Monthly Archives: October 2009

JAMES IBORI AS YAR’ADUA’S GOD FATHER


 

SOURCE:THE NEWS

James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State accused of a series of financial crimes at home and abroad, is President Umaru Yar’Adua’s most visible friend, a situation which has insulated him from the government’s zero-tolerance for corruption

He is Nigeria’s most powerful politician–apart from the President. Or its most corrupt, who should be made to pay for his alleged sins. Or both. Or neither. Of the four options, only the last seems wholly unlikely in the case of James Onanefe Ibori, former governor of Delta State.

Since leaving office in 2007, after his two terms as governor, Ibori has found another career as a powerbroker. And in his new calling, Ibori has done well, perhaps better than he did as governor. In Aso Rock Villa, seat of the Presidency, and within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the former governor looms large. He is one of the closest persons to President Umaru Yar’Adua.

To the army of favour and fortune seekers around Yar’Adua, Ibori is the power grid to which they must be connected. Aside the fact that Yar’Adua and Ibori were governors at the same time, the former Delta State governor is reputed to have been the biggest financier of Yar’Adua’s election in 2007.

It is an investment that has yielded a smorgasbord of dividends: influence, protection, patronage and power. Many of the key appointments made by Yar’Adua were not without Ibori’s approval. Mr. Mike Okiro, the recently retired Inspector-General of Police, and his successor, Ogbonnaya Onovo, required the former Delta State governor’s assent to get the job. Mrs. Farida Waziri, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, also owes her appointment to Ibori and his former governor friends. So does Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF.

David Edebvie, Principal Private Secretary to the President, was Ibori’s commissioner of finance between 1999 and 2004. Edebvie’s name has crept up in the ongoing London trial of three of Ibori’s aides for the sale of the shares of Econet Wireless Nigeria, EWN, a telecoms company now known as Zain Networks. Edebvie also worked in the Yar’Adua/Jonathan Campaign Organisation.

Another beneficiary of Ibori’s political muscle is Tokunbo Enaboifo, who was appointed Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Nigeria-São Tomé and Principe Joint Development Authority, JDA. Unlike the others, Enaboifo did not last long in office, quitting for “personal reasons” after the news of his conviction, for attempted bank fraud in the US, hit the streets last March.

Enaboifo, who was first indicted, fled the US for Nigeria, where he started hanging around Ibori, with whom he had been friends. Whatever regrets Enaboifo may have over his forced exit from the JDA is tempered by the continued relevance of Ibori in Aso Rock. That relevance has remained unaffected by the fact that he is alleged to have been twice convicted in London, where he remains a subject of investigation by the London Metropolitan Police as well as facing a raft of corruption charges before a federal high court in Asaba. Ibori’s prosecution began at the Federal High Court, Kaduna, in 2007. That, however, did not discourage the government from putting him on the country’s official delegation to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

For an administration that claims to abhor corruption, the choice of Ibori as a member of delegation to the games drew criticisms. That, however, did not bother the government, which has continued to treat Ibori like royalty. There are suspicions, with sufficient foundation, that the Yar’Adua administration is determined to shield Ibori from prosecution. On 10 September, Aondoakaa, the AGF, told reporters in Abuja that the EFCC had cleared Ibori and two other former governors, Arc.Victor Attah and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of Akwa Ibom and Lagos states respectively, over the sale of their states’ shares in EWN. In 2007, a petition alleging corruption in the sale of the states’ shares was sent to the EFCC for investigation. Though the agency has not concluded its investigations, Aondoakaa claimed the former governors had been cleared of alleged stealing of $38million from the investments of the three states. He explained that he was informed of their clearance of any wrongdoing by the EFCC after he received a request from British authorities to provide information on the transaction. The AGF explained that the EFCC investigated alleged money laundering in the shares sale and ordered Access Bank, bankers to African Development Funds Incorporated, ADFI, brokers of the transaction, to halt it pending the conclusion of investigations. “Later, the EFCC wrote the bank that the issue had been cleared,” Aondoakaa claimed.

He also alleged that it was Nuhu Ribadu, former EFCC Chairman, that rekindled the interest of the British authorities in the matter in a bid to embarrass Nigeria. Ribadu replied that Aondoakaa lied against him to remain in the good books of the government and that he only responded to the questions of the British authorities, which interviewed him as the EFCC Chairman when the alleged crime took place. Ribadu added that the British Police, which have requested that Ibori be released for prosecution, raided the office of Ibori’s lawyers and found documents hinting at money laundering.

However, the day after Aondoakaa made his claims, the EFCC stung him with a denial of such. In a statement signed by Femi Babafemi, the agency’s spokesman, the EFCC said: “The commission wishes to state emphatically that it has not at any time or in any correspondence with the persons referred to in the media reports or any other person, cleared them of complicity in all matters relating to them which are in court or still under investigations.”

The denial forced the AGF to claim that he was quoted out of context. Tinubu also denied benefitting personally from the transaction. In an advertorial published in major dailies, the former Lagos State governor said: “The Econet investment was to act as a catalyst for economic growth and to provide employment for Nigerians, particularly when the new company would encourage more direct foreign investment. It was a straightforward institutional investment, with neither myself nor any of my officials directly involved except, of course, the commisioner for finance who, by virtue of his office, sat on the board of Econet to represent Lagos State.” He challenged anybody with evidence to come forward with such.

Observers reckon that the inclusion of Tinubu’s name by the AGF was a clever way of deflecting suspicion from his main goal: protection of Ibori. Aondoakaa, however, insisted that the government is not protecting Ibori. Speaking with journalists in Benin, the AGF said those alleging that the former governor and others accused of corruption are being shielded from prosecution are blackmailing the government.

Last Monday in Abuja, Aondoakaa said the Federal Government would not accede to the request of the London Metropolitan Police to hand Ibori over for trial in Britain because doing so would amount to conceding the nation’s sovereignity to foreign powers. “The extradition of James Ibori to stand trial in Britain, as requested by the London Metropolitan Police, will not be granted automatic approval…If Ibori is handed over to the UK Police, based on the request we received, then all Nigerians stand the risk of being whisked away by foreign forces at will,” Aondoakaa said.

Four days before Aondoakaa announced Nigeria’s decision to snub Britain’s request for Ibori’s extradition, the former Delta State governor came out to defend himself against the allegations that are swirling around him. At a press conference in Lagos, Ibori alleged that his problems were caused by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who used Ribadu to “package me as the face of corruption and brand me as the greatest obstacle to Nigeria’s development”. Ibori traced his problem to teaming up with other governors to oppose Obasanjo’s re-election bid in 2003. “When I met him soon after the convention, he told me that he learned that I had put forward the view that he was unsaleable, unmarketable and unelectable. He then vowed that he was going to make sure that I was unsaleable, unmarketable and unelectable,” Ibori said of Obasanjo. He also alleged that the former president was angered by the campaign for greater resource control, in which he (Ibori) featured prominently while he was governor.

The former governor accused Ribadu of moving against him because he turned down his request for assistance in his bid become the Inspector-General of Police. “He vowed to deal with me and he started by politicising and personalising everything about me,” Ibori said of Ribadu. The former governor added that Ribadu’s claim that he offered him $15million bribe was false. The former EFCC boss, however, described Ibori’s claims as concocted. In a statement issued from his base in London, Ribadu said: “First, he lied that I solicited his assistance to become the Inspector-General of Police. I had it on record, while in office as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that James Ibori was a double convict. First, as a police officer and also as an anti-corruption campaigner, who was committed to doing his part to rid Nigeria of rogues. How could I have been seeking the assistance of a convicted felon for the highest police position in the country? If I wanted to be IG, he would be the last person I will consider to help me.” Ribadu said Ibori is desperate to escape justice, a reason for lying that he was “framed”.

“As he told the lie, and as I write this, the $15 million remains as an exhibit deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria,” Ribadu added. Two days after the former EFCC boss fired his riposte, Ibori launched another fulminating attack on Ribadu.He alleged that Ribadu approached him and some other people to unseat President Yar’Adua through the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal. Ibori also alleged that Ribadu worked for Obasanjo’s aborted third term bid by distributing funds to National Assembly members to support the bid. Again, Ibori claimed that Ribadu sought financial assistance from suspects, for the purpose of establishing a football club for the EFCC. The monies raised from such sources, added Ibori, were never used for the purpose for which they were obtained.

Ibori’s claims have attracted a little more than derision from the elders of the Niger Delta region, who spoke through First Republic Information Minister, Chief Edwin Clark. The elders said Ibori had lied.“Ibori has no reason to accuse anybody for his travail. If he did not commit a crime, will Obasanjo manufacture offences against him?” Clark asked, saying there was nothing to suggest that Ibori’s agitation for increased derivation and opposition to the former president’s third term was responsible for his anger against the former governor. “There is nothing to show that Ibori was against Obasanjo for the third term. After the third term, he and Obasanjo were hobnobbing; they were meeting together from time to time,” Clark declared.

He then insisted that the demand for a 13 per cent derivation was a collective agitation by the elders and all governors of Niger Delta states at the time. “All the houses he bought in London, was it Obasanjo who told him to buy the Total Oil company in Benin; and the purchase of five million Naira worth of diesel every month from Total, which came to about N300 million; and the shares he bought from Afribank, the five billion naira spent in Afribank, was it Obasanjo who was responsible for that?” he asked rhetorically. Clark also blamed the smooth relationship between Obasanjo and Ibori, which the former is denying, for the emergence of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Ibori’s cousin, as governor of Delta State. “There was romance between the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and Ibori. Ibori was frequenting Aso Rock almost every day and it was Obasanjo who imposed Ibori’s first cousin, Emmanuel Uduaghan, as governor of Delta State. We said that Uduaghan was going to be made to cover up the misdeeds of Ibori; Obasanjo said no. So I was surprised to hear that Obasanjo was the one who caused his present travail,” he said.

Clark demanded that the former governor should explain his signing of a supplementary budget of N120 billion into law on 14 June, 2004, without taking it through the state legislature. He also alleged that between 2001 to 2004, every supplementary budget never got to the House of Assembly, but was signed into law. The former Information Minister challenged Ibori to account for state’s fund to the tune of $37 million and the state’s shares in Oceanic Bank, whose value he clamed slid from N30 to N3, thereby amounting to a loss of about $15 billion. Clark accused Ibori of an attempt to buy Wilbros, an oil servicing company, with the state’s shares as collateral, and that he bought the National Fertiliser Company of Nigeria, NAFCON, with money from state funds as well as an aircraft.

Until he addressed a press conference in Lagos, Ibori’s assault on Ribadu had been through proxies he planted in government. Leading the pack is Aondoakaa, who began his offensive just after he got into office. The AGF began with an announcement that he was stripping the EFCC and its cousin, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, of prosecutorial powers. Weeks later, he announced that all prosecutorial powers were derivable from his office. The announcement was widely considered to mean that the Yar’Adua administration was planning to interfere with the workings of the agency. Aondoakaa followed it up with an announcement that the President had approved it as the direction for the new dispensation. The decision to wrest prosecutorial powers from the EFCC drew widespread criticisms, which forced the government to announce that it did not approve of it.

That, however, marked the beginning of a toxic relationship between Ribadu and Aondoakaa, something that degenerated a few weeks later during the hearing of EFCC’s case against Dr. Orji Kalu, former governor of Abia State, who was being tried for money laundering at the Federal High Court, Abuja. When the case was called, lawyers from both the EFCC and the AGF’s office appeared as prosecutors. Salihu Aliyu, Director of Public Prosecution in the Ministry of Justice, represented the AGF, while Adebisi Adeniyi represented the EFCC. The surprised EFCC lawyer said: “I am at loss at the representation of the DPP in this matter because we are counsel on record in this case. This matter was initiated by the EFCC. If the AGF is taking over the case, this is not tidy enough.”

Aliyu, however, denied that the AGF was taking over the case, but said he appeared to clear some “grey areas” reported to the AGF’s office. The DPP said Kalu’s lawyers complained in writing to the AGF that their client was arrested in breach of court order restraining the commission from doing so. He argued that Kalu’s petition was written because of government’s assurance that it would abide by the rule of law and due process and that the arrest had caused it embarrassment. Aondoakaa would later add that he risked being penalised for contempt of court, a claim that appeared suspicious given that the AGF was not a party to the suit and could not have been liable. The incident cast the AGF’s office as the prosecutor and the defendant, puncturing the government’s claim of non-interference. Aondoakaa demanded an apology from Ribadu for the court incident, but the former EFCC boss declined to offer any.The AGF was red-eyed. Ribadu was triumphant and earned plaudits for standing up to the AGF, who was perceived to be working on behalf of those facing charges for graft.

But that was as good as it got. On 11 December 2007, Ribadu’s EFCC arrested Ibori. Two days later, the former governor was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Kaduna, where he and his aides, Ms. Uduamaka Okoronkwo and one Chiedu Ebie were slammed with an arm-long list of alleged corruption offences. On his second appearance before the court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu, Ibori requested that the case be transfered from the court and reassigned. Ibori contended that EFCC’s decision to take him to Kaduna suggested that the agency was looking for a favourable forum to prosecute him and that the court may be susceptible to bias during the trial. The court dismissed the application, saying: “Considering the absence of any justifiable reason or reasons that the trial judge in this matter should rescue himself from further participation in this case, the application is hereby dismissed.” The court also rejected Ibori’s argument that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter as well as his contention that EFCC’s filing of the case was not proper.

“It is pertinent to state at this juncture that the subject matter of the 129-count charge against the accused applicants relate to money laundering as contained in the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2003 and 2004. Money laundering, which is specie of economic and financial crime, is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and it is within the jurisdiction of this court to hear and determine the matter of the 129 count of charge. “Section 19 (1) of the Federal High Court Act specifically states that the court shall have and exercise jurisdiction throughout the federation. It is also the position of Section 249 of the 1999 Constitution establishing one Federal High Court. The provision of Section 152 (2) of the Constitution also confers additional jurisdiction and power on the court.

“The applicant did not refer to the provision of any law on how a charge should be filed before the Federal High Court. By virtue of section 33 off the Federal High Court Act, all criminal cases before the court shall be tried summarily,” Justice Shuaibu said. However, through some legal hoop-jumping attributed to Aondoakaa, Ibori’s case was eventually transferred to Asaba, Delta State, and assigned to a handpicked judge. Before Ibori’s arrest, Aondoakaa had fought Ribadu over the former, who had been investigated in London for money laundering by the London Metropolitan Police. The dispute between the two arose from Ribadu’s decision to hand over documents on Ibori’s investigation by the EFCC to the London Metropolitan Police. Two separate teams from London had visited Nigeria for assistance on the case. After their visit, a prosecutor in the UK Fraud Prosecution Service, David Williams, wrote to the AGF’s office to request supplementary information.

The request, unsurprisingly, did not sit well with Aondoakaa, who replied that it was disrespectful for a lower officer of the British prosecution agency to request such information, which had not been obtained from his office in the first place. Aondoakaa took the matter to a meeting of the Federal Executive Council. That, for Ribadu, was lights out. It was at the meeting that the seeds of his removal from the EFCC, demotion from the Police and eventual dismissal were sown. The next phase of the onslaught was left in the hands of Okiro, the immediate past Inspector-General of Police. In January 2008, newspapers published reports which hinted that Okiro had been directed to issue a memo to Ribadu asking him to proceed to National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, for a course. It was reported that the proposed course was a way of getting Ribadu out of the EFCC on the prompting of some powerful interests. Okiro told the press that Ribadu must go the NIPSS, but denied that the government wanted to ease him out of his job on account of any prompting.

“He is not being sent on a course for any ulterior motive other than the reasons which he satisfies. He is not being sent to the NIPSS on the prompting of any external body. I am not a politician; I am not succumbing to whims and caprices of politicians as being speculated,” Okiro said. Under Police rules cited by Okiro, Ribadu, then an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, though on secondment to the EFCC, was still subject to police internal administrative rules.

But under Section 11 of the EFCC Act, only the agency can send its officers on course. Okiro’s reliance on police rules was eventually given away as a smokescreen by Aondoakaa, who said: “The IG must have sought and obtained the approval of the President. I do not know the IG to be a frivolous officer. The IG sent seven names for training and it is the President that gave approval for them to go on course.” There could hardly have been prizes for guessing who had nudged the President. Ribadu headed to Kuru, where he was arrested on graduation day for wearing mufti to the ceremony because he had been demoted to an Assistant Commissioner of Police. He explained that he was not sure of which uniform to wear since he had been demoted and the case was in court.

Ribadu had been on Ibori’s case for some time. EFCC investigations into his governorship showed that that in 2001, Henry Imasekha, an Ibori acolyte, took a N2.2 billion loan from the defunct New Nigerian Bank to buy 10 per cent shares in EWN. The loan was secured, according to investigators, without evidence of prior relationship with the bank. Shortly after, the Delta State government under Ibori bought half of Imasekha’s shares for N2.5 billion. EFCC discovered that Imasekha had used the amount to offset the loan, netting a hefty profit of N300 million and retaining 5 per cent of EWN shares. Edevbie, who was commissioner for finance under Ibori between 1999 and 2004 when the transaction took place, has offered to resign his appointment as Yar’Adua’s private secretary and head to London to clear his name.

Ibori, Edebvie’s benefactor, is also in the spotlight over an allegation that he used Delta State’s shares in Oceanic International Bank, one of the five banks whose chief executives were recently removed, as collateral for a private loan. The Central Bank Governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, recently said he may recommend Ibori for prosecution.

One major reason Ibori has a firm grip on the President is his closeness to Turai, Yar’Adua’s wife. Thus, whatever Ibori wants, as long as he convinces Turai, she puts pressure on her husband to ensure that it gets done.

The allegation of using shares for collateral is different from the others that have to do with corrupt enrichment through the shares purchase saga. On 20 September, the trial of Ibori’s accomplices resumed at Southwark Crown Court in London. Judge Christopher Hardy rejected the defence lawyer’s request to prevent representatives of the Nigerian media and the public from covering the case. Counsel to Bimpe Pogoson attempted to prevail on the court to ban coverage, but Judge Hardy said he had no authority over the Internet, bloggers and Nigerian newspapers. “No need to exclude Nigerians, this case is about them and their country,” the judge said.

