101.5 million pounds ($123.9 million) from him, one of the biggest orders under Britain's Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 since it came into force.

He has applied for leave to appeal against the order and his application is at the early stages of the appeal process.

By Estelle Shirbon, Reuters

Related stories: Former Delta state governor James Ibori pleads guilty to money laundering

James Ibori denied appeal for jail term reduction

U.S. to seize $3 million of James Ibori looted funds

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

US Treasury Secretary Adeyemo urges Nigeria to fight corruption

U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo on Monday urged Nigeria to work to stabilize its currency and fight corruption to unlock what he called the "unrealized opportunity" of Africa's most populous country.

Adeyemo, who emigrated from Nigeria to the United States as a child, is visiting Nigeria through Tuesday to underscore the Biden administration's commitment to deepening economic and trade ties with African countries.

His trip comes as Nigeria’s new president, Bola Tinubu, adopts reforms to revive the country's economy and is part of a broader push by U.S. President Joe Biden to strengthen ties and offer African countries an alternative to Chinese and Russian investment and trade.

"Your economic success is not only important to the approximately 200 million people who call Nigeria home, it is important to the region, the continent and the global economy," Adeyemo said in a speech at Lagos Business School.

The visit by Adeyemo, the highest-ranking member of the African diaspora in the Biden administration, comes after visits to the continent by other top officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Adeyemo said Nigeria could attract more foreign direct investment if it accelerated efforts to stabilize the nation's currency, the naira, and revamped its fiscal policies to end fuel subsidies and invest more in digital infrastructure, education and a strong small business environment.

Rooting out corruption, including by moving more licensing and other government functions online, would also fight skepticism and boost digital entrepreneurship, he said.

Adeyemo also called for steps to shore up the integrity of the Nigeria's banks and reduce the ability of "criminals, terrorists and others" to launder money through the Nigerian financial system. Washington stands ready to help Tinubu's government tackle challenges in this area, he added.

"The opportunity has never been greater," he said. "Your government is pursuing difficult and bold reforms. The United States looks forward to being a partner as you build an economy that works for all Nigerians."

By Andrea Shalal, Reuters

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Former oil minister of Nigeria Alison-Madueke charged with bribery by UK police







British police said on Tuesday they had charged former Nigerian oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke with bribery offences, saying they suspected she had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and top oil producer, has one of the most corrupt political systems in the world and its former colonial ruler Britain has been a destination of choice for Nigerian kleptocrats seeking to enjoy their wealth.

Alison-Madueke, 63, served as petroleum minister from 2010 to 2015, under former President Goodluck Jonathan. She also acted as president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2014-2015.

"We suspect Diezani Alison-Madueke abused her power in Nigeria and accepted financial rewards for awarding multi-million pound contracts," said Andy Kelly, Head of the National Crime Agency's (NCA) International Corruption Unit.

"These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation."

Alison-Madueke was arrested in London in October 2015, a few months after leaving office, and has also been the subject of investigations in Nigeria and the United States.

She has previously denied allegations of corruption but could not be reached on Tuesday. A London lawyer who was acting for her in 2015 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The NCA said she was currently living in St John’s Wood, an upmarket area of west London, and would appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Oct. 2.

It said Alison-Madueke was accused of benefiting from at least 100,000 pounds ($127,000) in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.

Charges against her also detail financial rewards including furniture, renovation work and staff for the properties, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer shops such as Cartier jewellery and Louis Vuitton goods, the NCA said.

It added that assets worth millions of pounds relating to the alleged offences had been frozen, and that it had provided evidence to the U.S. Department of Justice that enabled them to recover assets worth $53 million linked to Alison-Madueke.

Nigerian courts have also ordered the seizure of tens of millions of dollars' worth of assets including properties, cars, large quantities of jewellery and a gold iPhone in a series of rulings in recent years.

News of the British charges comes a month after a London court ordered the confiscation of $130 million from a former Nigerian oil state governor, James Ibori, in an unrelated but equally high-profile case involving political corruption in Nigeria.

With its highly developed legal and financial industries and lucrative property market, Britain is a global money-laundering hub and the NCA's anti-corruption unit is part of the authorities' effort to stem the tide of dirty money.

By Michael Holden and Estelle Shirbon, Reuters

Related stories: Ex-Oil Minister of Nigeria Seeks $215 Million in Defamation Lawsuit

Nigeria former oil minister Alison-Madueke arrested

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

20 new charges filed against suspended central bank chief of Nigeria

Nigerian prosecutors have filed a 20-count indictment against suspended and detained central bank governor Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday, one of them accusing him of “conferring unlawful advantages”, a government lawyer says.

President Bola Tinubu, who has embarked on the boldest reforms in Africa’s biggest economy in more than a decade, has launched a probe of the central bank under Emefiele after criticising its policies at his inauguration in May, especially moves to prop up the naira currency.

It was not immediately clear what the new charges were. But court documents submitted by the Attorney General’s Office last month showed that Emefiele faced criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation of funds charges, among others, which carry long jail terms.

Emefiele, who made an unprecedented run for the Nigerian presidency last year, was suspended by Tinubu on June 9 and has been held in detention by the secret police since June 10.

The suspended bank chief pleaded not guilty to a charge of possessing a firearm. A judge granted him bail following his plea on July 25 but he was immediately rearrested.

“We have filed a matter with comprehensive charges” and “we are withdrawing the [firearm] case at the Federal High Court in Lagos,” a government lawyer told the Reuters news agency.

Emefiele has challenged his detention and filed an application for bail but has not publicly commented on the accusations.

He introduced a multiple exchange rate policy to keep the currency artificially strong, which Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s predecessor, had viewed as a matter of national pride.

