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Revealed: US explain how Diezani spent $144m on furniture

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The United States of America has released the details of how  former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, allegedly laundered about $144m, using part of the funds to purchase a yacht, landed properties, furniture and artworks.

 According to the US, while she held sway as the Nigerian petroleum minister, Diezani, who was otherwise known as “the Madam” or “Madam D,” led “a lavish and privileged lifestyle,” spending “more than one million dollars on furniture, artwork, and other furnishings purchased within the Southern District of Texas, and shipped, in part, to London and Abuja, Nigeria.”

These were contained in a 91-page “verified complaint” filed by the US Government before the US District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, where it is seeking an order to forfeit funds and assets worth $144m linked to Diezani.

The US, in the “verified complaint” signed by a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Elizabeth Crispino, said Diezani allegedly acquired the assets with kickbacks from “an international conspiracy to obtain lucrative business opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.”

The assets, the US stated, were acquired between April 2010 and May 2015 when Diezani was “overseeing Nigeria’s state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”

Among the properties, which the US now seeks to be forfeited, are a 65-metre motor yacht, named M/Y Galactica Star; two properties known as 807 and 815 Cima Del Mundo Road, Montecito, Calif; as well as funds in a couple of companies.

The US stated that Diezani, with the help of  and in conspiracy with two Nigerian businessmen, Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore, “laundered the proceeds of the illicit business opportunities into and through the United States.”

In the court processes obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, the US detailed, using tables, the “living and lifestyle expenses for Alison-Madueke.”

One table, tagged, ‘Rental Payments,’ showed how Aluko and his company, Tracon Investments Limited, helped Diezani to make a total of at least £537,922 in rental payments for two central London residences both located at 22 St. Edmunds Terrace, London NW8 7QQ, where Diezani and her mother stayed between  August 2011 and January 2014.

Another table, tagged, ‘Transportation Services’, showed how Aluko and his beneficially-owned company, TENKA, helped Diezani to make at least £393,274.32 in payments to a car hire company, the “Chauffeur Company”, while Omokore and his own company, Energy Property Development Ltd., also paid at least £4,424.40 to the “Chauffeur Company”  to convey  Diezani and her family about the UK between December 2012 through at least July 2014.

The FBI agent, Crispino, stated, “Upon information and belief, the above payments were made corruptly by, on behalf of, or at the direction of Aluko and Omokore for the benefit of Alison-Madueke and/or her family, in return for Alison-Madueke’s having improperly influenced the award of the Forcados SAAs to AEDC and in anticipation of or in return for her improperly influencing the award of the Brass SAA.

 “In particular, the director of the Chauffeur Company has stated that in or around June 2014, he was assaulted in the hallway outside of Alison-Madueke’s known residence at Flat 19, 22 St. Edmunds Terrace, London NW8 7QQ, by two men known by the director to be Alison-Madueke’s associates.

“This assault occurred as the director of the Chauffeur Company was attempting to deliver a letter concerning approximately £224,000 in unpaid services provided by his company to Alison-Madueke.

“The director of the Chauffeur Company has further stated that, upon hearing the commotion, Alison-Madueke herself appeared and instructed her associates to settle the unpaid bill.

“As the preceding table indicates, roughly one month after the hallway assault, TENKA paid a total of £135,361.48 to the Chauffeur Company.”

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The unmasking of Diezani Alison-Madueke

Crispino said Diezani’s assets were liable to being forfeited “under 18 U.S.C. § § 981(a)(1)(A) and 981(a)(1)(C),” as they were “derived from, or traceable to the proceeds of ‘specified unlawful activity,’  as that term is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1956(c)(7), or a conspiracy to commit ‘specified unlawful activity,’ and as property involved in money laundering violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956 and 1957.”

Crispino stated that “Section 1956(a)(2) prohibits transferring funds known to be the proceeds of unlawful activity from a place outside the United States to a place in the United States, with knowledge that the transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity, including the proceeds of an offense against a foreign nation involving ‘bribery of a public official, or the misappropriation, theft, or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official.”