The court also turned down the application to have the case, billed to run for six weeks, sent to Nigeria for trial. The trial involves Mrs Udoamaka Onuigbo Okoronkwo, Mrs Adebimpe Foleyinmi Pogoson and Christine Ibori-Ibie, all charged with conspiracy to defraud Delta State of Nigeria, as well as related money-laundering charges regarding James Ibori’s alleged theft of $140 million from Delta State. Mr. Nsugbe, counsel to Mrs Pogoson, was desperate to have the case against his client dismissed or transfered to Nigeria. His client is accused of laundering illicit funds through her UK bank accounts, as well as with mortgage fraud committed on her apartment at Abbey Road in London. Nsugbe requested that in view of the ongoing legal proceedings against James Ibori in Nigeria, the London trial be dismissed because it would make fair trial impossible for his client. But Andrew Trollope, counsel to Christine Ibie-Ibori, read out the papers received from EFCC, one of which stated that James Ibori defrauded Delta State along with his close associates and relatives via bloated contracts, including the supply of 271 vehicles to the state government and that virtually all the contracts awarded during Ibori’s tenure as governor were to steal huge amounts of money from the state. He also said that Mrs. Pogoson established a company with the intention of siphoning money from Nigeria on behalf of Ibori and lodging such in foreign accounts. Trollope stated that the EFCC had alleged that Pogoson’s company assisted Ibori to buy choice properties in UK and the United States. The lawyer also claimed that prior to being elected governor in 1999, Ibori was poor. Nsugbe, however urged that Udoamaka, with over 107 count charges against her, be returned to Nigeria to stand trial alongside Ibori. Trollope ended his submission, saying in the event of Ibori being discharged and acquitted by Nigerian courts, it would not be proper to continue his trial and those of his accomplices in another country and requested that the proceedings be adjourned and suspended, pending the final verdict of the trials in Nigeria.

The Judge dismissed the appeal for suspension pending the outcome of the trial in Nigeria unless fresh circumstantial evidence, which may negatively affect the trial, is unearthed. Lady Sasha Wass, counsel to Chief Prosecuting Service, CPS, insisted that the trial must continue in London because none of the UK evidence against Udoamaka Onuigbo Okoronkwo is with the Nigerian authorities and that there is no guarantee of fair trial if they are all extradited to Nigeria. Lady Wass also reminded the court that Ibori and Udoamaka had been convivted over stolen credit cards and and theft committed at Wickes Store in London 20 years ago. She also said Ibori and Udoamaka are experienced in criminal activities and that multiple purchase of posh properties, with or without mortgage, is one of the tricks employed to launder money stolen from Nigeria. When asked by the court to specify her demands, she appealed for a continuation of the trial in the UK and described Udoamaka and others as liars for claiming ignorance of the source of Ibori’s wealth. Ibori’s aides are on conditional bail, which demands that they surrender their passports, not to travel within 300 metres of airports and seaports, report at the nearest police station every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and not apply for fresh passports or any international travel documents pending the completion of the trials.

However, Lady Wass’ claim that Ibori was poor before he became governor in 1999 is inaccurate. While he was not the Croesus he now is, Ibori was not exactly a scrounger. His source of money was not the sort to be proud of. In 1996, Ibori established Diet,a newspaper funded by the discredited regime of the late General Sani Abacha, who was then plotting to transmute into a civilian president. Ibori, as reported by TheNEWS in its edition of 22 November 1999, was matey with Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, Abacha’s Chief Security Officer and coordinator of many of the regime’s atrocities. Diet was established to propagate the transistion of Abacha to a civilian president.

Born 4 August 1958 in Oghara, Ethiope-West Local Government Area of Delta State, Ibori attended Baptist High School (now Ogharehi Grammar School) and the University of Benin, UNIBEN, from where he graduated with a third class degree in Economics.

Ibori worked with Mobil Oil Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. But some claimed he was sacked. In his resume, Ibori claimed to have served as “consultant to the Federal Government in the area of public policy”.

THE EXPOSED LEGS OF MERCY JOHNSON


 

Mercy Johnson is a Nigerian Nollywood star whose name is now controversy. We hear say she gather plenty bad habits ooo, bed-hopping, abortion, stealing, lies and others. But this Mercy fine for face no be small.
 
 It was recently rumoured that Mercy aborted a three months old pregnancy for a certain Omole-Estate Lagos based lover called Odi, the report was denied  by the Nollywood actress as purported attempt to dent her image. Sources within Omole whispered  that Mercy, having decided to evacuate her property from Tricia Eseigbe’s Lekki home, due to small misunderstanding between them, she has now moved into Odi’s house in Omole where she now operates from.
 
 Information also reveals that Mercy has been finding things so difficult these past months about the many negative reports about her person. She was also alleged to have stolen some hard currencies from  a man a couple of months back.Mercy Johnson small small ooo.Your leg dey show.

QUESTIONS THE NIGERIAN POLICE SHOULD ANSWER


Nigerians still want to know who killed Dele Giwa.Dele Giwa was killed in Lagos on October 19 ,1986 via parcel bomb.Who killed Babatunde Elegbede on May 5, 1994 in Lagos?Who killed Lekan Owolabi on March 1995 in Lagos? Police must tell us Who killed Captain Tunde Ashafa on June 11, 1995 in Lagos..Who killed Mr. Alfred Rewane on October 6,1995 in Lagos? Nigerians still want to know who killed David Izegwere on December 1995 in Lagos.What about the shooting and killing of Kayode Awosanya on January 1996 in Lagos

Who killed Mrs Tajudeen Abiola on February 9, 1996 in Lagos.These case s are still unresolved. Nigerians are watching, keeping records about these killings. Killers should be brought to book.

Why must we allow the killers of  Alhaji Sama Kano on April 8, 1996 in Lagos to go free.

We want to know who killed Admiral Olu Omotehinwa on May 22, 1996 in Lagos.

 We want to know who shot and killed Mrs. Irene Obodo sometime in june 1996 in Lagos.

Nigerians want to know who killed Alhaja Kudirat Abiola on June 4, 1996 in Lagos.

We will be happy if the killers of Chief Adejola Balogun on June 15, 1996 in Lagos are caught..

Who killed Mrs Esther A. Tejuoso on September 19,1996 in Lagos?

The list is long .Alhaja Suliat Adedeji was shot and killed in Ibadan on November 14, 1996 .The case is still unresolved. Who killed Toyin Onagoruwa on December 1996 in Lagos?

Who killed Engr. Adesoji A. Dina. On September 1998 in Lagos?

Who killed Kola TokunboJanuary 31, 1999 in Lagos .Case still Unresolved?

Who killed Patrick Okoye on  January 31, 1999 in Lagos?

Police must tell us who killed Sunday Ugwu on September 9, 1999 in Enugu.This case is still unresolved.Who killed Igwe Francis Nwankwo on February 15, 2000 in Anambra.

Police still never tell us who killed Nicholas Okhuakhua sometime in June 2000 in Lagos. 

We still dey ask who killed Mohammed Shuaibu sometime in September 2000 in Lagos.

Who killed Obatou Mumbo on October 17, 2000 in Onitsha?

Who killed Idowu Braimoh on November 5, 2000 in Ondo.?

Na who kom shoot and  kill Joseph Osayande on December 4, 2000 in Benin.?

Remember Chief Layi Balogun? Who shot him to death on December 10, 2000 in Lagos?

Many people in Rivers State are still asking who killed  Monday Ndor on August 19, 2001 in Port Harcourt.Monday Ndor was Representing Ogoni in the Rivers State House of Assembly during the tenure of Governor Peter Odilli of Rivers State. Who killed Onyebuchi Ede on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi? Who kom kill Chibueze Idah on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi?

Police never still tell us who killed  Ogbonna Odimbaiwe  on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi ?

Ifeanyi Nnaji was killed on August 23, 2001 in Ebonyi. Case still unresolved.

Odunayo Olagbaju was shot an killed on December 20, 2001 in Ife.No clue yet to the killers.

Mr. S.A. Awoniyi was stabbed to death on January 7, 2002 in Abuja.Case still unresolved.

Nigerians want to know who killed  madam patricia obigeli chidiac

who killed Bayo Ohu?

 How many Nigerians have to lose their lives before the Police will come to the realization that something is terribly wrong with our security system? Why do we have the police if police can not assure us of our safety? Why do we have the Police if killers continue to go free in Nigeria

Men listed by EFCC to have looted so much money in Nigeria still celebrated as leaders


THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC)  released the names of 56 Nigerians it alleged collectively removed over N243 billion from the nation’s treasury.

The names, some of which the EFCC  lame dock Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri, referred to as politically revered people in the international community, were contained in a list handed over to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), as the EFCC and NLC  claim to commenced their strategic partnership to intensify the fight against corruption in the country.

The list contained names of well-known politicians, former governors, ministers, permanent secretaries, civil servants, chairmen and members of parastatal agencies, local government chairmen, members of the House of Representatives and senators.

The EFCC boss had, visited the Labour House, Abuja, where she briefed the NLC leadership led by its president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, and revealed that a strategic meeting would soon be held with NLC to formally signal the beginning of their new partnership.

Lending credence to the statement by Mrs. Waziri, during the meeting, that some Nigerians were stealing in billions, the money stolen ranged from N10 million to N100 billion.

According to the list, only eight of the suspects allegedly stole in millions; 17 of them were alleged, by the EFCC to have stolen in billions, while the amounts allegedly stolen by others were not specified.

Tagged “ongoing high profile cases” by the commission, all the listed cases are already in court in the different parts of the country. While 11 were instituted and handed over by the former EFCC  chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the present chairman, Mrs. Wazri, commenced 22 of the cases.

Among the high-profile cases in which the suspects have been granted bail are: former governors of Jigawa State, Saminu Turaki, N36 billion; Joshua Dariye (Plateau) amount not stated; Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), N5 billion; Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo), N6 billion; Jolly Nyame (Taraba), N180 million; Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), N5.3 billion; Boni Haruna (Adamawa), N93 million and Michael Botmang, (acting governor, Plateau) N1. 5 billion.

The EFCC also listed the cases involving a Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) chieftain, Chief Bode George, N100 billion; an Indian businessman, Patrick Fernandez, N32 billion; former Managing Director of FAAN, Roland Iyayi, N5.6 billion; former Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade, N5.6 billion; an Austrian businessman, Eider George, N5.6 billion; and Kenny Martins of Police Equipment Fund (PEF), N7.7 billion.

Also on the list are: Tom Isegholi, Mohammed Buba, and Mike Okoli for the Transcorp Plc., N15 billion; Senator Nicholas Ugbane and nine other members of the House of Representatives, N5.2 billion; Iyabo Obasanjo, N10 million; serving Chief of Staff to Rivers State  Governor, Nyeson Wike, N4.7 billion; former Aviation Minister Femi-Fani-Kayode, N250 million; four senior Zenith Bank managers, N3.6 billion; Molkat Mutfwang and three others, N636 million; Dr. Ransome Owan and six others, N1.5 billion; a retired Permanent Secretary, Dr. Albert Ikomi, N43 million, and chairman, Taraba State Civil Service Commission, Dr. Yuguda Manu, N17.5 million.

NAMES ON THE EFCC LIST

1. Bode George N100 billion
 2. Saminu Turaki N36 billion
 3. Patrick Fernandez N32 billion
 4. Tom Isegholi, Mohammed Buba
 and Mike Okoli (for The Transcorp Plc) N15 billion
 5. Kenny Martins N7.7 billion
 6. Rasheed Ladoja N6 billion
 7. Roland Iyayi N5.6 billion
 8. Babalola Borishade N5.6 billion
 9. Eider George N5.6 billion
 10. Chimaroke Nnamani N5.3 billion
 11. Senator Nicholas Ugbane and nine others [1. Ndudi Elumelu,2.  Mohammed Jibo, House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Rural Development, 3. Paulinus Igwe, 4. Sam Gekpe, Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), 5. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of power, Aliyu Abdullahi,  6. Abdulsamad Jahun, 7. Kayode Oyedeji 8. Simon Nanle  9. Lawrence OrekoyaN5.2 billion
 12. Orji Uzor Kalu N5 billion
 13. Nyeson Wike N4.7 billion
 14.Jim Ovia, Olakunle Orupe, Kanu Chimezie, and Patrick Okagwu   4 senior Zenith Bank Managers N3.6 billion
 15. Michael Botmang N1.5 billion
 16. Ransome Owan(Chairman) and 6 others:  Abdul-Rahman Ado (Vice-Chairman and Commissioner, Market Competition and Pricing); Muhammed Baba Gana Bunu (Finance and Support Services); Prof. O.C. Iloeje (Research and Development); Dr. Muhammed Alimi Abdul-Rasaq (Legal, Licensing and Enforcement); Abimbola Odubiyi (Engineering Standards and Safety); and Dr. Grace Eyoma (Government and Consumer Affairs).N1.5 billion
 17. Molkat Mutfwang and 3 others [Michael Mtonga Aule, Dr. Andrew Ekpanobi, and a contractor, Alexander John Cozma, his company, Intermarkets USA LLC,]N636 million
 18. Femi-Fani-Kayode N250 million
 19. Jolly Nyame N180 million
 20. Boni Haruna N93 million
 21. Dr. Albert Ikomi N43 million
 22. Dr. Yuguda Manu N17.5 million
 23. Iyabo Obasanjo N10 million
 24. Joshua Dariye (amount not stated)

Dimeji Bankole Buys Aso Villa Plot for N345m


By Tony Icheku – TN

Question: Why would a ‘New Generation Politician’ wink at monumental fraud, corruption and abuse of office under his watch? Answer: He wants to join the big league looters of office. 

Yes, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nigeria’s own golden boy, Hon Oladimeji Bankole has succumbed to the lures of filthy lucre and joined the official looters of Nigeria’s treasury. He just bought himself an empty plot in the worlds’ most exclusive parches of earth – Aso Villa.  

Investigations has reveals that Hon Oladimeji Bankole has purchased a plot of land inside Aso Villa for over N345 million.

The plot of land, a portion of the yet to be fully developed properties inside the exclusive highbrow residency was bought from a former minister in the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Salome Jankada.

Hon Bankole who ascended the Speakership of the lower Legislature after the ouster of Hon Patricia Etteh on charges of corruption allegedly upped the price offer for the property to have an edge over others who have expressed interest in the property.

Several telephones calls to the lines of his media aides elicited negative response as at time of filling this story

Hon Bankole, despite rising to power on a platform of anti-corruption has smiled off and bull-dozed his way through charges of corruption, abuse of office and inflation of contract allegations committed under his watch by the House of Representatives.

Notably, Bankole did approve a memo requesting for the purchase of 380 vehicles, ostensibly for use as official cars by members of the House, a clear  contravention of  the monetisation policy of the federal government initiated by the President  Obasanjo administration.

Further, the action contradicted the recommendation of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission ( RMAFC) that  only the Senate President, his deputy, the Speaker and his deputy are entitled to official cars, while the rest are only entitled to motor vehicle loans, repayable in four years.

Incidentally,  if the House needed official cars, it cannot ask for 380 cars  in 2008 because on assumption of office in 2007, car loans were approved for members of the National Assembly in addition to the provision of a vehicle maintenance allowance of about N1.5m for Senators and N1.49m for House members each, annually.

Allegations were rife that House leadership hand -picked Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria {PAN} as the sole contractor without competitive bidding. Festus Keyamo, a Lagos based lawyer who raised alarm over the deals alleged that PAN was billed to supply Peugeot 407 ST Sport series at N6,209,175m each but instead provided Peugeot 407 Comfort with fewer specifications at N5.1m each.

Accordinf to the controversial lawyer, taxpayers were short-changed by over N421,486,500 in the deal.

Mr Bankole and his co-travellers  denied the allegation.  Hon. Ita Enang,  chairman,  House Committee on Ethics and Business dismissed the whole affair as a mere storm in a tea cup.

Said Enang: the House had placed orders for a number of bullet proof vehicles for the Speaker and his deputy at the sum of N52.8million a piece. “The vehicles would have cost the tax payers between N82m and N105m each had his committee allowed the quoted price to stand.

“The House should rather be applauded for saving over N25million on the transactions”. This clearly shows that the so-called investigation is a charade and mere play to the gallery.” the smooth talking lawye-politician opined.

Tony Icheku – Times of Nigeria

Naomi Campbell who always throws a fit and abuse people and get away with it


 

 

NC

Do you remember sometime in yr 2008 when super model Naomi Campbell spat at an officer in a fit of anger! Nothing like a hot celebrity throwing temper tantrums to catch everyone’s attention huh? So anyway, this is how the story goes. This hot  celebrity was separated from her baggage and lost her cool with the British Airlines staff. Inspite of many assurances from them that she would be reunited with her luggage, she continued throwing a fit even after having boarded the plane. As all good airline staff would do, when they could not handle the situation, they called security who tried getting Naomi to calm down. And what does she do instead. Eye witnesses said she spat at an officer and laid her fists on him. Patience wearing thin, Naomi was arrested for assaulting an officer and hauled out of the aircraft kicking and screaming all the way to the police station

What do you do with a woman who always throws a fit and abuse  people and get away with it time and again?? Where is the “true” justice in this world I ask??!! Noami,you go try control your ugly temper ooo.One day,you will do a real community service,not the yeye ones you have been doing

Naomi Campbell - Community Service

Naomi Campbell - Community Service

Naomi Campbell attends the 4th annual Thurgood Marshall College Fund Front Row Fashion Show at the Roseland Ballroom on October 24, 2009 in New York City.

Naomi Campbell attends the 4th annual Thurgood Marshall College Fund Front Row Fashion Show at the Roseland Ballroom on October 24, 2009 in New York City.

Naomi Campbell attends the 4th annual Thurgood Marshall College Fund Front Row Fashion Show at the Roseland Ballroom on October 24, 2009 in New York City.

Naomi Campbell attends the 4th annual Thurgood Marshall College Fund Front Row Fashion Show at the Roseland Ballroom on October 24, 2009 in New York City.

( October 23, 2009 – Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images North America
Supermodel Naomi Campbell and her boyfriend Vladislav Doronin hide behind the cover of beach umbrellas in attempt to enjoy the sun without the eye of the cameras.
Hot tempered Supermodel Naomi Campbell and her boyfriend Vladislav Doronin hide behind the cover of beach umbrellas in attempt to enjoy the sun without the eye of the cameras.
( October 13, 2009 – Photo by Bauer Griffin)
Supermodel Naomi Campbell and her boyfriend Vladislav Doronin hide behind the cover of beach umbrellas in attempt to enjoy the sun without the eye of the cameras.
This Ass will make u go yummieeee.But hold it,temper …oh oh
Naomi Campbell and her boyfriend Vladislav Doronin hide behind the cover of beach umbrellas in attempt to enjoy the sun without the eye of the cameras.
( October 13, 2009 – Photo by Bauer Griffin)
Supermodel Naomi Campbell and her boyfriend Vladislav Doronin hide behind the cover of beach umbrellas in attempt to enjoy the sun without the eye of the cameras.
is this k -leg or v-leg.i mean the legs of  Vladislav Doronin. Her girl friend is a super model but with hot temper

Judgment Day For Bode George


By Henry Ojelu – PM NEWS

Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Ikeja High Court has fixed Monday for judgment in the case of alleged N85 billion contract fraud at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) between 2001 and 2003, brought against embattled Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) chieftain, mR Olabode George and five other persons by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Bode George, Arc. Aminu Dabo, Captain O. Abidoye, Alhaji Abdulahi Aminu Tafida and Alhaji Zanna Maidaribe and Engr. Sule Aliyu were all arraigned on a 163 count of conspiracy, disobedience of lawful orders, inflation of contract and contract splitting

Specifically, they were alleged to have awarded contracts for the supply of several items and repair of some equipment worth billions of naira in foreign currencies. They were also accused of committing an abuse of office “by splitting three contracts into separate contracts; which sum was beyond your  approved limits” which EFCC described as “arbitrary and prejudicial to the right of the Federal Minister of Transportation, being the appropriate authority to award contracts in excess of N20 Million.”

