Since November 2006, the activities of the Proceeds of Corruption Unit within the UK Metropolitan Police Service tracing Nigeria’s embezzled loot have led to £3.5m being seized, £79.8m being placed under restraint and £20.7m being repatriated to Nigeria following criminal and civil proceedings.
In a Freedom of Information request by Ms Funke Obisanya dated 22 June 2009 and made available to Elombah.com asking “how much exactly the total amount of Nigeria’s embezzled loot the British courts were successful in seizing and how much of it was returned?”
UK Department of International Development, (DFID) confirmed that through the activities of the Proceeds of Corruption Unit within the UK Metropolitan Police Service since November 2006; £3.5m has been seized, £79.8m has been placed under restraint and £20.7m has been repatriated to Nigeria following criminal and civil proceedings. However, UK Department of International Development said this amount is not comprehensive.
A report published by a Transparency International UK (a non-governmental anti corruption organisation) which was partially funded by DFID, includes details of cases brought in respect of Nigerian assets in the UK, Including General Sani Abacha, former federal President of Nigeria; Chief D S P Alamieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State, Nigeria; Joshua Chibi Dariye, former Governor of Plateau State, Nigeria; Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba, former President of Zambia; Terry Wayas, a private businessman; Mrs Joyce Oyebanjo
On Sani Abacha, the report said, the extent of the misappropriation of public funds by General Sani Abacha, the military dictator of Nigeria between 1993 and 1998, is notorious. In the Global Corruption Report for 2004 issued by TI, Abacha was ranked fourth in the list of all-time political kleptocrats behind Suharto, Marcos and Mobutu, but ahead of Milosovic, Duvalier and Fujimori. A total of US $1.3 billion is believed to have passed through accounts in British banks controlled by the Abacha family.
The Nigerian authorities have made substantial recoveries – most notably from Switzerland, which has repatriated over US $500 million, and also from the return of funds during the initial domestic investigation into the misappropriations123.
However, there has also been a significant recovery through proceedings brought in the UK, and MLA in support of Nigerian criminal investigations124.
Civil proceedings: Approximately £110 million was recovered from the UK in civil proceedings brought by Nigeria, proceedings that arose from the buy-back of debt owed by Nigeria for the financing of the construction of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant in Nigeria’s Kogi State. The Abachas exploited the buy-back transaction corruptly to enrich themselves, using an offshore company to acquire the debt from Russian entities who then sold the debt to the Nigerian Government for twice the sum it had paid. The Abachas’ profit was approximately DM 500 million (£166 million), held in a London bank account.
The case was complicated by a claim by a third party that it had in fact been the true owner of the debt having, it was said, acquired it from the Russian entities prior to its purported sale to Nigeria.
Settlement discussions: At the conclusion of a series of meetings, Nigeria believed that the case had been settled and that the Abachas’ would pay the bulk of Nigeria’s claim. Within days, however, disputes arose as to whether and on what terms the parties had settled. This led to a trial before the English Commercial Court to decide whether the actions had been settled, and if so, on what terms. That trial lasted for six months and led to judgment in Nigeria’s favour125, a decision upheld on appeal.
Mutual legal assistance: The United Kingdom also provided MLA in support of the Nigerian criminal investigation into the Abachas, albeit at a slower pace than would be expected today.
A request for assistance was made by Nigeria in June 2000 and evidence gathered by the SFO was sent to Nigeria in 2004, following a legal challenge by the Abachas to the decision to assist the Nigerian authorities.
Further civil proceedings: In September 2001, Nigeria brought civil proceedings in London against about 120 defendants alleged to be involved in the misappropriation of funds by the Abachas.
The proceedings started with applications for disclosure of documents and information by a number of banks, and an application for a worldwide freezing injunction against the Abachas. On 25 September 2001, the Court granted the orders sought by Nigeria. However, although US $1.3 billion passed through London banks, only a relatively small sum is believed to have remained.
The proceedings have not progressed, although the worldwide freezing injunction remains in place.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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