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )

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We Deliberately Shut Down Refineries – NNPC GMD

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We Deliberately Shut Down Refineries – NNPC GMD

NNPC boss, Mele Kyari

The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has expressed that the corporation deliberately shut down the nation’s refineries because they became unsustainable.

The GMD disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Upstream in Abuja.

He pointed out that the NNPC was unable to supply crude oil to the refineries, adding that the Excravos pipeline is the only one the NNPC managed to sustain through the contracting process.

He went on to express that it is practically impossible to run pipelines at their optimum capacity.

Also ReadBREAKING: NNPC Raises Petrol Depot Price, Marketers To Sell At N168-N170/Litre

“For instance, to run Kaduna and Warri refinery, you need to deliver 170,000 barrel of oil per day so that both will operate at 70 percent capacity,” he said.

Kyari said that at the moment, it only had over 5,000 kilometers of pipelines with 13 fuel depots, which according to him must be protected to forestall the activities of vandals.

“And I can tell you today that except the Atlas cove to Ibadan line and also the Portharcourt to Aba line, none of these pipelines is serviced.

“We cannot flow product into these lines, the cheap one is to say they are aged but the real reason is that the level of activities of vandals on these lines is gross, monumental, and profound.

“At every point within a month we fix 80 vandal points, the option is to shut them down and the result of having one depot is what we have seen in Lagos,” he said.

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Lai Mohammed Denies Announcing N5m Hate Speech Fine

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Minister Of Information, Lai Mohammed, Denies Announcing N5m Hate Speech Fine

Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has denied that he announced the increment of the speech fine from N500,000 to N5 million.

He made this known in a counter-affidavit in response to a suit filed against him at a federal high court in Lagos.

Recall that some months ago, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) announced an amendment to the broadcasting code, where the increment of the new fine was announced.

Recall that weeks after the announcement, NBC fined Nigeria Info FM for alleged hate speech after interviewing Obadiah Mailafia, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who alleged that a northern governor is one of the leaders of Boko Haram.

However, Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong proceeded to the court to challenge the fine.

Also Read: BREAKING: NBC Fines Radio Station N5m For Hate Speech

However, in the affidavit deposed by Sunday Ojobo, an official of the Information ministry, the minister said he never announced the increase of the hate speech fine.

“Paragraph 19 is denied. The 2nd defendant (Mohammed) did not announce an increment in any fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5,000,000 or any other because there is a governmental body or institution mandated to regulate and enforce the Nigerian Broadcasting Code,” an affidavit deposed to by a Litigation Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Sunday Ojobo, reads.

The minister further stated that the constitution allows for human rights to be suspended for the sake of national interest.

He wrote, “The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for derogation from fundamental rights in the interest of public safety, public order and for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.”

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‘Nothing To Forgive:’ Soyinka Speaks About Relationship With Gowon

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‘Nothing To Forgive:’ Soyinka Speaks About Relationship With Gowon

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka has commented on his relationship with former Head of State Yakubu Gowon.

Soyinka was in August 1967 arrested and placed in solitary confinement just as the Civil War started under Gowon’s regime.

Speaking about their relationship, Soyinka explained that there is no bad blood between him and Gowon and he does not think there is anything to forgive him (Gowon) about.

“We communicate whenever possible, he came for my birthday in Abeokuta here. And when he started to apologise – he made a public apology – I said, ‘There is no need for it,’” the playwright who was detained by the Gowon government for two years, in the wake of the Nigerian Civil War, told Channels Television.

Also Read: Gowon: AfDB President Adesina Warns Against Misinformation

Soyinka also revealed that General Gowon had on various occasions made efforts to meet him so they could talk.

He added; “He even asked the former ambassador to locate me so that anytime he was passing – I was in Europe and America then – so we could meet and talk. And I said, ‘any time’ but there is really nothing much to talk about.”

The playwright further disclosed that they later met at a conference and they talked about the Nigerian Civil War.

He said; “We hit it on very well and we joked. The ice was broken and since then, we have been friends.”

“The war, for me, is over.’ The ones I find difficult to forgive are those who lied against me. I don’t like liars; I just cannot stand liars.”

The former Head of State has been in the news in recent days over allegations that he embezzled half of the money in the Central Bank of Nigeria during his regime.

 

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