During the trial which lasted for 15 months, one of the major prosecution witnesses, Engr. Mustapha Bukar, a director in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, who chaired the 7-man administrative panel instituted by the Federal Government to probe the activities of the NPA said his panel discovered that about 29,526 contracts were awarded by the management of the NPA between year 2001 and 2003.

In his evidence, the witness said that some of the contracts were split and inflated before they were awarded to different contractors by the NPA management. However, the witness, admitted under cross-examination by counsel to the defendants that there was no evidence indicating that the contracts awarded were given out or signed by the Board of the NPA led by Bode George.

Engineer Bukar, specifically, pointed to the court that the board while awarding contracts did not abide by a certain circular from the Federal Government which spelt out the limitation of the Board in award of contracts. The witness said the price intelligence units system and due process were ignored by the management in the award of contracts during the period under review.

However, under cross-examination by the defence lawyers led by Chief Tunji Ayanlaja, (SAN), Engineer Bukar admitted that one of the committee members, Greg Ogbueifon, had earlier written a petition against the NPA Board over some issues.

He also agreed that it was morally wrong for same Ogbueifon to be a member of the committee investigating the management.

Ten other prosecution witnessess corroborated Engr. Bukar’s evidence with the prosecuting team led by festus Keyamo urging the court to convict Bode George and his co-defendant as the allegations against them have been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Counsel to Bode George, Chief Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN) at the close of his case urged the court to dismiss the charges as his client has proved his innocence.

In his joint defence with the other defendants, he argued that all the contracts awarded under his leadership in NPA were backed up by bank guarantees and irrevocable letters of credit from reputable banks. To this end, he denied that he and other defendants disobeyed any lawful order.

He told the court that there was never a time that any contract brought to the Board was split and that there were appraisal officers who carried out market survey and price intelligence before advising on what sum a contract should be awarded for and that it was not the responsibility of the Board to fix prices on contracts to be awarded.

He further said that the  2001 circular expected to guide award of contracts was never sent to NPA while he was Chairman of the Board of NPA, but that the Board got to know about the circular several weeks later through a member of the Board.

He said contrary to their expectations, the circular which was signed by the minister of finance was addressed to the Ministry of Water Resources without a covering note, adding that no such letter came from the Transport Minister who is the supervisory authority of the NPA.

He subsequently prayed the court to declare that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt on count 58-68 dealing with abuse of authority of office in line with Section 104 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State and also failed to prove the case of conspiracy against the defendants as well.

PM NEWS

Yar’Adua will send Obansanjo to prison – El Rufai


By Ibrahim Chonoko

Mallam Nasir el-Rufai the former FCT Minister, has alleged that President Umaru Yar’Adua is desperately looking for reasons to send former president Olusegun Obansanjo to prison. Chatting with newsmen at the Nigeria High Commission in London on Tuesday, shortly before submitting his application for the renewal of

 his passport, el-Rufai claimed that Yar’Adua has been looking for any excuse to send the former president to jail.

“It is just that Yar’Adua has not got enough proof to send him (Obasanjo) to prison. What do you think the power probe was all about? They want to get him. I know Yar’Adua very well. He is vicious and unforgiving”.

El-Rufai said when the fall-out between him and Yar’Adua started, he told Obasanjo that he did not want his intervention or reconciliation, stressing that President Yar’Adua was a person who will only reconcile when he is down on his knees. “As President, he is not going to be on his knees”.

“Obansanjo hand-picked Yar’Adua as president. Yar’Adua was his project and now he is after him.  You can’t create a problem and then intervene. I would rather Obansanjo spends time saving himself than saving me”.

On his declared intention of going home to Nigeria, El-Rufai said: “I intend to spend my Christmas in Nigeria by God’s grace, but I haven’t fixed a date a yet”.

He said many people have told him not to go because they were concerned about his safety and security, but he insisted that he was more concerned about his safety that anyone else.

He said he was very much aware of the risks he would face if he went home, but stated that he was prepared to take the risk for the sake of Nigeria and his desire to bring about positive change in the governance of the country.

“You can’t change a bad system without taking risks”, he said. “If we all keep away from Nigeria, the country will not change (for the better) and the criminals will continue to dominate”.

El-Rufai said Nigerians must learn to stand up and fight for their rights, lamenting that Nigerian liked blaming others for their problems instead of standing up to challenge those responsible for their woes.

“Nigerians should group together and put pressure on President Yar’Adua to make him wake up to his responsibilities”.

He blamed Yar’Adua for the waning of influence Nigeria used to have on issues and events in Africa and the world at large. “Under Obansanjo, when Nigeria goes to summits, it speaks for Africa, but under Yar’Adua, Nigeria sits in the back row.

The former FCT minister who stated that he had no immediate plans to vie for any elective position in the near future however said he was ready to team up and work with anybody to change the way things were being done in the country. 

Ibrahim Chonoko – Daily Trust

WHY IS JAMES IBORI STILL WALKING THE STREET OF NIGERIA AS FREE MAN?


Any system that subverts justice is far from democracy and mind you, subversion of justice breeds civil disobedience, the offspring of which we are quick to termed militancy in Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.

The measure of how Nigeria has feared in the past 10 year under our so called 10 years of Democracy can be deduced from the decision of President Obama to visit Sudan and Ghana and shunning  Nigeria, the giant of Africa, one time Heart of Africa and presently Good people, Great Country in the cold. How we have feared can also be seen in the arms struggle in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria

Democracy in Nigeria strives on fraud, fraudulent constitution, fraudulent statutes, fraudulent governance, fraudulent fiscal policies, even fraudulent intelligent reports and military campaigns if not,why is Chief James Ibori,Former Governor of Delta State still walking the street of Nigeria as free man?

 

 

James Onanefe Ibori (born 4 August1958) was the Governor of Delta State in Nigeria from 29 May  1999 to 29 May 2007 . He is a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the owner of the Daily Independent newspaper. Ibori was a key financial contributor to PDP candidate Umaru Yar’Adua s campaign for the April 2009 presidential election.

Due to corruption allegations, a court in the United Kingdom froze his assets there, valued at about 17 million pounds ($35 million), in early August 2007. Ibori is facing trial initiated by the Metropolitan Police over his $35m assets in London.

His wife, Nkoyo, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London on November 1 , 2007 , in connection with the probe of the assets of her husband, particularly in the United Kingdom. She was released after being questioned

On December 12 , 2007, Ibori was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  (EFCC) at the Kwara State Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja. The charges he faces include theft of public funds, abuse of office, and money laundering; there a total of 103 counts in all.Yet Ibori is still walking the street of Nigeria as free man.

 Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Former chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, admitted publicly, on 26 sept 2009 that he was indeed after former Governor James Ibori. In a two page statement entitled, “Why I am after the Iboris of Nigeria”, Ribadu said: “Ordinarily, I will not like to dignify James Ibori, former governor of Delta State, with a response to the tissue of lies and cheap fabrications that he let loose in the press conference he held over the weekend. But it is important to set the records straight, particularly against one of those who perpetrated the worst  crime against Nigerian  treasury since Nigeria’s independence.

“That Ibori is finally finding his voice after two years since his prosecution both at home and abroad started is a testimony to his desperation as the cases, particularly the ones in the United Kingdom, move toward legal resolution. I will address Ibori’s fabrications one by one. First, he lied that I solicited his assistance to become the inspector general of police.

 I had it on record, while in office as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that James Ibori was a double convict.First, as a police officer and also as an anti-corruption campaigner who was committed to doing his part to rid Nigeria of rogues, how could I have been seeking the assistance of a convicted felon for the highest police position in the country? If I wanted to be IG, he would be the last person I will consider to help me.“Ibori, just like the others we tried to bring to justice, is desperate and would do anything to escape justice as he has always done.

Nothing emphasizes Ibori’s capacity for falsehood and felony than his claim, at the press conference, that I “framed” him for attempting to bribe me with $15 million dollars. As he told the lie, and as I write this, the $15 million remain as an exhibit deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria.“I must state, however, that I am used to these types of allegations and fabrications by those who are struggling under the present circumstances to find a way out of their advertised felonies and crimes against the people.

It has now become fashionable for all sorts of morally-bankrupt people to try to use me to do one thing or the other.Any close observer of the events in Nigeria in the last decade would agree that what we were able to achieve as founders and operators of the EFCC was of a more fundamental nature, in the context of our urgent national crisis, than becoming IGP. But that is a matter for another day. People understand what we tried to do and recognize that the felons must be brought to justice so as to allow millions of our compatriots to enjoy their God-given resources.

“Ibori claimed that he could trace “the genesis of his ordeal to his staunch and uncompromising stance on a major electoral promise he made back in 1998 to the people of Delta State that he would champion the cause of redressing the injustice associated with resources derivable from their land.” I will only like to ask if it is in keeping with this “promise” that he became a billionaire overnight “on behalf” of the suffering masses of Delta State?“As regards the allegation that Ibori made on the 2007 presidential election petition, let me state clearly that it is totally untrue.

However, I am also aware that there is a whole industry of seeking favour from President Umaru Yar’Adua based on the legal tussle over the 2007 presidential election. Already, many fortune and favour-seekers have imagined many plots and many plotters in their attempt to deceive the man in power that I tried to scuttle the Appeal Court case on the election.Many got offices, positions, and others and even got me out of the EFCC telling this lie to Aso Rock Villa. They continue to use it.

If Ibori claims that I sought his support to truncate Yar’Adua’s contested victory at the Appeal Court, is he claiming to have the power to influence the judges and pervert the course of justice?“Finally, Ibori said he remained my “loyal friend.”

 I am also still open to his “friendship”, but that will never be at the expense of my loyalty to my fatherland and commitment to transparency and honesty in public office. I have a friendly advice for Ibori, though. Instead of wasting the money of Delta State people that he stole to pay lawyers all over the world, isn’t it better as a “Christian” that he claims to be to return his loot to the people of Delta State and have peace with his God? If he fails to do so, at the appropriate time, no matter how much the Iboris of this world run from the law, they would one day be made to atone for their sundry crimes.

If they are able to bribe their way through in Nigeria and get men and women of questionable character appointed into office to shield themselves from prosecution, they cannot do the same in the United Kingdom and before God. But even in Nigeria, the protection that they enjoy today is temporary. Wait, James, still on our friendship, since I couldn’t see you when I visited Lagos recently, why don’t you visit me in London to catch up with your other friends!” 

Naira land posted a report in oct 9 2009 captioned,James Ibori the criminal,stating as follows,desperate, the established serial thief who was once governor of Delta State, James Ibori, is well underway in his character-laundering scheme, a project Saharareporters forewarned Nigerians about on September 23 2009. One of Ibori’s main themes is also to smear the name of Saharareporters, as if  that will make him appear to be innocent.  Ibori told a TV Continental interviewer in Lagos last Saturday, for instance, that his multiple convictions for stealing and dishonesty in London are only from the imagination of Saharareporters.

This is proof that the Ibori is also a serial liar.  But by choosing this approach, he gives us an opportunity to remind Nigerians of how early his life of crime began, and remind Ibori himself that the court of public opinion is based not on conjecture, but on facts.  If Ibori has become a symbol of greed and corruption in Nigeria, it is from the work of his own heart and his own hands. 
Was Ibori ever convicted in London, England?  Yes, and Yes!  The documents here are proof of his crimes and convictions.  He was convicted, first for theft in 1990, charged before the Uxbridge Magistrates on August 28 1990, Ibori and his current wife first wife, Theresa Nkoyo were convicted for the offence in January 1991 at the Isleworth Crown Court and again in 1991, he stole an American Express Gold Card belonging to Sean Burns. The Clerkenwell Magistrates Court in London convicted Ibori in 1992

Was he convicted in Nigeria?  Yes, He Was!   Following his graduation from his criminal activities in the UK and arrival into the embrace of the murderous Abacha regime, he was also convicted in Nigeria by the Bwari Upper Area Court in Abuja, according to the judge who tried and convicted Ibori for stealing building materials from a construction site in Abuja. Read  James Ibori The Criminal.

 Saharareporters also on Tuesday, 30 October 2007, revealed this information to the attention of readers.

A sworn Affidavit by the EFCC submitted to Justice Gloria Okeke of the Federal High Court BENIN, Edo State reveals details of James Ibori’s  owenership of companies that wrecked Oceanic and Intercontinental bank as well as the unconscionable looting of the treasury of Delta State. Ibori’s  Ascot and Notore owes the two banks close to N80 billion.
 
 I, YAHAYA BELLO, Male, Nigerian and Police Officer of 15A Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State do hereby make oath and state as follows:
1.I am a Superintendent of Police assigned to the 1st Defendant by the Authorities of the Nigeria Police Force and by virtue of my position I am familiar with the facts of this case.

2.I have the authority and consent of the 1st and 2nd Defendants to depose to this affidavit. 

3.I am the head of the team of investigators directed by the 1st Defendant to investigate the allegations of conspiracy,
official corruption, diversion and misappropriation of public funds, stealing and money laundering perpetrated by Chief
James Ibori and his aides from 1999 – 2007.
 

4.While paragraphs 1-9 of the affidavit in support of the motion on notice are correct paragraphs 10-29 thereof are not true. 

5.Contrary to the averment in paragraph 12 of the supporting affidavit the 1st Defendant has no plans to harass any official of the Delta State Government.

6.That in further denial of paragraphs 13,14,15,16,17 and 18 of the Applicants’ affidavit the 1st and 2nd Defendants/Respondents state that they are guided by the welfare and interest of the citizens of Delta State and would not take steps that will negate the spirit and letters of the law including due process in carrying out its investigative assignments. •

7.That in answer to paragraphs 19 and 20 of the Applicants’ affidavit the 1st and 2nd Defendants/Respondents deny issuing any threats to the Applicants and has no plans to freeze the accounts of the Delta State Government.

8.That in answer to paragraph 21 of the Applicants’ affidavit the 2nd Defendant informed and I verily believe that he never granted any such interview where threats were issued on the Applicants.

9.That in denial of paragraph 22 of the Applicants’ affidavit the 1st and 2nd Defendants do not intend to ground the activities of the Delta State government but are merely carrying out investigative activities pursuant to the provisions of the EFCC Act 2004 and the request of the London Metropolitan Police in line with the bilateral treaty between Nigeria and United Kingdom. 

10. That in denial of paragraph 23(a) of the Applicants’ affidavit the 1st Defendant never threatened to seal the offices of the various departments of the 2nd Plaintiff including the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General’s office and the Auditor-General’s office. 

11. That in denial of paragraph 23(b) of the Applicants’ affidavit the 1st Defendant states that it is not making unlawful efforts to procure and serve freezing orders on the Banks where the 2nd Plaintiff has or maintains accounts as alleged. 

12. That in denial of paragraph 23(c) of the Applicants’ affidavit the 1st Defendant states that the ongoing efforts of the 1st Defendant to wipe out economic and financial crimes throughout the country are restoring public confidence and the confidence of foreign investors to invest in Nigeria. •

13. The 1st Defendant has received many petitions alleging the commission of serious economic and financial crimes by Chief James Ibori, his aides and several officials of the Delta State Government.

14. Two of such petitions were sent to the 1st Defendant by Concerned Elders and Citizens of Delta State from November to December 2006. Attached herewith and marked Exhibits “EFCC1” and “EFCC2” are copies of the said petitions. 
15.Some concerned indigenes of Delta State have sued the 1st Defendant in the Federal High Court over the alleged delay in the prosecution of Chief James Ibori.