Appointed by Buhari for a second five-year term in 2019, Emefiele was due to retire next year. He was the second-longest-serving governor of the central bank and oversaw the biggest economic downturn of Africa’s largest economy.

Al Jazeera

Related stories: Suspended Nigeria central bank governor Godwin Emefiele charged

Former Central Bank Chief of Nigeria charged with Illegal Firearm Possession

Monday, July 31, 2023

President Tinubu orders investigation of Central Bank of Nigeria

Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu has appointed a financial watchdog to investigate the central bank, weeks after he suspended its governor, a copy of a letter from the president showed on Sunday.

Tinubu on June 9 suspended Godwin Emefiele, who was then detained by state security agents for allegedly misappropriating funds and a "criminal breach of trust." Emefiele last week appeared in court to deny illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition.

In a letter dated July 28, Tinubu appointed the chief executive of Nigeria's Financial Reporting Council as special investigator of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other government-owned entities.

The letter said the investigator should make weekly reports to the president.

"You are to investigate the CBN and related entities using a suitably experienced, competent and capable team and work with relevant security and anti-corruption agencies to deliver on this assignment," Tinubu said.

The investigator was to "provide a comprehensive report on public wealth currently in the hands of corrupt individuals and establishments."

A presidency source confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

Tinubu's spokesperson Dele Alake did not immediately comment.

Tinubu has embarked on the country's boldest reforms in decades, including removing a popular but costly fuel subsidy and lifting restrictions on foreign exchange trading, a gamble which he hopes will boost growth.

By Felix Onuah, Reuters

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Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Suspended central bank governor of Nigeria denies firearm charges

Suspended Nigerian central bank governor Godwin Emefiele appeared in court on Tuesday to deny illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition, the first time he has been seen in public in more than a month.

Emefiele was detained by the Department State Services (DSS) on June 10, a day after new President Bola Tinubu suspended him. A judge this month ordered the agency to file charges or release him.

Emefiele, dressed in a white kaftan and looking frail, pleaded not guilty to two counts of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, a Reuters reporter said.

The court granted Emefiele bail on condition of paying 20 million naira ($25,500) and said he should be remanded in custody in prison until the bail conditions are met or until Nov. 14, when next his case next comes up for hearing.

Emefiele was re-arrested by DSS officers after clashing with prison officials who attempted to take him into custody in line with the court's ruling.

Government lawyers had asked the courts in June to authorise Emefiele's detention for allegedly misappropriating funds and "criminal breach of trust", charges that carry lengthy jail terms if proved.

They secured a court order to hold Emefiele pending further investigations.

Emefiele was known for using unorthodox policies to keep the country's naira currency artificially strong and lending directly to businesses to try to boost growth.

Tinubu, who is embarking on the boldest reforms in Africa's biggest economy in more than a decade, criticised the central bank's policies under Emefiele at his inauguration in May, saying they needed "thorough house-cleaning", without providing details.

The central bank is due later on Tuesday to announce its first interest rate decision since Emefiele's suspension. One of Emefiele's deputies, Folashodun Shonubi, is acting central bank governor. 

By Chijioke Ohuocha and Seun Sanni, Reuters

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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Former Central Bank Chief of Nigeria charged with Illegal Firearm Possession

Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele was charged with the illegal possession of a firearm, according to a court document filed by the State Security Service.

Emefiele will face trial after an unlicensed “single barrel shotgun” and 123 rounds of ammunition were found at his residence in the commercial hub of Lagos, a copy of the charge sheet confirmed by Bloomberg shows. The SSS had said it was investigating Emefiele over allegations of major crimes including misappropriation of public funds and economic sabotage.

The SSS, which is similar to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, filed the charges against Emefiele in Lagos on June 13, the same day as a court in the capital, Abuja, ordered the agency to prosecute or bail the governor within seven days. The governor has been in custody since June 10, a day after he was removed from his post by President Bola Tinubu.

The alleged offense for which Emefiele was charged was not among the specific allegations listed in court filings previously submitted by the SSS. The organization then said it was investigating the governor over suspicions he had committed crimes including misappropriation of public lending programs, money laundering, terrorism financing and economic sabotage.

Emefiele said he is a victim of “a political witch-hunt” because Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, had been satisfied with his management of the central bank, according to a bail application filed on June 13. Tinubu took over from Buhari at the end of May following an election held three months earlier.

Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition carries a maximum prison sentence of five years under Nigerian law.

Anthony Osae-Brown and William Clowes, Bloomberg

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Friday, July 14, 2023

Suspended Nigeria central bank governor Godwin Emefiele charged

The suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was charged after a month in detention under a court directive Thursday that officials act against the man or let him go, the secret police agency announced.

Godwin Emefiele was charged after being investigated for alleged “criminal infractions,” said Peter Afunanya, spokesman for the secret police, the Department of State Services.

Afunanya’s statement, however, did not specify the charges filed against Emefiele in the capital, Abuja. The police agency had in 2022 accused him of terrorism financing and economic crimes, both of which carry long jail terms.

Shortly after he took office in June, new President Bola Tinubu directed Emefiele’s suspension, saying the move was related to the investigation of his office as the central bank governor and planned reforms in the financial sector.

Emefiele was then taken into custody and has been detained since, prompting him to sue the secret police recently on the grounds of illegal detention and a breach of his human rights.

While ruling on his application earlier Thursday, a high court in Abuja directed that the former central bank governor either be charged within one week or be released.

“The continued detention of the applicant cannot be justified in the absence of any charge against him. At the very least, justice demands that applicant (Emefiele) should be released on administrative bail,” the local judge said.

It is unclear what the duration of Emefiele’s trial could be though such high-profile trials in Nigeria typically last for several months.

The secret police said it would ensure professionalism, justice and fairness in handling the matter. 

By Chinedu Asadu, AP

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