16. The investigation carried out by the 1st Defendant’s team headed by me has revealed the involvement of Chief James Ibori and his accomplices in the following economic and financial crimes:

i. The transfers made into the account of Christine Ibie Ibori (Chief James Ibori’s sister) held in HSBC London was on behalf of Onovin Nig. Ltd., a company solely owned by Vincent Uduaghan, a younger brother to the present governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, the latter who had served as Commissioner for Health and Secretary to the State Government under Ibori’s Administration between 1999 and 2007.
ii. Investigation reveals that Onovin Nig. Ltd. was awarded a contract in December 2004 for laying of tartan tracks in Oghara Stadium at the sum of N142.9 million by the Delta State Government. 
iii. That said Onovin Nig. Ltd. had secured the services of another company, a German based firm, BSW Postfach 1180, Deutschland for the supply and laying of the tracks in Ogbara Stadium.
 
iv. A total of two hundred and eighty four thousand Euros (E 284,000.00) was wired to the German Company by Onovin Nig. Ltd. for the job while another sum of N77.8 million naira equivalent from the contract sum was wired to the account of Christine Ibie Ibori, (Chief James Ibori’s sister) held in HSBC, London about the same time.
 
v. Further investigation carried out on Onovin Nig Ltd. account revealed some monthly lodgments of Delta State Government cheques of five to seven million naira spanning from 2002 to 2007 to the region N350 million naira which the owner claimed to be payments for the supply of fuel to the Government House from Total Nig. Plc. Depot in Benin, Edo State. • •
vi. That Total Nig. Ltd. which equally had the same contract for the supply of fuel to the government House denied having any dealings with Onovin Nig. Ltd.
vii. That transfers were made into Udoamaka’s account in HSBC London, which originated from three Assurance Bank Drafts amounting to about N140 million. 
viii. That investigation conducted on Udoamaka’s accounts such as Sagicon Nig Ltd., Rivbbed Agro Allied, Saagaris Properties, Global Little Drops held in Oceanic and Zenith Banks revealed several lodgments of Delta State Government cheques in the neighborhood of N2 billion out of which N1.3 billion Naira were paid out between May and December 2006. •
 
ix. That several cash lodgments amounting to N400 Million were also noticed both in the personal “Pearl” Account and Companies’ accounts by characters such as Ede Ogoro and Charles Isiayei whom the investigation team discovered to be Private Secretary to the Governor of Delta State and Chief Accountant of the Delta Government House respectively.

x. That the investigation team also discovered other several cash lodgments running into billions of naira which were also made by the above Ede Ogoro and Charles Isiayei in connivance with some Bank officials into the following accounts: Koln Nig. Ltd., Silhouette travels, Prime Chambers, MER Engineering Ltd., Bainenox Ltd. and so on spanning from 2001 to the last day of James Ibori Administration and purely drawn from the “Security Votes” of the State under the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba.

xi That Prime Chambers, one of the beneficiaries of the billions of naira cash lodgments is owned by Professor Utuama, the present Deputy Governor of the State and a former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice during Ibori’s administration. 
 xii That Bainenox Ltd. account in UBA Plc is being operated by Chiedu Ibie, who is also a Director of MER Engineering and Koln Nig. Ltd. Companies believed to be owned by Chief James Ibori.

xiii. That investigation on Wings Aviation reveals an on-going transaction between the Aviation Company and Bombardier Inc. (Canada) over the purchase of an air craft at the cost of USD 25 million for the personal use of Chief James Ibori.
 xiv That payments were made to the UK Solicitors by Wings Aviation Parabola International Corp (a Mauritius based company owned by a Zambian (Edward Shamutete) linked to Chief James Ibori), Copex Management Service, another Mauritius firm on behalf of Erin Aviation, Pamaron Oil and Gas etc.
xv. That part of the money paid from Nigeria for the purchase of the aircraft was the USD 1 million Dollars paid to the Solicitors by Pamaron Oil and Gas Ltd from Fidelity Bank.
 
xvi. That further investigation however revealed that the transaction was made on the order of Bi Courtney Ltd. through another company, Flodan Ltd. These two companies which moved money for Chief James Ibori by using another company, BIADOXE Ltd. as a disguise, are owned by the same person. 
xvii. That investigation on the acquisition of NAFCON revealed that O-secul Nig. Ltd., a company owned by Mike Orugbo bidded and acquired the company in 2005 for the sum of USD 152 million dollars.
xviii. That during the bid process, the sum of USD 2 million dollars was sourced by Mike Orugbo and paid to the company’s liquidators via a new Nigerian Bank for the sum of N280 million naira issued sometime in August 2005.

xix. That investigation showed that the Oceanic Bank raised the remaining money on behalf of O-secul for the acquisition of the fertilizer company while there exists no evidence of previous banking relationship between O-Secul and Oceanic Bank but the Bank felt comfortable in granting the large facility to the company.   
xx. That the sum of USD 46 million dollars was received by the Bank via a Certificate of Capital Importation from Copex Management Service, the same Company that wired money to UK Solicitors for the acquisition of aircraft on behalf of Erin Aviation, this time, on behalf of ‘NOTORE Mauritius’ for the acquisition of 39% of NAFCON now NOTORE chemical industries Nig. Ltd.

 xxi That the so-called Notore Mauritius is a group of foreign investors mainly from EMP a US based firm and Egypt Fertilizer Company as claimed while investigation further revealed that the duo were brought into the investment by the same UK Solicitors, Arlington Sharmas.
xxii. That another payment of N4.418 billion was received by Oceanic Bank from Brisbane Ltd. via two Intercontinental Bank Manager’s Cheques for acquisition of 13% of the fertilizer company while Brisbane Ltd. is owned by Henry Imasekha who is also the sole owner of Berkeley Group. 
xxiii. That investigation on the origin of the money paid Brisbane however, revealed that in 2001 Mr. Henry Masekha used Bromley Ltd. to secure a loan of N2.2 billion naira from New Nigeria Bank without any collateral or evidence of previous Banking relationship with the Bank and purchased 10% of Econet Nigeria Ltd. (now Celtel) while few weeks later ‘Delta State Government’ bought 5% of the Econet shares from Bromley Ltd. at the sum of N2.5 billion naira via a Standard Trust Bank Draft which he used in liquidating the New Nigeria Bank facility. 

xxiv. That in 2006 during the taking over of V-mobile by Celtel, Bromley Ltd. sold the remaining shares to Celtel and it is from this money that Brisbane Ltd. acquired 13% of the fertilizer company.
 
xxv. That investigation on share placements in Nigerian banks and companies revealed the diversion of N5 Billion from the accounts of the Delta State Government in Oceanic Bank and Zenith Bank for the purchase of Afribank shares for Chief James Ibori. The fraudulent transactions were perpetrated through the use of 14 fictitious companies such as Double Dip Nig. Ltd., Arusha Nig. Ltd., Abajim Nig Ltd., Lugba Nig. Ltd., Mombassa Nig. Ltd., Limpopo Nig. Ltd., Zaragoza Nig. Ltd., Sandton Nig. Ltd. etc. 
xxvi. That the 1st Defendant’s/ Respondent’s intervention succeeded in putting a stop to the diversion of the funds to Chief Ibori’s private hands and recovered the said funds with even a benefit of capital gain on the investment.
xxvii. That the funds have since been returned to the coffers of the Delta State Government to enable the Government carry out valuable projects for the people of Delta State.
xxviii. That investigation on allegations of public funds diversion to acquire 
- Wilbros Nig. Ltd., a multinational oil servicing firm in Port Harcourt sometime in 2006.
 xxix That the said Wilbros Nig. Ltd was acquired for USD 155 million by a new established company Ascot Offshore Nig. Ltd. registered and solely owned by Mr. Henry Imasekha, the same character moving funds in Celtel, Oando and NOTORE chemical industries.

xxx. That on the assumption of office as Governor of Delta State in 2003 Chief James Ibori declared having only four(4) properties he acquired from 1995 and 1999 all valued at N100 million naira and seven (7) plots of land acquired between 1983 and 2000 with a total value of N5 million naira. Our investigation has so far revealed the acquisition of over 20 properties in and outside Nigeria by Chief James Ibori. xxxi. That our enquiries also confirmed allegation of massive fraud and theft of public funds against Chief James Ibori in collaboration with the State House of Assembly members using supplementary budget as disguise. 
xxxii. That supplementary appropriation was sent to the State Assembly for the approval of over N40 billion naira between 1999 and 2005 accompanied with executive letters all dated 2004 signed by Chief Ibori for the requests. The proceeds of this massive fraud are currently being traced. 
xxxiii. Several billions of Naira meant for “Security Vote” by the Delta  State Government from 1999-2007 were diverted by Chief James Ibori and his collaborators. 17.That based on the foregoing the 1st Defendant/Respondent has concluded investigation into the aforesaid allegations of serious economic and financial crimes and is ready to prosecute all those found to be culpable in the circumstances.

 

18. Apart from the foregoing the 1st Defendant has also been directed by the Federal Government to assist the Metropolitan Police in the investigation of money laundering offences allegedly committed in the United Kingdom by Chief James Ibori and three of his personal aides. Attached herewith and marked Exhibit EFCC 3 is a copy of the letter of the 3rd Defendant dated 28th September, 2007.

19.Following the directive of the Federal Government the 1st Defendant has assisted the Metropolitan Police in the said investigation of money laundering offences committed in the United Kingdom by Chief James Ibori and his aides.
20. Chief James Ibori has not filed any case against the Defendants as his civil rights have neither been violated nor threatened in the course of the comprehensive investigation embarked upon by the 1st Defendant.

21. Chief James Ibori was not arrested but invited to assist the 1st Defendant in the investigation of his alleged involvement in serious economic and financial crimes. 

22.Chief James Ibori responded to our invitation and made useful statements in the course of the investigation and was therefore granted bail in self recognizance. 

23. Public officers in the service of the Delta State Government and private persons including officials of banks and other corporate bodies have also made statements in connection with the allegations of fraud, theft and money laundering running into several billions of naira belonging to the Government of Delta State.

24. The Plaintiffs have benefited from the investigation conducted so far by the 1st Defendant as the sum of N5 billion illegally diverted by Chief James Ibori to acquire shares for himself has been recovered and paid back to the coffers of the Delta State Government.

25.The Authorities of the United Kingdom and Nigeria are currently involved in recovering other ill-gotten assets of Chief James Ibori and his fronts for the benefit of the people of Delta State. 

26.Several assets worth £35 million (Thirty Five Million Pounds) overseas alleged to be proceeds of crime and traced to Chief James Ibori have been frozen by a British Court. 

27.Instead of co-operating with the Defendants to recover the looted wealth of the impoverished people of Delta State the Plaintiffs are using the machinery of government to frustrate the investigation and prosecution of criminal suspects.

28.The Plaintiffs rushed to file this suit on October 8, 2007 in order to frustrate the investigation and prosecution of Chief James Ibori and his aides. 

29.Before the order ex parte was issued by this Honourable Court the 1st Defendant had concluded its investigation and would have charged the said Chief James Ibori to Court but for the fact that he secretly left the country. 

30.That the restraining order sought by the Applicants is designed to shield criminal suspects from prosecution and thereby promote corruption and abuse of office with impunity. 

31.That I make this declaration in good faith. DEPONENT 
• SWORN TO at the Federal High •
• Court Registry, Benin City •
• This…………. Day of …………,  2007 •
• BEFORE ME •
• COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS •
• FOR SERVICE ON: •
• THE PLAINTIFFS’ COUNSEL •
• KEN E. MOZIA & CO. •
• 81 MISSION ROAD, •
• BENIN CITY •

 

 

Ayo Okulaja wrote  as follows in oct 14 2009 , Protesters from the Coalition Against Corrupt leaders, led by Debo Adeniran stormed the gate of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Tuesday as the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, was about to commence his lecture at the institution on Victoria Island, Lagos.

The gang of protesters was, however, denied entry into the complex by security officials of the NIIA and the private security officers of the former governor.

The protesters then moved to the frontage of the nearby Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to chant songs. Mr. Adeniran told NEXT his group was at the venue to make their views known.

 

“When we arrived here in the morning, we saw lots of armed security men and we told them that we are on a peaceful demonstration, not here to cause violence and we also told them that nobody has a monopoly of violence because if we do a peaceful procession and they are wielding lethal weapons against us, then we may be forced to adopt whatever means possible to seek justice in our quest,” he said.

“We want to tell Nigerians that the dignified forum which the Business Hallmark (the lecture organisers) provided Mr. Ibori to launder the image he battered himself is not appropriate. We do not have to give honour to those who plundered the honour of this country, which is why we are protesting.” A mild clash then occurred between anti-corruption protesters and supporters of Mr. Ibori, who said they had come all the way from Delta State to honour their patron.

 

As the Adeniran-led group held their demonstration in front of the SON office, the Ibori faction, made up of heavily built men dressed in suits, walked over to the protesters and threatened to attack them. They also threatened journalists who were recording the protest and demanded that all recordings should stop.

This led to a fracas, as bottles were smashed and wielded as weapons. A member of the anti-corruption group with a head cut alleged that “the Ibori supporters smashed a bottle of alcohol on my head.” The leader of the Ibori supporters group, one Emmanuel , then placed a call to popular musician, Daddy Showkey to placate the protesters. Shortly afterwards, a number of placards emerged amongst the Ibori supporters, who now called on journalist to photograph them.

The placards contained words such as: “Ibori is our man, pride of Deltans.”

 

Different takes on the Ibori legacy

One of them, who identified himself as Sylvester Okoloko, said the former governor was their father and that they loved him very much.

“We respect his political ideology, we respect the landmark achievement he made in our state and the burgeoning role he played in the development of the Deltans, that is why we are here to hail him,” Mr Okoloko said.

When NEXT asked him why they opposed the anti-Ibori protesters, Mr. Okoloko said: “these are sponsored touts, what is their business, are they from Delta State? Our governor is just giving a lecture, is there a problem in that?” When asked him if he wasn’t sponsored all the way from Delta State, he said: “we are indigenes of Delta State, we love and appreciate our governor; that is why we are here.”

Mr. Adeniran, however said the lecture was a poor platform for Mr Ibori to advise the nation.

 

“The court is the right place for anybody standing trial on criminal charges to defend himself. We do not believe that people who have been convicted once, twice and still awaiting other convictions have the right to continue to pontificate on how to better the lot of those who have never been found wanting in their areas of operation,” he said. “We believe that Mr. Ibori is one of those that caused the problems that is plaguing the southern zone of Nigeria and because of this, we want him to go to court in London and Asaba to clean himself before he now begins to tell Nigerians on the best way to arrange their socio-economic activities or the best way to associate. So we are protesting to say that we no longer believe somebody like James Ibori can be a responsible leader because he has socio- moral questions hanging on his neck.”

 Nicholas ibekwe wrote,sept 28 2009 , Former Delta State governor, James Ibori, got an unsolicited advice on Monday from community elders, who asked him to confront reality and stop claiming that his money laundering cases in the UK and Nigeria are politically motivated.

 

Speaking through the leader of the elders and stakeholders’ forum in Delta State, Edwin Clark, also a former information minister, the community elders dismissed Mr. Ibori’s claim that his trials were orchestrated by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, because of his stance for a more just fiscal federal principle that favours the Niger Delta states.

“Ibori has no reason to accuse anybody for his travails. If he did not commit a crime, will Obasanjo manufacture offences against him?” Mr. Clark demanded, saying, Mr. Ibori’s comments at a Lagos press conference on Friday that Mr. Obasanjo sought to punish him for his opposition to the former president’s bid to get a third term in office and his struggle for a 13 per cent derivation on oil proceeds, was untrue. “There is nothing to show that Ibori was against Obasanjo for the third term. After the third term, he and Obasanjo were hobnobbing; they were meeting together from time to time,” the community elder said angrily.

 

Mr. Ibori lied when he said he was the one who championed the move for 13 per cent derivation, according to Mr. Clark, who explained that the demand for a 13 per cent derivation was a collective effort by the elders and all the state governors at the time. He said rather than being at the forefront for resource control, Mr. Ibori “merely stole the money to enrich himself”.

Mr. Clark insisted that the former governor was only cooking up excuses; and wondered how Mr. Ibori could possibly blame others for the problems he brought upon himself. “All the houses he bought in London, was it Obasanjo who told him to buy the Total oil company in Benin; and the purchase of five million Naira worth of diesel every month from Total which came to about 300 million naira; and the shares he bought from Afribank, the five billion naira spent in Afribank, was it Obasanjo who was responsible for that?” he asked rhetorically.

 

In the same breath, the elder statesman accused the former president of fraternising with Mr. Ibori and of imposing the current governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Iduaghan, on the people of the state.

“There was romance between the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and Ibori. Ibori was frequenting Aso Rock almost every day and it was Obasanjo who imposed Ibori’s first cousin, Emmanuel Iduaghan, as governor of Delta State. We said that Iduaghan was going to be made to cover up the misdeed of Ibori; Obasanjo said no. So I was surprised to hear that Obasanjo was the one who caused his present travail,” he said.

Also Mr. Clark asked the former governor to justify some of his acts of abuse of office like the “signing of a supplementary budget of N120 billion into law on the 14th of June 2004, and that from 2001 to 2004 all the supplementary budgets didn’t go to the House of Assembly but he signed them into law”. He also called on Mr. Ibori to account for state’s fund to the tune of 37 million dollars and the state’s shares in Oceanic Bank, which he claimed has dropped in value from N30 to N3, thereby amounting to a loss of about $15 billion. He also alleged that Ibori tried to acquire Wilbros with the state’s shares as collateral, and that he bought NAFCON with money from the state’s coffers. Mr. Clark added that Mr. Ibori bought a custom-made aeroplane in Canada also with money gotten from the state’s treasury.

Atiku to settle N111m debt


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, whose name appeared on the new list of debtors with nonperforming loans to stressed banks, has expressed his readiness to settle the N111m debt he owed the Spring Bank.

Speaking through a statement issued by his media office in Abuja yesterday, Atiku said the loan collected about 10 years ago was originally N10m, but rose to N111million through generated interest.

The former Vice President also said that the account in question was an “old, dormant account” to which no attention had been paid by his staff.

-Daily Trust

“I have since resumed talks with the bank on the issue and the matter will be resolved. We will pay the outstanding sum as soon as it is agreed upon,” he said in a statement.

Atiku said he fully supports the on-going reform of the banking sector as part of measures to stimulate economic growth.

He expressed gratitude to his admirers and supporters who had called him since the publication of yesterday.

  

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, whose name appeared on the new list of debtors with nonperforming loans to stressed banks, has expressed his readiness to settle the N111m debt he owed the Spring Bank.

Speaking through a statement issued by his media office in Abuja yesterday, Atiku said the loan collected about 10 years ago was originally N10m, but rose to N111million through generated interest.

The former Vice President also said that the account in question was an “old, dormant account” to which no attention had been paid by his staff.

“I have since resumed talks with the bank on the issue and the matter will be resolved. We will pay the outstanding sum as soon as it is agreed upon,” he said in a statement.

Atiku said he fully supports the on-going reform of the banking sector as part of measures to stimulate economic growth.

He expressed gratitude to his admirers and supporters who had called him since the publication of yesterday.

 

Bank Crisis; EFCC Detains Atuche, Ololo


In continuation of investigations into five banks taken over by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Octobers 2, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission yesterday invited and detained the sacked former managing director of Bank PHB Plc, Francis Atuche and the managing director of Falcon Securities, serial debtor Peter Ololo. 

The apex bank drew the curtain on its special audit of banks on October 2, with the release of the result of the last 14 banks and subsequently sacked Atuche alongside the managing directors of Equitorial Trust Bank, Ike Oraekwuotu and Spring Bank, Charles Ojo, and their respective executive directors.
Two others – Unity Bank Plc and Wema Bank Plc – were asked to recapitalise by June 2010.
The CBN followed this up on Thursday by releasing the names of the bad debtors whose companies owed loans totalling N450 billion to Bank PHB Plc, Equitorial Trust Bank, Spring Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and Unity Bank Plc.
Sources said the EFCC boss, Farida Waziri who relocated to Lagos on Wednesday with about 80 operatives had invited Atuche and Ololo to the EFCC Lagos office on Awolowo Road for interrogation and subsequently decided to detain them at its centre on Okotie Eboh Street, Ikoyi.
The source added that Atuche was being interrogated over the huge non-performing loans of Bank PHB totalling N170 billion and for allegedly granting some loans without proper security.
“Atuche is also being questioned because one of the biggest debtors to BankPHB is one of its subsidiaries, Platinum Capital, which secured N11 billion,” the source said.
Ololo is being questioned in connection with the N16.7 billion his company, Falcon Securities owes BankPHB. Ololo’s other company – Peterson Oil and Gas also owes Bank PHB N4.5 billion. 
He is currently on trial over his company’s N88 billion non-performing loans in three other banks – Afribank, Finbank and Union Bank. 
The source said further that the two men and some other bank chiefs to be interrogated next week might be arraigned in court by the EFCC “in a few weeks time once investigation is completed.” 
Spokesman of the EFCC, Femi Babafemi confirmed the detention of Atuche and Ololo last night and said some other debtors and bank chiefs sacked on October 2 will soon be quizzed by the commission.
“It’s an ongoing action. We will be inviting many bank chiefs and some debtors for interrogation. That’s why we are in Lagos,” Babafemi said.

 

A breakdown of the non-performing loans in the latest CBN list shows Bank PHB as having N170 billion; Spring Bank, N95 billion; ETB, N46 billion; Unity Bank, N37 billion; and Wema Bank, N101 billion.
Other big debtors of BankPHB for which Atuche is being quizzed are Akara Overseas Development owned by Prince Oyedele – N10 billion; Hometrust Savings and Loans owned by Yomi Disu, Funmi Ademosun and Tony Ubogu – N6.3 billion and Femi Otedola’s Zenon Oil’s N5.2 billion.
In a related development, the Central Bank yesterday said it stood ready to repay the foreign/correspondent banks of the last five banks found wanting in its audit exercise, should they default in their obligations. 
In a statement, the CBN said: “In the unlikely event of any of the banks defaulting in its foreign/correspondent bank obligations, the CBN hereby affirms that it will fully repay such obligations.”
The apex bank assured that the five banks are safe and reiterated its commitment to ensuring the stability of the banking sector. 
It asked the relevant correspondent banks and other interested stakeholders to feel free to contact the Director, Banking Supervision Department, CBN for any enquiries or clarifications. 
CBN said the recent regulatory action it took in respect of the five banks was aimed at strengthening their financial condition and to protect depositors and creditors’ funds.
“The CBN and the management of the banks are putting in place measures to ensure that no bank fails to meet its obligations to depositors and creditors,” the banking watchdog assured. 

-Thisday

Olu Ayeni; the story of a successful fraudster


BY OLATUNJI OLOLADE-The Nation

You call it fraud, we call it hustle’On July 2, 1996, officers of the Federal Investigative and Intelligence Bureau (FIIB), Nigeria, accompanied by U.S. Secret Service agents and the Regional Security Officer in observer roles executed search warrants on an operational base for advance fee scam

16 locations in Lagos, resulting in the arrest of 43 Nigerians. One of the addresses, No. 84 Okota Road, Ire Akari Estate, Isolo, was not Dyke Bourder Oil Services as initially claimed but an operational base for advance fee scam. Nineteen Nigerians were arrested at the address and two facsimile machines and five telephone sets were seized along with a fake letterhead from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Also confiscated were international business directories, files of correspondence from victims worldwide and N390, 000 (approximately) US$4,800) believed to be proceeds from advance fee scams. Thirteen years on, the scam has burgeoned into full blossom drawing patronage from an unending stream of con artists comprising young Nigerian adults and more astonishingly, teenagers. OLATUNJI OLOLADE, Assistant Editor, The Nation tells the story of the world of advance fee fraudsters who would rather be appreciated as “hustlers” – harmless ones to be precise.

 
Breath clamber-short, face tone-bleached, teeth coffee-black and gem-studded like the diamonds on his new Piaget timepiece, you‘d think Olu Ayeni was primed to espouse a poetry of contrariety.

So much fade and glitter shouldn’t exist on one face at the same time you’d surmise. But there it was, embodied by the husk of perceptible bulk Ayeni has so steadfastly become.

Stuck with him in his car in the middle of an October downpour, outside the garage of his favourite hang-out, a popular bar in Maryland, Lagos, Ayeni obliged a no-holds-barred narrative of his rise from grass to grace.

Predictably, it was a classic story of a boy who grew up within the poverty lines of Festac, a Lagos suburb.

Born to lack, Ayeni, the last child and only son of a family of five learnt to suck up to more privileged peers at school and in his neighbourhood and more importantly, he learned to “suck it up” (endure the pain) every time his wretchedness was flung in his face.

“A naval family lived a few blocks away from our house. They were very rich and the kids, who we always craned our necks to steal glimpses at as they passed in their sleek Shagari Benz (Mercedes Benz Concord 1983 model), spent most of their vacation outside the country. It was tough growing up at the backdrop of so much wealth. The only time I came close to them was in 1999 during our neighbourhood carnival. By then, I was smitten to the last child of that family, a very pretty girl called Milda. I could not meet her eyes the only time I summoned courage to greet her. I wanted to say ‘hi’ but I ended up grunting a very weak ‘good afternoon.’ In response she stared at me and cooed ‘good afternoon’ mockingly after me,” disclosed Ayeni.

That, and the numerous nights he went to sleep hungry, and disappointed at his parents’ many failed promises – like their inability to enrol him in an elite high school in the neighbourhood – inspired him to become rich. And he became “very, very rich.”

I don hammer,” bragged the 28-year-old. “Gone are the days when I used to shy from school and neighbourhood parties because I knew I would be the least dressed. Gone are the days when I used to run errands for my peers and smallies (younger peers) in the neighbourhood, for the crumbs they would throw my way when I’m done. If you must know, some of them now live off me. Those who looked down on me then are now worshipping me,” he said smugly.

Ayeni no doubt believes he has got “the bragging rights” since the tables turned, in his favour.

Having come to instant wealth at the age of 19 courtesy his first exploit in the world of cybercon, the 28-year-old has since quadrupled his take from the con that got him his first million – precisely N1, 248, 000.

Three weeks ago, he claimed he made $47, 000 (about N5 million) from a fresh “hustle” (an advance fee fraud) he had been planning for four months. Unlike his first con, he didn’t have to split his taking with associates because he has since matured to operate “solo.”

“Every body calls us names. My childhood friend’s mother used to tell him to avoid me claiming I could put him in trouble but she never stopped collecting money from him…money I gave him. Now that I have trained him to work his own con, he is making a fortune. Among other frills, he has built a fishery for his mother with the money she never wanted him to touch. It is the same with every body. They criticise us and call us Yahoo boys, bad boys, fraudsters, and thieves. But no one has ever seen us rob. I don’t and would never do so. Although I dropped out of school, the knowledge I have can never be acquired in school. Ise opolo ni (its brain work),” bragged Ayeni, the college dropout who believes that scholarship is unduly, overrated.

No doubt Ayeni epitomizes the ilk of swindlers Wale Bajomo aka Walata, classify as “small boys.”

“They have no tact, vision, and they are highly immature,” stressed Bajomo, a laptop computer dealer and Industrial Chemistry graduate of a South-east university.

Bajomo argued that to be a “confirmed hustler” requires great degree of discretion, perception, maturity and a satisfactory day job.

The idea he explained is to provide a convincing cover and shield from the prying eyes of anti-graft security agents and most especially, the neighbourhood cop who would go to any length to guarantee his stake from your takings. It also becomes something to fall back on when the con gets numb, he said.

“Once you have security agents breathing down your neck and watching your every move, you are on a roller-coaster ride to the joint (prison). Most of these boys have police officers on their payroll. They believe by paying them off, they are buying their safety, which is totally naïve, and ill-advised. Oftentimes their so-called police friends after receiving their share of their takings go on to conspire with their colleagues on the force to harass them and rip them off more percentages of the takings. Tell me, who is the greater conman?” Bajomo said.

The latter wouldn’t divulge more than necessary especially those aspects of his life he calls “private.” Discussions about his family and dreams for instance are highly prohibited and he would rather not want the reporter wondering why he, a millionaire, live in a one-room apartment nor did he want me sharing idle talk with Derin, his live-in lover, a banker and Forex trade specialist who until the light drizzle that poured on Monday night, reclined quietly at the extreme of the bed in their one-room apartment off Salolo bus stop off old Lagos – Abeokuta highway.

No sooner did it begin to rain, she stole quietly to a corner of the room to prepare hot cocoa for her partner and for the reporter, coffee as black as the tan of her supple thighs.

Derin is a surely a looker and Bajomo never hesitated to impress it that though he isn’t attractive, his “baby” was attracted to him for the “right reasons.” He said they are truly in love and “in it” for the long stretch sounding almost too convincing but for the slight inflection in his voice that borders on hesitation.

By 8 pm, patters of the spent drizzle had subsided atop the couple’s one-bedroom apartment and they both indicated that they had to go out “to do stuff.” They were in fact, going no where. It was the reporter’s cue to leave.

Dolapo Akande, 19, just earned his highest take from the con. He made $20, 000 (about N3 million) working solo on a two-month old con.

No sooner did he hit his fortune, he acquired a four-bedroom flat in a choice location in Ogba, Lagos, he acquired a posh Honda Civic car and overhauled his wardrobe.

The 19-year-old is finally living his dream.

Having parried for so long, he slipped. At the backdrop of his discomfiture, a giant woofer boomed across the bar as if to punctuate the invisible monologue of guilt and extenuation visibly wracking his soul. I had touched a raw nerve.

Having played the artful dodger almost too efficiently for close to two hours, Akande eventually slipped. He let down his guard for too long basking in the efflorescence of fishy adulation prised to leave him gaping to the question he had so far, avoided.

“If truly you believe in Karma, would you agree that very soon, you will get caught and punished for the con you have pulled off?” I said. It was the statement that turned Akande’s warmth to frost. The atmosphere became chillier in the thermo-induced chill of his neighbourhood hang-out. His voice rose and fell in controlled contempt for the reporter who he had erstwhile regarded as a mentor of sort and fondly called, “bros” (big brother).

Those days are far-spent now. Visibly hurt, he spirited from his seat with a bounce characteristic of a pugilist lunging for an open mark on a battered opponent. “Ahn! Ahn! Too much beef…too much anger,” he spat signalling to his girlfriend and her friends that it was time to leave. They never came back and he no longer picks his phone when I am the one calling.

 

Do the aforementioned provide classic montage of contemporary city youth hustle? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But their stories though slightly different shares remarkable similarities to others’ caught in the thick of the “hustle” in their desperate march to the hit their fortune in the multifaceted world of cyber fraud.

The casualties

Contrary to Ayeni’s claim that they carry no guns nor rob anyone, recent fatalities suggest that he got it wrong or perhaps chose to ignore their harsh realities.

Kolade aka Kolash, was shot to death while he copulated with his much older girlfriend and family friend. The latter absconded as soon as his assailants sped off.

According to a neighbour, “From their utterances that night, it was clear that he conned his associates and friends off money they made. They shouted at him, telling him that in another lifetime, he wouldn’t dare rip his friends off. They shot him four times in the head and chest. And the girlfriend, she couldn’t wait to watch him die. No one has seen her since the incident and nobody has been arrested in connection with his death. Immediately it happened, all his friends and every Yahoo boy (advance fee fraudster)” within the neighbourhood vanished into thin air.”

A cybercrime kingpin popularly known as Shack-attack, a sobriquet coined from his name, Shakiru was reportedly murdered recently en route a party in Benin, Edo State. He was allegedly executed by underlings he trained after persistently ripping them off proceeds of highly lucrative con ventures.

‘Never say fraudsters, we are hustlers’

Cronies and loved ones of advance fee fraudsters who prefer to be identified as “hustlers” usually see nothing wrong with the “hustle.”

It is hardly illegitimate in their estimation as they provide endless justification for fleecing the marks (victims) of their loved ones’ con – usually justified as comeuppance for perceived and usually unsubstantiated wrong doings of the victims especially if they are foreigners.

No be dem first come do us 419 for here? Ehn na the money wey them steal from our ancestors we dey collect back,” argued a simply identified as Florence, one of Akande’s associates.

Oga reporter, remember say dem never compensate us for the slave trade!” noted another associate in between mouthfuls of Asun, a local delicacy and a heavily painted face.

To the latter’s retort, the company bellowed “Word! Word! Yes o! Yes o!” while Akande sipped with relish, Hennessey, his choice Cognac.

“Some people call us fraudsters, why? If we are fraudsters, then everybody is a fraudster in this country. Coz na everybody dey hustle. I am no fraudster, I am just a hustler. And I’m harmless,” noted Bajomo with a chuckle.

‘Harmless’ indeed

Victims of advance fee fraud would no doubt share views contrary to Bajomo’s smug and pretentious claim.

Ask Shane Symington, a Briton who recently sank into depression and debt after losing £130,000 in an internet scam involving Nigerian fraudsters.

Symington described how an innocent acquaintance he formed with “Angela Gates” an American woman through MySpace, a social networking website, became a “nightmare” as he started doling out his life savings.

The 32-year-old befriended Gates for several weeks in the spring of 2007 before she started asking for money to pay for her mother’s funeral and medical expenses.

He said the requests then graduated to financial assistance to foot legal fees so that the Gates could free up land that she had inherited apparently worth $2million.

The requests continued through the year and, by last year, Symington had handed over his bank details and over £100, 000.

He said that he became suspicious when the woman stopped communicating with him and contacted what he thought was a website run by the FBI in America but which turned out to be another scam.

Symington, a resident of Portsmouth, Hampshire, said he then got a text message from his Gates telling him that he had been conned.

“It said that it was all false and that Angela was actually a man from Nigeria. I guess he came clean because he thought he had taken all the money he could,” Symington said.

However, his problems were hardly over as he was soon contacted by another woman, again from America, claiming she had also been caught in the scam.

He said that he then helped pay her legal expenses and the cost of hiring two investigative agents in an attempt to regain the money they had both lost.

Symington said that he now believes that these people are also involved in the scam. He said that he had paid out more than £30,000 to them, bringing his total loss to over £130,000.

“I feel sick from it all, I feel disillusioned. They have just played on my good nature. I’ve lost my life-savings. I have two loans and credit card debts. I’m in huge debts because of all of this. Before this happened, I used to go out every night, now I just stay in because I’ve lost all the self-confidence in my life and I don’t have the money to go out any more. I’ve also had five weeks off with depression from work,” revealed the Briton warning others to be extremely careful before handing money over to people they meet through the internet.

According to him, “It’s just wicked people getting everything they can get out of people.”

A recent study by research firm, Chatham House, discovered that Nigerian scams cost the British economy about £150 million a year. But the cost to society goes beyond just losing money, claimed British police. Some victims had attempted suicide while others watched their marriages crash and their businesses go bankrupt.

Forget the Brits, Australians lose at least $36 million a year to Nigerian scammers noted

Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police fraud squad, Australia. Hay disclosed that Australians send about $3 million a month to Nigeria of which at least 80 per cent was fraud related. He said the problem is “far more extensive” as the police is “well aware” that millions of dollars go to other countries as part of the same fraud process.

Even Anne Fairbairn, award-winning poet and the only granddaughter of Australia’s fourth Prime Minister, Sir George Reid fell prey to Nigerian scammers who hacked into her online account after she replied a scam message purportedly sent to her by Yahoo administrative office. The message requested that she confirms her account details by sending her account details and password. The scammer, having gotten the information went on to defraud friends of Fairbairn by posing as the poet to request financial assistance to the tune of $2, 500.

To the potential victim

If while checking the office mail you come across a poorly handwritten envelope addressed to you (or your company) postmarked from Lagos or anywhere else bearing stationery with an unsolicited “confidential business proposal,” from someone purporting to be a Nigerian civil servant. You have to be put up your guard especially when the offer states thus:

“Having consulted with my colleagues, and based on information gathered from the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, I am pleased to propose a confidential business transaction to our mutual benefit. I and my colleagues have in our possession instruments to transfer the sum of $35,500,000.00 into a company account in our favour. This amount emanated as a result from an over-invoiced contract, executed, commissioned, and paid for about two years ago by a foreign contractor. We are therefore seeking your assistance in transferring this money to your account as it can only be remitted to a foreign account, and as civil servants, we are forbidden to operate foreign accounts. The total sum will be shared as follows: 30% for the account owner (you), 60% for us, 10% to settle any incidental expenses. We shall commence the transfer of funds immediately, as soon as you send the following documents/information through the above fax number.

1. Four copies of your company’s letter head and invoice papers signed and stamped

2. Your banker’s name, address and fax numbers

3. The account number and name of would be beneficiary.

“Bear in mind that this is absolutely a private and personal deal, nonofficial; and should be treated with all measure of secrecy and confidentiality.”

You have just received an Advance Fee Fraud (AFF) letter, also known as “419″ after the section of the Nigerian penal law that deals with this type of fraud.

Story of the con

After a victim responds positively to a con letter by sending the required documentation (for example, signed company letterheads, bank account number, etc.) the hook is in. The primary reason for the documentation is not to rob the victim’s bank account, but to perpetuate the illusion that the deal is legitimate and moving forward. The blank signed letterheads are altered and used by the criminals as props in other frauds, letters of reference to obtain visas, or sold to other “hustlers.”

For the next week to 10 days, the perpetrators establish a level of trust with the victim. This is accomplished by sending the victim more “official” documentation verifying the bona fides of the deal and the people involved. The perpetrators will correspond with the victim via fake email addresses, fax machines and courier mail because it is difficult to trace. Usually, they make extensive use of business centres in Lagos to place phone calls and send faxes.

Travel to Nigeria

In some instances, prior to coming to Nigeria, the criminals will tell a victim to bring expensive watches, pens, and men’s suits as “gifts.” Proceeds from these items are kept by the criminals. The criminals may tell the victim that a visa is not required to enter Nigeria, or a visa has been arranged to be issued upon arrival.

If the victim is reluctant to come to Nigeria, the criminals will suggest a neutral country where a team is already established. The victim will be requested to provide them with his or her flight itinerary and the name of the hotel he or she will be staying. This is the first step in controlling the victim’s movements during the scam. Operating under the guise that the business contacts are in Nigeria, the criminals will have the victim send roundtrip airline tickets from Lagos to the neutral country for face-to-face meetings with business contacts. The victim is also requested to reserve hotel rooms in his or her name for the contacts. The hotel rooms are never in the same hotel as the victim’s. The criminals will cash the airline tickets, and use the hotel rooms, which are reserved under the name of a legitimate business person, or his or her company, in other scams or sell to another AFF criminals.

Every con seeks to lead the mark (targeted victim) to believe that he or she has a chance to attain something of very great personal value (financial reward, a romantic relationship, etc) in return for a small up-front monetary outlay.

Every con shares a common thread. The proposals are unsolicited, emphasize urgency and confidentiality of the deal, and require the victim to pay various government and legal fees and taxes before receiving what turns out to be nonexistent money.

Con variations include Transfer of Money from Over-Invoiced Contracts which involves an offer to transfer large sums of money into an overseas bank account owned by a foreign company. The money comes from over-invoiced contracts from a Nigerian company or one of the Nigerian Government ministries (that is, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation). The victim soon finds out that he or she is required to pay various “transaction fees” before the money can be released. The victim can be strung along for months or years paying various fees and taxes before realizing that the money does not exist.

Then there is the Clearing House con, a recent twist in advance fee fraud that has Nigerians and non-Nigerians living outside Nigeria claiming to be a clearinghouse or venture capital organization for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). In essence, clearinghouses are non-interested third parties setup by the criminals to provide payment instructions allegedly from the CBN to the victim. Clearinghouses also lend credibility to the con by alleviating any doubts the victim may have in dealing with a Nigerian bank. It is for this reason that a number of fraudulent clearinghouses have been setup in the United States for instance.

The clearinghouse will either launder the proceeds from AFF or funnel its proceeds to the con artists who in turn deposit it into bank accounts in those world financial centres (Geneva, New York, London) whose strict banking laws limit police access to its records. From these bank accounts, the money is transferred to a corresponding bank in Lagos. Once the money hits Lagos, it is almost impossible to trace.

The war, so far

Recently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claimed to have thwarted internet scams that would have left victims with losses running into N5billion. This was achieved during covert operations targeting cyber crimes activities in various parts of the country.

In a particular instance, the anti-graft agency said that the covert operation codenamed, “Operation Cyber Storm” executed in collaboration with other international law enforcement authorities enabled EFCC intercept scam cheques valued at N5billion.

During the sting operation, over 90 cyber cafes were raided while over 100 suspects were arrested and are facing various criminal charges in Nigeria.

Computer systems used in the alleged criminal activities were also confiscated for forensic examination said the agency which also released photos of suspected fraudsters as well as computer systems allegedly used in cyber crime.

An official of EFCC, Ahmad Sa’ad Abubakar noted that the month-long covert operations undertaken in Lagos yielded results in efforts at tackling cyber crime activities in Nigeria.

EFCC’s disclosure comes amid a warning by Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, that the U.S. agency is spreading an international dragnet to arrest a Nigerian, Tobechi Enyinna Onwuhara, for allegedly defrauding US financial institutions of “tens of millions of dollars” by stealing the online identity of bank customers.

Meanwhile, EFCC said that most of the internet based crimes reported in Nigeria are linked to advance fee fraud scams, a development traced to the proliferation of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and cyber cafes in the country. Subsequently, fraudsters started using online alternatives instead of the regular mail and fax to take their business to the global stage.

These days, they have devised ingenious means to operate covertly from hastily built apartments on the city outskirts far from the searchlight of anti-graft agencies.

In another development, the EFCC recently apprehended a crime syndicate adept at cloning of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards of unsuspecting Nigerians. The trans-state operations carried out by the commission’s operatives which saw them combing states in about three geo-political zones reportedly led to the arrest of the syndicate.

The syndicate is also suspected to be behind the Interswitch scam message that is randomly sent to members of the public demanding their secret PIN numbers for update of their account data. So far, a banker arrested in the course of the sweeping operations, Ms. Cassandra Olaleye reportedly confessed to using the cloned ATM cards to steal about N12 million from the account of a customer with her bank.

According to Femi Babafemi, EFCC spokesperson, the syndicate cloned ATM cards using Magnetic Card Reader/Encoder Machine.

“The trio, Chris Okeke, Nicholas Egboh and Kelechi Aro were smoked out of the hideout following series of investigations which started from Kano that fingered them as the arrowheads of the deadly gang that had been defrauding depositors of various banks through the ATM. They were arrested on the last floor of a two-storey building in Alaba Suru, a suburb of Lagos. Six laptop computers, the card reader machine, bank documents and several credit cards and ATM cards were recovered from the suspects. Also recovered was a Gulf 3 saloon car.

According to investigation, all the fraudsters needed to have access to the account of any bank depositor are the victim’s ATM and PIN numbers. Once they have that information, they would use card reader machine to print the numbers on any ATM card. Once that is done, they can use the card to withdraw money from the victim’s account without even knowing the account holder’s name,” he said.

Recent anti-graft covert operations focus on black spots where advance fee fraud-related activities occur. Such spots include cyber cafes and counterfeiting outlets operating as business centres among others.

However, to effectively check advance fee fraud in Nigeria, the EFCC will need to do more than regulating the activities of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cybercafes and telecoms service providers noted Mahmoud Adams, 54, a retired law enforcement officer and proprietor of a private security outfit. The agency must establish and maintain joint multinational investigation and task forces to engender better understanding amongst international enforcement agencies in their collective battle to eliminate advance fee fraud.

So far, EFCC has initiated partnerships with ISPs, telecoms, cybercafé operators and other stakeholders to develop due care guidelines to prevent the abuse of their facilities by scammers. The agency also works with courier outfits to disrupt illegal activities of scammers.

In conjunction with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Centre, the anti-graft agency is currently able to block fraudulent email addresses and websites. Additionally, the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), domiciled within EFCC, has been able to track online, all financial transactions in Nigeria in real time.

Despite these efforts, “hustlers” like Ayeni and Akande continue to flourish in careless abandon at the backdrop of a more coordinated, calculated and wholly insidious con art characterised by every day people like Bajomo, the millionaire con artist who keeps a day job.

FG admits to illegal diversion of N4trn federation account fund


The Federal Government yesterday admitted before the Supreme Court that its operation of the Federation Account between 2004 and 2007 was largely illegal, being not in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 constitution. The Federal Government, had, for instance, diverted certain revenues, in excess of N4 trillion, which ought to accrue to the Federation Account for sharing among the three tiers of government during the period.

The Federal Government had labeled such monies as independent revenues of the Federal Government which a total 27 states of the Federation, as at yesterday, kicked against.

Some of the revenues allegedly diverted illegally by the Federal Government include proceeds from signature bonus, dividends from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG), sale of government properties, privatisation proceeds, education tax proceeds, dividends and other Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) of federal ministries, parastatals and agencies.

Besides, the government had, since 2004, also diverted whopping sums of monies which ought to accrue to the Federation Account to maintain excess crude savings account and had unilaterally used the account to fund federal projects.

The Federal Government had also unilaterally ceded 4% of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from non-oil taxes since 2005 to the FIRS and 7% from customs and excise collection to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

The percentages so ceded are annually deducted upfront and paid monthly to the FIRS and NCS contrary to provisions of section 162 of the 1999 constitution.

From 2005-2007, a total N99 billion was withheld from the Federation Account for this purpose.

The 27 state governments which are presently before the Supreme Court to seek its order compelling the Federal Government to refund them their share of all the monies illegally diverted are also contending that the tax waivers and exceptions granted by the Federal Government amounted to expending revenues which ought to accrue to the Federation Account.

But the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation which admitted yesterday that the Federation Account was largely operated in breach of the 1999 constitution said there was no need wasting the precious time of the court to litigate on such issues, having consented that it was illegal.

The government said in line with the rule of law paradigm of President Umaru Yar’Adua administration, all that mattered now was to address issues of fiscal federalism which can advance the cause of constitutionalism.

But it pleaded with the apex court to give it till January 18, next year, to finalise with the aggrieved state governments on how it intended to refund their shares of the illegally diverted public funds.

Chief Chris Alege (SAN) was the lead counsel who represented the Attorney-General of the Federation in the case yesterday.

Although Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) who is the lead counsel to about 15 of the aggrieved states had requested for just four weeks to get the endorsement of all parties to the case, Alege had said that giving them up till January 18 next year will help them to agree finally on the areas in which they had reached consensus for out-of-court settlement.

He said the long adjournment will also enable them to prepare their briefs on the areas both parties could not resolve amicably.

But both Alege representing the Federal Government and Chief Awomolo (SAN) did not give details of the consensus they had reached on the issue in the court yesterday.

However after proceedings in the case yesterday, both senior counsel spoke with Vanguard exclusively on the issue.

According to Alege (SAN), he said they had reached an agreement on some of the constitutional issues tabled by the states for the pronouncement of the court.

He said that there were however two areas in which they were yet to reach an accord.
He gave the two issues to include the education tax and the proceeds from sale of Federal Government properties.

He said both parties had already agreed to refer the areas they could not reach consensus on to the Supreme Court for its pronouncement.

Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) on his part told Vanguard that series of meetings were held before yesterday, saying the last of which held on September 8, 2009 at the Conference Room of the Minister of Finance.

He said that at the meeting, the report of the Harmonisation Committee was considered with far reaching recommendations made by the technical committee.

He said that presently, “consensus has been reached on six issues namely excess crude account, signature bonus (subject to treatment of backlog and the Federal Government concern on future funding of PTDF), cost of collections, waivers and concessions, other dividends and internally generated revenue (subject to treatment of backlog) and the Central Bank of Nigeria charges.”

He said conditional consensus (subject to the ascertainment of sources of funding for acquisition and treatment of backlog) has been reached on three issues including NLNG dividends, proceeds from sale of government properties and privatisation proceeds.
He concluded by saying that there is yet no consensus on Education Tax.

He said the agreement is to refer this issue to the Supreme Court for interpretation of the Education Tax Act in the light of section 162 of the 1999 constitution.
Explaining further, Chief Awomolo (SAN), said part of the recommendations agreed upon by both parties are:

•That the provisions of section 162 (1-10) of the 1999 constitution is the basis and the authority for the operation of the Federation Account

•That the operation of the Excess Crude Account during the period 2004-2007 was inconsistent with section 162 of the 1999 constitution

•That the impending review of the constitution should feature a proposal to provide appropriate legislative backing to the operation of the Excess Crude Account without prejudice to the FRA 2007

•That the sum of $8.425 billion deducted from the Federation Account for the NIPP should be converted to equity contribution with a caveat that NIPP should be properly incorporated as a company; assets acquired by the company should be clearly stated and identified and the shareholding of stakeholders should be clearly spelt out and this will form the basis of allotment of shares in the company to be backed up by shares certificates in the name of states and individual local government councils.

•That the sum total of $250 million deducted from the Federation Account for modernization project of the Nigeria Railways should be converted to equity contribution

•That the $80 million invested in the equity of the Ibom Power Plant should be shared amongst the federating units and shares certificates issued to them individually

•That the CBN should refund 75% of the commission charged on the Paris Club debt exit to the Federation Account and pay it into the Federation Account for distribution to the states

•That henceforth, all revenues from signature bonus should be paid into the Federation Account as contained in the FIRS (Establishment) Act 2007

•That to deal with claim for backlog of signature bonus, how much is in the PTDF Account should be ascertained, ascertain the amount required by PTDF to meet its funding obligation for 2009 and transfer the remaining balance into the Federation Account for sharing

•That the FGN’s equity in NLGN should be treated as an asset of the Federation Account and the dividends so far received should be paid into the Federation Account if it is found that the funds used for investment in the company was from the Federation Account asset among others.

It would be recalled that about three states of the Federation spearheaded the on-going legal battle with Oyo state at the vanguard.

As at today, 27 states of the Federation have so far filed papers seeking for similar reliefs.

It is the case of the 27 plaintiff states that the Federal Government breached the provisions of the 1999 constitution by so diverting and withdrawing monies that should have constitutionally stood to the credit of the Federation Account for onward sharing among the three tiers of government in the country.

According to the plaintiff states, the funds were illegally used to finance Federal Government projects like the power and railway projects, Federal ministries like the Federal Inland Revenue Services and the Nigerian Customs and to service the debts owed by the Federal Government against the Paris Club.

In their lawsuits, the 20 states of the Federation are praying the apex court for an order compelling the Federal Government to refund to them all the said monies illegally diverted between 2004 till date with interest.

For instance, Oyo government alone has summed up the total amount it was allegedly shortchanged between 2004 and 2007 by the Federal Government as N97.2billion.

The various writs already filed before the courts by different states of the Federation were filed by a team of seasoned legal practitioners.

Oyo State’s writ of summons was filed by a team of tested legal practitioners including Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), Yusuf Ali (SAN), Dr Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN), Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Chief Chris Uche (SAN), Dr Akin Onigbinde, Prof Akinseye George and Ogunmuyiwa Balogun.

In the Oyo writ, the state government is contending that between 2004 and 2007, several monies that ought to be paid into the Federation Account were unconstitutionally diverted by the Federal Government to finance projects unknown to the constitution.

The state also said that, at times, such monies were also diverted into accounts like the Excess Crude Account, which are unknown to the constitution.

Source; VANGUARD

Bank crisis: FG pumps $2bn into economy


BY TRIBUNE

THE National Economic Council (NEC), on Tuesday, approved that $2 billion, about (N300 billion), be released from the excess crude money into the economy to tackle liquidity crisis, which arose from the inability of the commercial banks to lend enough money since the banking reform began.

The excess crude money belongs to the three tiers of government and the approval gave legal backing to an earlier directive by President Umaru Yar’Adua to the finance minister to release the money.

Briefing State House reporters after the NEC meeting, Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, said the NEC gave the approval for the release of the money which would be shared by the three tiers of government next week.

He said the president was worried that since the reform began, commercial banks were finding it difficult to lend money to loan seekers and that the situation was creating a squeeze in the economy.

The NEC team that briefed reporters was led by Imo State governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim. The council also commended President Yar’Adua for the success so far recorded in the implementation of the amnesty package for Niger Delta militants and assured the Federal Government of its support in the implementation of the remaining stages of the amnesty.

Dr. Usman also disclosed that a draft copy of the Vision 2020 document was presented to the NEC, adding that it would be given to the Federal Executive Council next week for approval.

Another matter discussed by the council, chaired by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, was complaints from some state governors about deductions from their statutory allocations for the repayment of the Paris Club debt.

According to the minister, satisfactory explanations were given to the affected governors on the deductions. Meanwhile, the arraignment of the three bank chiefs removed from office last Friday may not come soon.

The managing directors of Spring Bank, Bank PHB and Equitorial Bank were sacked on Friday last week. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, the apex bank was yet to report any of the sacked bank CEOs based on the latest audit report to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), adding that CBN as a regulatory agency, had a working relationship with EFCC and other law enforcement agencies and issues of such nature were treated in the normal way.

Abdullahi explained that if the CBN suspected serious infractions in any of the banks, it would provide information to the appropriate authorities to investigate and possibly prosecute the suspects.

He denied insinuations that CBN was treating the outcome of the recent examination differently from the one carried out in August, which saw five bank chiefs losing their positions.

He explained that all the banks in the country were treated the same way, adding that the same criteria were employed for the special examination in all the banks. “These criteria were: liquidity, capital adequacy, and corporate governance. The only difference is that the examiners found different things in the 24 banks, necessitating different actions.“

Abdullahi could not really state whether the apex bank would publish the names of the bad debtors of the newly affected banks, stating that the CBN was concerned about helping all the five new banks with capital adequacy issues in their loan recovery efforts, just as it did with the first five.

On why certain managing directors of certain banks were not removed despite widespread suspicions against them, he said CBN used the same criteria to evaluate all the banks, and acted on its findings, adding that the apex bank was not after any institution or any individual.

“CBN is not led by sentiments. Rather, CBN is guided in its actions by how the various institutions performed against the stipulated criteria.” Meanwhile, the CBN has also denied claims that it had convened a meeting with the CEOs of the 24 Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and oil sector operators for tomorrow on issues affecting the banking reforms and the economy, stressing that no such meeting has been slated.

The Senate’s invitations to the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri and the Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, to appear before it on Tuesday was postponed till another date as the trio were conspicuously absent.

This was sequel to the ongoing World Bank conference at Istanbul, Turkey, which Farida and Lamido are currently attending. The Senate President, David Mark, announced during the plenary session that those invited had sent in letters to the Senate requesting that the date should be shifted.

The Senate, last week, had summoned them to come and explain the current crisis in the nation’s banking sector. The apex bank, through its governor, Mr. Sanusi, sacked the managing directors and executive directors of five banks, namely FinBank, Oceanic, Intercontinental, Union and Afribank, on account of alleged unprofessional conduct.

However, at the resumed sitting of the Senate after two months of recess last week, Senate President noted that since the episode occurred while the Senate was on recess, it was necessary that they be briefed to enable them to take informed decision on the matter.

He noted that since the matter was already in the court of law, the functionaries should be invited to brief the Senate behind closed doors. According to him, “this is not to be discussed in the open, but, we will invite them to brief us at a closed session.”

North moves to take control of banks


Source: The Nation

The North has launched fresh moves to seize the current fallout of the reforms in the banking sector to significantly increase its shareholding in the sector. The move by the North was part of the resolution at its recent meeting held in Kaduna which communiqué was not released to the public.
However reliable sources at the meeting told The Nation  that the meeting decided on a comprehensive mobilisation of its elites towards taking control of a chunk in the banks’ shares. To achieve the dream, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF’s National Working Committee, NWC has set up a committee to implement the plan.

The Nation reliably gathered that the issue was part of the main agenda during the ACF National Working Committee’s last two meetings in Kaduna .

An aspect of the resolution obtained by our correspondent stated: “On issues concerning the banking sector, the (ACF) chairman stated that a committee was set up by the National Working Committee in order to address the issue. It stated that ‘the North must take advantage of any opportunity of acquiring equities in the banking sector.”  The decisions were contained in a resolution reached at the end of its July 1 meeting and signed by ACF’s chairman, General I.B.M. Haruna (rtd) and its Secretary-General, Colonel Musa Shehu (rtd). Another meeting held on September 30 also reaffirmed this position. The Nation learnt that more rigorous discussion of the issue took place at the September meeting.

The meeting presided over by General I.B.M. Haruna (rtd) exhaustively discussed issues surrounding mobilization of northerners for decisive investment towards acquiring worthwhile equity holdings in the banking industry. 

 

According to insiders, the ACF NWC whose members have met the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi were impressed with current efforts to sanitize the banking system.

There have been accusations that the recent shakeup in the banking industry was aimed at strengthening the North economically, but the ACF Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani has continued to deny any Southern agenda. He has expressed anger over speculations in the media seeking to imply that influential citizens of northern origin helped scuttle several banks so that northern interests can acquire them.

Sani said: “What we have been saying is that since the last banking industry consolidation exercise, it has become glaring that the North does not have a bank it can call its own. The only two ways of redressing this are either by raising your own N25 billion bank to start a bank or buying shares in any existing bank.

“The issue of concern in the North is all about mobilization of capital to start and develop businesses. Because of peculiar collective needs, we have to begin processes that will bring about investment in businesses,” Sani told The Nation on telephone last Friday.

The Nation gathered that some former state governors, including Alhaji Saidu Barda, Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), Col. J.I.P. Ubah (rtd) and others such as Brigadier-General M.A. Umar, Justice Yoonus Abdullahi, Alhaji Mohammed Kumo, Lt-Genenaral Jeremiah Useni (rtd), Alhaji Dauda Birma, Brigadier –General Abba Kyari (rtd), Lt-Gen. Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi, Maj. General Muhammadu Shuwa were among those at the meeting.

Sani explained that the body’s NWC deliberately decided not to issue any communiqué or disseminate discussions which took place at its September 30 meeting. He asserted that the meeting was more of a review and continuation of previous discussions on economic development issues.

According to Sani, ACF has no need to exploit access to any influential government officials to facilitate its agenda for increased participation of northerners in their country’s banking industry.

Our correspondent gathered that the ACF also did an analysis of the nature, effect and prospects of the dying textile industry in the northern states, especially in view of the N70 billion Textile Development Fund which the ACF leadership sees as a mirage that is not likely to become actualized by the Federal Government.

Another major issue discussed was the anxiety being generated by evolving patterns of kidnapping which the North had never experienced before.

The sources further disclosed that a special paper presented at the September 30 meeting by one Hajia Fati Ibrahim gave ACF NWC members a comprehensive analysis of how inadequate financing options, outdated equipment, erratic power supply, lax regulations and other problems have ensured worsening unemployment and economic impoverishment across northern states.

“Some members expressed the view that the Presidency can do more towards discouraging smuggling.” A source stated.

Following discussions on how utilization of the N200 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme can boost development in various states, ACF’s NWC resolved to present a position paper on the issue to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sayyadi Abba Ruma.

They further discussed other issues including the need for northern states’ governors to encourage micro finance banks along with the incessant violent conflicts and security threat caused by migration and desert encroachment in the largely arid North.

Banks have contributed to corruption in the ports


Source: Vanguard

Nigeria banks defraud government of several millions of naira by holding back revenue which is supposed to be paid to government. Shittu, who is also the Chairman, Committee on Public Relations of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding of Nigeria, CRFFN, expressed worry that despite the abuses of the banks in this regard goes unreported in the media.

Banks have contributed to corruption in the ports – VANGUARD

Commercial banks in the country have been accused of contributing to the high level of corruption in the maritime sub-sector through abuse of form “M”. Speaking at a one day sensitization seminar tagged: The Economic Imperative of Reviving Eastern Ports, Managing Director of Skelas Nigeria Limited, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said the transfer of the Form “M” function from Customs to the banks have not helped matters.

He said that there had been situations where the banks defraud government of several millions of naira by holding back revenue which is supposed to be paid to government. Shittu, who is also the Chairman, Committee on Public Relations of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding of Nigeria, CRFFN, expressed worry that despite the abuses of the banks in this regard goes unreported in the media.

He also blamed the actions of SGS, the destination inspection agent responsible for Port Harcourt port for the movement of importers from there to Lagos occasioned by sharp increases in port charges.

He explained that they (SGS) not only jack up the charges of the freight of cargoes but also the value of such goods. The Skelas boss commended maritimes journalists for organising the forum, saying there is need for government to take a critical look at the issues raised and ensure that deliberate efforts are made to improve maritime activities at the port.

Also speaking at the seminar, a maritime expert, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi, charged the Federal Government to work at exploiting the economic potentials of the eastern ports for the benefit of people, as well as reducing the restiveness in the Niger-Delta region.

The continued neglect of the eastern port has contributed in no small way to the restiveness in the region.
Ajayi said that the economic benefits of full exploitation of ports in the eastern part to the federal and state governments as well as the various communities in the region cannot be over emphasised.

The problems that needed to be tackled immediately to achieve the above desire according to him, are, “Militancy, problem of pilotage, shallow navigational channels and bad roads.”

He said “it is therefore a matter of urgency that the Federal Government should find a logical solution to the issue of militancy by ensuring that adequate infrastructure are made available to the communities. Government should also resolve once and for all the problem of ship pilotage along the Delta creeks.”

Mary-Louise Parker nipples exposed in Weeds scene


Mary-Louise Parker (born August 2, 1964) is an American actress. Some of her roles include Fried Green Tomatoes, Boys on the Side, Proof, The West Wing, Angels in America, and her current lead role on Showtime’s television series Weeds portraying Nancy Botwin. For the past nine years she has contributed columns to the men’s magazine Esquire

Parker was born in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Her mother was Swedish and her father was a judge and served in the U.S. Army. They were stationed in Thailand where she attended the International School Bangkok.[1][2] Parker majored in drama at the North Carolina School of the Arts. She then got her start in a bit part on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope. In the late 1980s, Parker moved to New York, where she got a job measuring feet at ECCO. After a few minor roles, she made her Broadway debut in a 1990 production of Craig LucasPrelude to a Kiss, playing the lead role of Rita. She had moved with the production when it transferred from its origin Off-Broadway. She won the Clarence Derwent Award for her performance and was nominated for a Tony Award (although she did not play the role when the film was made). Parker also briefly dated her co-star Timothy Hutton during this time.

That same year, Parker was noticed by critics when she appeared in the movie adaptation of another Lucas play, Longtime Companion, one of the first movies to confront AIDS in the public arena. This role was followed by her appearance in 1991′s Grand Canyon, which also starred Mary McDonnell, Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard and Kevin Kline. Parker’s next film was Fried Green Tomatoes, alongside Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kathy Bates and Cicely Tyson.

Parker maintained a strong theater presence in the early 1990s, but also built her reputation on the big screen, starring with Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones in The Client (1994); with John Cusack in Bullets Over Broadway (1994); and with Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg in Boys on the Side (1995), as a woman with AIDS. Her next role was in a movie adaptation of yet another Craig Lucas play, Reckless (1995), alongside Mia Farrow, followed by Jane Campion‘s The Portrait of a Lady (1996), which also starred Nicole Kidman, Viggo Mortensen, Christian Bale, John Malkovich and Barbara Hershey. In addition, she appeared alongside Matthew Modine in Tim Hunter‘s The Maker (1997).

Parker’s theater career continued when she appeared in Paula Vogel‘s 1997 critical smash How I Learned To Drive, with David Morse. After several independent film releases, she appeared in Let The Devil Wear Black and then a much-lauded[citation needed] role in The Five Senses (1999).

In 2001, Parker appeared alongside Larry Bryggman in David Auburn‘s Proof on Broadway, for which she won a Tony Award. However, Parker again lost out when the play was made into a film and the role was given to Gwyneth Paltrow. During this period, she left the theater for three years to look for other roles: among them, Red Dragon and Pipe Dream (2002).

Next was a guest role on the NBC drama, The West Wing, as women’s rights activist Amelia “Amy” Gardner, which soon became a recurring role as a love interest for Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman. For this role, Parker was nominated for both an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. During the fifth season, however, Parker became pregnant and her character was written out of the series after appearing in four episodes.

On December 7, 2003, HBO aired an epic six-and-a-half hour adaptation of Tony Kushner‘s acclaimed Broadway play Angels in America, directed by Mike Nichols. The miniseries — about a group of lost souls in New York during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s — was hailed with international critical acclaim. Parker played Harper Pitt, the Mormon Valium-addicted wife of a closeted lawyer, appearing full frontally nude. For her performance, Parker received Golden Globe and Emmy awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries

In 2004, Parker appeared in the comedy Saved!, and a TV movie called Miracle Run, based on the true story of a mother of two sons with autism, as well as appearing in Craig Lucas’ Reckless on Broadway. Parker took the lead role that had been Mia Farrow‘s on screen. The production, directed by Mark Brokaw, earned Parker another nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actress in 2005.

Parker returned to The West Wing in several guest appearances in 2005 and 2006, the show’s final season, portraying the Director of Legislative Affairs under the President-elect Matt Santos.

In 2005, Parker took on the lead role in the television series Weeds, a Showtime comedy-drama. Parker’s character, Nancy Botwin, is a suburban mother who, following the death of her husband, decides to sell marijuana to make money, while also attempting to maintain her community reputation. She stars alongside Kevin Nealon, Elizabeth Perkins, and her Angels in America co-star Justin Kirk. The show is currently in its fifth season, and has been confirmed to return for at least one more season for 2010.

In November 2005, Parker was honored with an exhibition of her career at Boston University, where memorabilia from her career were donated to the University’s library. Parker received the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy, given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, for her lead role in Weeds. In that category, she defeated the four leads of Desperate Housewives. She dedicated the award to the late John Spencer, best known for his work as Leo McGarry on The West Wing. After receiving the award, Parker stated: “I’m really in favor of legalizing marijuana. I don’t think it’s that controversial.”[3

In March 2007, Parker played the lead role in the TV film The Robber Bride. Her next role, Zerelda Mimms, in the Andrew Dominik film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, opened in cinemas in September 2007. Parker appeared alongside Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell and Garret Dillahunt. In August 2007, Parker continued her role in the third season of Weeds. In July 2007, Parker was nominated for two Emmy Awards, one for Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie for playing Zenia Arden in The Robber Bride and the other for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Weeds.

In August 2007, she posed nude for an ad for the third season of Weeds. In the ad, she appears as Eve in the Garden of Eden, with a snake draped around her body and a cannabis leaf behind her ear.[4]

On November 9, 2007, Parker was honored as the Entertainer of the Year by Out Magazine at the Out 100 Awards, which were celebrated in New York City.[5]

Parker appeared in 2008′s The Spiderwick Chronicles and in off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons in the New York premiere of Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a new play by Sarah Ruhl, alongside Drama Desk Award Winner Kathleen Chalfant.[6]

She is currently filming the Donna Vermeer film Les Passages alongside Julie Delpy. Following this, she will return to work on the fifth season of Weeds. In the beginning of 2009, Parker will take the lead role in the upcoming revival of the play Hedda Gabler.[7]

On January 7, 2004, Parker gave birth to her first child, William Atticus Parker. The boy’s father is actor Billy Crudup, whom Parker met during rehearsals when they co-starred onstage in a 1996 revival of the William Inge play Bus Stop. After nearly eight years together, the couple split when the actress was seven months pregnant. Shortly after, Crudup openly admitted that he was dating actress Claire Danes, whom he met on the set of Stage Beauty. Crudup denies the rumor that the breakup was caused by Danes.

Parker has also dated Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows, with whom she remains close friends, and Timothy Hutton.[8]

In December 2006, Parker began dating actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, whom she met on the set of Weeds.[9] In March 2007, Parker stated that the relationship was “going great.”[10] The two briefly split in June 2007, but later reconciled.[9] On February 12, 2008, Parker and Morgan announced their engagement only to break up again in April 2008.[11]

In September 2007, Parker adopted a baby girl, Caroline “Ash” Aberash Parker, from Ethiopia.

Mariacarla Boscono in nakedness


Mariacarla Boscono (born September 20, 1980) is an Italian model

Boscono was born in Rome, Italy. She spent most of her early life travelling because of her father’s work. Her parents lived in Thailand before she was born, but after her mother became pregnant they moved to Rome. She spent a couple of years in Rome until moving to Providence and then Key West. She spent her early school years in the States, but her parents thought it would be better for Boscono to study in Italy and reconnect with her Italian heritage. This did not last very long though: at 9 years old Boscono and her family moved to Africa, living in a village between Malindi and Mombasa. Boscono described her years in Africa as “the most fantastic in her life”.

Boscono was discovered at 17 during a dinner with a family friend who happened to be a photographer. The friend and Boscono’s mother encouraged her to begin a modeling career, but Boscono chose to finish school first. Soon after graduating high school she flew to New York City, signed with DNA Model Management, and became one of the favorite models of Karl Lagerfeld. It didn’t take long for Boscono to rise as an internationally known model, being featured on the cover of Vogue several times and walking in many high fashion runway shows. Recently she was named spokesperson for Hennes & Mauritz, replacing Kate Moss, and during 2006′s Fall Fashion Week she traded in her long dark locks for a short platinum blonde hairstyle reminiscent of Jean Seberg. Boscono is living in New York, and calls it her second home, coming second after her birthplace of Rome.

To date, she has campaigned for such brands as Chanel, Blumarine, D&G, Etro, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Escada, Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Diesel, Roberto Cavalli, Alberta Ferretti, Armani Exchange, Dolce & Gabbana and many more.

During the 2005 season, Boscono walked in over seventy fashion shows between New York, Milan and Paris. In 2005, she earned an estimated $3,500,000 in the past 12 months for a spot on Forbes list of the World’s 15 Top-Earning Supermodels.[citation needed] Despite this, Boscono was absent from the runways for both the Fall/Winter 2007 and Spring/Summer 2007 seasons. Boscono made her return to the runways in Paris at the Fall/Winter 2008 Couture collection for the House of Dior. Also back is Boscono’s natural black hair.

As of 2008, she is the sole face of Emilio Pucci, Hermès, John Galliano and Moschino ad campaigns and walked for designers like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Christian Dior, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jean Paul Gaultier.

She posed in Africa for the 2009 Pirelli Calendar by Peter Beard. Boscono has previously appeared in the Pirelli Calendar in 2003 and 2004.

Boscono is now the muse of maison Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci and has appeared in several campaigns for Givenchy.[1]

In November, 2008, she signed a contract for the new Moschino’s fragrance “Glamour”, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier and she becomes the new face of the Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2009 advertising campaign with Brazilian model Caroline Trentini and American model Karlie Kloss.

In 2009, she became the face of Dolce & Gabbana and Givenchy Spring/Summer 2009 ad campaigns. In March she appeared on the cover of W Korea. She was the face of the Fall/Winter 2009 Salvatore Ferragamo and Dolce & Gabbana ad campaigns.

Boscono made her theater debut[when?] as ‘Solange’, a self-loathing sister, in Jean Genet‘s Maid, staged by the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York.[citation needed] In the cast of the piece there was also her friend Margherita Missoni.

Boscono, who splits her time between New York City and Rome, had a relationship with Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, the son of Carine Roitfeld (editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris). She is good friends with designer Riccardo Tisci and they usually spend time together traveling around the world. Her parents are the creators of fashion brand Saucony. She likes rock bands like Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana. Boscono loves vintage clothes, designer handbags and shoes.

She is close friends with fellow models Eva Riccobono, Raquel Zimmermann, Natalia Vodianova and Liya Kebede.

The Kanye west yabis of Taylor Swift


Kanye West steals Taylor Swift's moment at 2009 MTV VMAs

Guys don’t ever compare yourself to a comedy actor when apologizing, it looks sooo lame.

goes on sending apology messages to after his 2009 rant when he jumped on the stage while Taylor was saying her acceptance speech after receiving Best Female Video for ‘You Belong With Me’ and interrupted her speech with the words:

Yo Taylor. I’m really happy for you. I’m gonna let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”

Kanye has already issued two apologies on his blog though deleting the first one soon after posting.

In his second apology he compares himself to in Meet The Parents:

I feel like in Meet the Parents when he messed up everything and asked him to leave… That was Taylor’s moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry.”

His first lengthy apology was as follows:

I’m sooooo sorry to and her fans and her mom [Andrea]. I spoke to her mother right after and she said the same thing my mother would’ve said. She is very talented! I like the lyrics about being a cheerleader and she’s in the bleachers! I’m in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment! Beyonce’s video was the best of this decade!!! I’m sorry to my fans if I let you guys down!!!!! I’m sorry to my friends at MTV. I will apologize to Taylor 2mrw. Welcome to the real world!!!! Everybody wanna booooo me but I’m a fan of real pop culture!!! No disrespect but we watchin’ the show at the cribe right now cause…. Well you know!!!! I’m still happy for Taylor!!!! Boooyaawww!!!! You are very talented!!!!! I gave my awards to Outkast when they deserved it over me… That’s what it is!!!! I’m not crazy yall, I’m just real. Sorry for that!!! I really feel bad for Taylor and I’m sincerely sorry!!! Much Respect!!!!!”

Your thoughts, guys?

Source: Glamourveinyard.com

NAKED FAMOUS ASHLEY GREEN


Ashley Greene

 

Ashley Greene

 

Ashley Greene from Twilight movies show her naked body in personal pictures - Hot Celebs Home

Ashley Michele Greene (born February 21, 1987) is an American actress. She is perhaps best known for playing Alice Cullen in the 2008 film Twilight, and will be reprising the role in its upcoming sequels

Greene was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of Michele, who works in insurance, and Joe Greene, a U.S. Marine who now owns his own concrete business.[1][2] She grew up in Middleburg and Jacksonville, and went to University Christian School before transferring to Wolfson High School when she was in tenth grade.[3] She moved to Los Angeles, California at the age of 17 to pursue an acting career.[3][4] Greene has one sibling, an older brother named Joe, who still resides in Jacksonville with his parents.[3]

Greene is good friends with her Twilight co-stars, particularly Kellan Lutz, whom she knew before filming the movie.[5][6]

In August 2009, nude photos of Greene were leaked on the internet. It is believed the photos were taken when she was 19 years old.[7] The candid photos were posted on a number of internet celebrity news web sites but swiftly removed, followed by a statement from Greene’s attorney.[8]

“The photos in question, which appear to be of our client, are illegal and are being unlawfully displayed. Our client intends to take legal action. Ms. Greene is the owner of the copyrights in these photos, and as copyright owner, Ms. Greene owns the exclusive rights, among others, to reproduce, distribute, and to display the photos.”

Greene initially planned to become a model, but was told that she wasn’t tall enough to be a runway model and should instead focus on commercials.[4] After taking commercial and acting classes, she fell in love with acting and realized that she preferred it over modeling.[4] Greene thus graduated high school early at the age of 17 and moved to L.A. to pursue an acting career.[4] Since then, she has appeared as a guest on many popular television programs, such as Punk’d and Crossing Jordan. Greene’s big break came in 2008 when she was cast as Alice Cullen in Twilight, a film based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer. Greene will be reuniting with her Twilight co-star Kellan Lutz in the upcoming movie Warrior.[9] She will also reprise her role as Alice in the 2009 sequel to Twilight, New Moon, and 2010′s Eclipse.[10] Greene will also be starring in an upcoming thriller film, Summer’s Blood, which is set to be released in summer 2009.[11]

celebrities scandals of 2009


Source:MSNBC

 

Rest in peace? Not so easy

Michael Jackson’s siblings and children are pictured at the singer’s memorial service on July 7, 2009.

While the singer’s death on June 25 at age 50 was shocking and unexpected, there were dozens of angles that the tabloids seized on afterwards. From Jackson’s reported money woes to the custody and parentage of his children to various family feuds and, of course, the medications the singer was taking, every angle of his life is being shaken out and discussed in the media.

 

 

Renewed vows didn’t take

Jon and Kate Gosselin, parents of twins and sextuplets and stars of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” renewed their vows in Hawaii in 2008. But by June 2009, the couple had announced plans to divorce, and Jon Gosselin was seen in Paris with a new girlfriend, daughter of the surgeon who performed Kate’s tummy tuck.

 

She dreamed a dream

Locals gather at the community center in Blackburn, Scotland, to watch Susan Boyle during the finale of “Britain’s Got Talent” on May 30, 2009.

Boyle, 48, wowed the world when she came from nowhere and displayed stunning vocal talents when auditioning for the show. Once her name became known, her every step was hounded by photographers, and after she came in second to dance troupe Diversity on the show, Boyle received care at a private psychiatric clinic in London.

From the Oscars back to the slums

“Slumdog Millionaire” child actor Rubina Ali, 9, waves as she is welcomed back to her home in suburban Mumbai, India, on Feb. 26, 2009, after traveling to the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

“Slumdog Millionaire” was the big winner at the Oscars, but following the ceremony, Ali and her fellow child stars returned to slum life. In April 2009, Ali’s father denied reports that he tried to sell his daughter, claiming he was set up. In July 2009, Ali’s co-star, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, left the slums for a one-bedroom apartment. Filmmakers were reportedly looking for a new home for Ali as well.

Celebrities for no reason

Famous for doing absolutely nothing, Heidi and Spencer Montag still managed to coax their way into numerous media stories in the first half of 2009.

The couple came to public attention by appearing on the MTV show “The Hills,” then for having a non-legally binding wedding in Mexico in 2008, followed by a second wedding in California in 2009. The newlyweds joined the cast of “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” but repeatedly left and rejoined the cast while whining about their treatment, even reportedly calling NBC chairman Ben Silverman to complain about being “tortured” on the show.

The Passion of Mel

Actor Mel Gibson infamously made anti-Semetic and sexual remarks when pulled over in 2006 for driving under the influence, later issuing apologies through his publicist. Gibson’s Catholicism, which is strict and ultra-traditional, has also made news, especially relating to his film, “The Passion of the Christ,” a gruesomely realistic depiction of the crucifixtion of Christ.

Thus many who knew of Gibson’s religious beliefs were shocked in April 2009, when it was announced that the actor was leaving his wife of 29 years and that his girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, was pregnant with his baby

Madonna and child

While actress Angelina Jolie’s international adoptions have gone off relatively quietly, that’s not always been the case for Madonna.

In 2006, she adopted young David Banda from Malawi despite a law that requires adoptive parents to live in the country for one year, which Madonna had not done. Then, in 2009, the singer returned to Malawi to adopt a 3-year-old girl, Chifundo “Mercy” James. That adoption was first approved, then rejected due to the residency rule. The country’s highest court later OK’d the adoption. James Kambewa has come forward and claimed to be the girl’s father, but later admitted he has never met her.

‘Bachelor’ can’t make up his mind

Seattle single dad Jason Mesnick brought controversy to the 2009 season of “The Bachelor” by proposing to Melissa Rycroft, shown with him here on March 2, 2009. But as the two began to spend time together, Mesnick decided he should have passed on Rycroft and instead chosen her runner-up, Molly Malaney, shown in inset photo.

On a shocking “After the Final Rose” special episode, Mesnick admitted his feelings and publicly dumped Rycroft. Rycroft later went on to almost win “Dancing With the Stars.” Mesnick and Mallaney are still dating, but have not moved to the same city.

Phoenix rising?

Actor Joaquin Phoenix, seen here in February 2009, claimed in January that he was giving up acting to pursue a rap career. Partly because Phoenix is being filmed by pal Casey Affleck for a documentary, many didn’t believe he was serious about music, saying instead that the supposed career change was all an elaborate hoax to make an interesting movie.

Phoenix also drew attention in early 2009 for attacking a heckler at a Miami concert and for making a mostly incoherent appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Tale of the tape

Christian Bale, star of “Terminator Salvation,” blew up at the film’s director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, in July 2008. Bale claimed that Hurlbut had walked into his line of sight twice and ruined his concentration, and betlitted and theatened Hurlbut in a lengthy, disturbing tirade that was caught on audiotape.

The tape was released in February 2009 and Bale eventually apologized, saying he “acted like a punk.”

Bloody battle

Singer Chris Brown, top, reportedly beat and threatened girlfriend and fellow singer Rihanna, shown in court on Feb. 8, 2009. The two were riding in a car together the night before both were scheduled to perform at the Grammy Awards, and the resulting detailed arrest report and bloody photo of a beaten Rihanna immediately turned fans’ stomachs.

Brown was dropped from ad campaigns by numerous companies, and some music stations refused to play his music. He pled guilty to felony assault in June and has accepted a plea deal consisting of community service and five years probation. He later apologized for the assault in a YouTube video.

Celebrities who should zip their lips


 

By Tony Sclafani

 

Megan Fox
Back in the old days, movie studios worried their stars would say something idiotic so they had them zip it and trotted out publicists to do the talking. Megan Fox is the kind of star that makes you realize 

why that idea once existed. Fox has made so many witless statements that Co-Ed Magazine put together a David Letterman-style top 10 list of her “quotes that will make you go hmmm.” Fox’s quips about bisexuality are beyond confused and her screeds about unflushed toilets and the like are really gross. Couldn’t get any worse, could it? Yes, it could. Fox also said something that managed to offend the very person who made her a star, “Transformers” director Michael Bay. Fox apparently felt Bay relied too much on special effects for the films, rather than the acting of the stars. Um, Megan, didja think that maybe he was trying to tell you something?

 Lady Gaga

Image: Lady Gaga
Bryna Djuhar / AP

Lady Gaga’s music might be a bit one-note, but she makes up for it with interviews that are all over the place. On the one hand, she’s all about the sex, talking to Rolling Stone about how she’s bisexual, and then telling a U.K. interviewer about the only quality she looks for in a man (hint: it’s sexual); yet she has no time for men because she “makes love to (her) music.” Fair enough. But when the aforementioned U.K. interviewer asked whether she’d rather give up sex, fame or music, she took offense: “I think that question is kind of ridiculous,” she sniffed. “I’m a quite complex woman.” Lady Gaga clearly learned Madonna’s game of making every interview an event, but she sure isn’t playing it well. Madonna at least came off like she knew what she was talking about. Gaga’s ridiculous pronouncements make her music seem less like the clever pop-art project some claim and more like commercial product that’s being (poorly) overhyped.

 Kanye West

Michael Kim / AP file

If you’re a recording artist and you want to be the voice of your generation, you probably shouldn’t go around telling people you think you’re the voice of your generation, as Kanye West did last year. It just sounds presumptuous. But West has made so many over-the-top statements that a rumor emerged in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death that West said he was the new “King of Pop.” West never said that, but the fact that people believed he did exemplifies that people think his bragging has no bounds. Years ago, rappers were known for the words they threw down on records. West is now best known for the words he speaks to the press. One good example of this was singled out by the blog Amy Grindhouse. Said West: “I don’t even listen to rap. My apartment is too nice to listen to rap in. I have to be in a way more grimy environment to turn any rap music on.” Well, at least he wasn’t self-promoting this time.

 Spencer Pratt

Image: Spencer Pratt
Matt Sayles / AP file

Wait, did we just talk trash about Kanye? We didn’t mean to be so hard. Next to Spencer Pratt, West really does look like the “King of Pop,” since West actually has discernable talent. Reality star Pratt parlayed his preppie good looks into C-list celebrity, but couldn’t stop at just being a tabloid fixture. No, he had to try and become a hip-hop star and while he was doing it, claim: “I think I’m the future of hip-hop. You know, I feel bad for saying that. That’s unfortunate, but that’s a fact.” In the same interview, he also said he thought his co-reality star (and wife) Heidi bested Beyoncé as a singer, since Beyoncé had to get her start with a group (the horror!) while Heidi was a sister doing it for herself (my wording, but you get the idea). Using that logic, isn’t she better than Paul McCartney, too? Pratt has racked up so many lame quotations that Hollywood Gossip has put together a whole page of ’em. Happy reading!

 Katherine Heigl

Image: Katherine Heigl
Dave Hogan / Getty Images file

Just a few years ago, nobody knew who Heigl was. So after hitting it big on “Grey’s Anatomy” and the silver screen, you’d think she’d be grateful. You’d be wrong. Almost from the moment her name went household, Heigl’s engaged in what the Washington Post has termed “rude, abrasive and spoiled” behavior. She trashed the scripts she was given in “Grey’s Anatomy” and even withdrew her name from the Emmy Award nominations, because she didn’t feel she “was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination.” Er, OK. Then she badmouthed a movie in which she starred, “Knocked Up,” all of which inspired a chastising open letter from New York magazine’s Emma Rosenblum. After that, Heigl complained about her “cruel and mean” TV shooting schedule to David Letterman. But former TV producer Ken Levine shot her down when he publicly reminded everyone that Heigl’s schedule for television was difficult because of her own doing. Oops.

Is Justin Timberlake dating Rihanna?


Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and Rihanna have been at the center of a tabloid triangle for a week, with reports of a split, photographs of JTand Biel still together, and no confirmation from their reps either way

But sources tell FOX411 that the nearly three-year relationship between Timberlake and Biel is kaput. The couple has indeed parted ways, and Justin has moved onto a rebound romance with Rihanna.

“Justin and Jessica did break up. They were very busy living separate lives this summer and they drifted apart,” says the insider. “Justin broke up with Jessica weeks ago, but he’s a good guy and he does care about her. They will always stay in touch because he works very hard at friendships with his exes.”

Indeed, Timberlake and ex Cameron Diaz even did red carpet events together in conjunction with the “Shrek” movies after those two split. But will Biel be able to keep her upper lip stiff like Diaz did?

“Jessica is obviously sad, and Justin is still around to be there for her,” says the source. “Photos will still surface of them together because they will remain friends, and anytime she needs him, he will be there.”

At least if he’s not with Rihanna.

The same insider tells FOX411 that Justin is getting much closer to fellow pop superstar Rihanna. The two have always been friendly and enjoy working together, but now things are getting steamy.

Justin and Rihanna have been working frequently in the studio and they have amazing chemistry with or without the music,” the snitch says. “Over VMA weekend, they spent quality time together and got a little naughty at Jay-Z’s club, 40/40. Justin and Rihanna were having fun and there was a lapdance involved. They are way beyond co-workers.”

Will Justin and Rihanna be the next super couple? Probably not, says the source. “Justin is a private guy and it would be difficult for him to date Rihanna under so much scrutiny. He likes to keep his life to himself, but they have unbelievable chemistry.”

Rihanna attends the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.

Rihanna attends the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.

( October 5, 2009 – Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe)
Rihanna attends the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.
Rihanna attends the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.
( October 5, 2009 – Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe)
Singer Rihanna arrives to attend the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.
Singer Rihanna arrives to attend the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.
( October 5, 2009 – Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe
Singer Rihanna arrives to attend the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.
Singer Rihanna arrives to attend the Chanel Pret a Porter show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 at Grand Palais on October 6, 2009 in Paris, France.
( October 5, 2009 – Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe)
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake arrive at Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala, New York, on May 5, 2009.
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake
Rihanna
Rihanna in black sheer dress shows her braless breasts (nipple ring!) and black thong with bare ass cheeks - Hot Celebs Home
Rihanna

Tompolo Beats Amnesty Deadline, meets Yar’adua


By -ThisDay

Abuja: Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) last night became the last of the key militants in the Niger Delta to lay down his arms and embrace the amnesty offer of the Federal government. During a ceremony at the First Lady’s Conference Hall, Presidential villa, Abuja, to mark the peace deal.
Tompolo said, “I and my people accept the offer of amnesty.” He promised “to work with Mr. President to achieve the dreams of this country.”
It took a lot of pleas from top government officials present and members of his entourage to get Tompolo summon up courage to make his brief speech at the event. Tompolo, who was billed to make a speech after the Defence Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty, Maj-Gen Godwin Abbe, (rtd), Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and Chief Tony Anenih had all spoken, became jittery, bemused and confused and could not put himself together to make the speech. 
Sensing that he was having problems with spoken English, there were suggestions to him to speak in his native language while somebody would translate from the audience.  After about five minutes of dilly-dallying ,he managed the terse remarks.
In his remarks, President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, who just jetted into Abuja in the evening from his home in Katsina, expressed gratitude that Tompolo was able to take advantage of the amnesty offer 26 hours before its expiration.  “I thank God for this ceremony taking place barely 26 hours to the expiration of the amnesty,” the president said.
Yar’Adua also made two pledges to Nigerians and, particularly, to the people of the Niger Delta region for embracing the Federal Government amnesty offer.  “Tonight I make a pledge that the real work with respect to Niger Delta has just begun. I also pledge that we shall do everything within our powers to ensure that the oil on the land and the waters in the Niger Delta shall begin to be a source of blessing and not a curse to the people of the area.”
Continuing, the president said, “I thank Tompolo and all members of his immediate team for accepting this unconditional offer of amnesty. Tonight belongs to you Tompolo. By signing this amnesty, you have demonstrated that the interest of the Niger Delta is better served through peace.
“Your act is a great act of courage and this nation has set an example for the rest of the world to follow. With the action taken by Tompolo, the stage is set for the post amnesty period. The post amnesty period is more challenging than the amnesty period.
“Now we will have to work together with the militants leaders to ensure that the programme for the rehabilitation and reintegration of the young men and women takes off successfully. Also members of the amnesty committee and other stakeholders will make inputs into these programmes to ensure that the programmes would be acceptable.
“The other issue is to sit down and look at the issues that led to the agitations in the first place and ensure that they are resolved to the satisfaction of all Nigerians.
“We have a chance as a nation and we will demonstrate to the world that violence and bloodshed are not the way to reconcile one another. We have a challenging task ahead of us and in order not to loose momentum, this process (rehabilitation and reintegration) will start immediately.”
Present at the occasion were also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Paul Dike and the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS). Others were Honorary Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Timi Alaibe, and the National Coordinator of NAPEP, Dr. Magnus Kpakor.
Meanwhile, a mad rush among militants in the Niger Delta was yesterday witnessed in an effort to beat  today’s midnight deadline  for the amnesty as leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement, Mr. Ateke Tom, Leader of Niger Delta Strike Force, Farrah Dagogo, Burster Rhymes and several other groups submitted their arms in Rivers State.
They submitted various degrees of weapons ranging from Brownie, anti-aircraft guns, rocket Propelled Grenade launchers and bombs, dynamites, rocket chargers, General Purpose Machine Guns, Sticker grenades and several tons of assorted ammunitions.
Others who have submitted their arms include the group from Rumuekpe whose arms were so small that it became obvious they merely wanted to handover something and benefit from the amnesty.
The major show was the submission by Ateke which took place at the Tourist Beach in Port Harcourt.
Immediately after the monthly environmental sanitation, some boats were dispatched to take journalists to Ateke’s camp in Dutch Island from where he came for the exercise.
Ateke caused a stir in Port Harcourt. Rather than land at the beach jetty, he decided to go through the waterfronts and trekked from there waving to people as he was being entertained by different groups of dancers till he got to the venue of the submission nearly two hours after his boys had brought the arms through the Tourist Beach.
He displayed two of his newly acquired jeeps one of which is a Hummer during the procession. He had his boys waving all sorts of arms with those carrying GPMGs leading and closely followed by one who carried a sophisticated sniper rifle fitted with telescopic lens.
When he entered the arena, more traditional dances were displayed for him before he moved round the beach and headed straight to the platform where his weapons were on display.
The venue was very rowdy with some people openly smoking Indian hemp and drinking straight from bottles of gin. Some people including journalists were assaulted by the apparently high spirited boys.
He later took the microphone and appealed to the boys to listen to him since he was their leader maintain decorum at the arena. He said he wanted peace especially following his conviction that Yar’Adua was sincere and would solve the problems of the Niger Delta. He said all hands should be on deck for peace to be attained, adding, “As me I don submit my guns, every other person who has gun should come and submit it for peace to reign. That does not mean we are weak, but let them do wetin dem say dem go do”.
He also threatened that if Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi goes ahead with the planned demolition of waterfronts there will be war, pointing out that other people ruled the state without causing such problems to the people.
In a related development, Jomo Gbomo of MEND hinted in a statement that the next phase of “our campaign will commence soon.”
However, Farah Dagogo, out-going Commander of MEND, said in another statement: “Today October 3, 2009, I, Farah Dagogo, overall field commander for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) accepts together with field commanders in Rivers state, the Presidential offer of amnesty to militants who lay down their weapons.
“In line with conditions attached to this amnesty offer, we are surrendering all weapons under our direct control.
 “We are accepting this amnesty with the hope that it will usher in a true spirit of reconciliation exemplified by dialogue and federal presence with an aim to addressing the root cause of militancy in the Niger Delta.
As we signify our willingness to put to test the government’s preparedness to address the problems of the people of the Niger Delta, I appeal to those still determined to fight on, to consider first the option of dialogue.
In the same vein, it is my sincere desire that the government immediately embarks on dialogue to forestall a resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta.
There are still thousands of people willing to continue fighting in the creeks and only the actions of the government can win over our brothers still bent on fighting.
As soldiers, we are not competent to dialogue with the federal government on these serious issues affecting the region.
 We wish our brothers and sisters  who we hope will commence with the intellectual struggle for justice in the Niger Delta, the very best and pray for a just and peaceful Niger Delta.  

Prof Soludo implicated in the Securency bribery scandal


-By Elombah.com

These are not happy times for the former Governor of the Nigerian apex bank, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo. As his gubernatorial ambitions falters amidst the high-wire intrigues of Anambra politics, the former CBN Governor has every reason to be a worried man. A knowledgeable source has revealed to Elombah.com that the former CBN governor was named as one of the officials that received bribes allegedly paid to Nigerian officials in order to secure contracts for the printing of polymer naira notes.

Elombah.com last Friday carried a report by Sydney Morning Herald that A Reserve Bank of Australia company is under federal police investigation for allegedly bribing Nigerian officials to win a banknote deal in the most serious development yet in the cash-for-contracts scandal. 

The probe centres on a series of multimillion-dollar payments by the RBA firm Securency to offshore accounts of two British-based businessmen, BenoyBerry and Mike Harding, who boast high-level political contacts in Britain and Africa.

The firm, Securency, was found to have made a series of multimillion-dollar payments into offshore bank accounts of two British-based businessmen linked to the currency printing deal.

While the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] has promised to launch an investigation to determine if any of its past or present officials received bribes allegedly paid to Nigerian officials in order to secure contracts for the printing of polymer naira notes, Elombah.com investigations reveal that the Federal Government and indeed the CBN cannot claim that the allegation that the RBA firm Securency bribed Nigerian officials to secure the Polymer naira notes contracts is strange to them.

A confidential source has revealed to Elombah.com that The Australia Federal Police Authority early this year sent a high level confidential security memo to the Presidency through the Office of the National Security adviser detailing bribery probe that centers on a series of multimillion-dollar payments by RBA firm Securency into offshore bank accounts of two British-based businessmen for onward transfer to Nigerian Government Officials to win a bank-note deal in the most serious development in a cash-for-contracts scandal.

Australian Federal Police taskforce had been investigating Securency for possible breaches of Australia’s criminal code, which outlaws payments to foreign officials.

Prominent amongst the names that featured in the secret memo is that of then CBN Governor, Charles Chukwuma Soludo, senior officials of the finance ministry and a former president.

Upon receipt of the Memo, a livid president Yar’adua was said to have summoned the visibly shaken CBN Governor and all those involved to the Villa. It was thereafter resolved that the scandal could potentially embarrass the Government and that efforts should be made to conceal the news as much as possible.

As a damage control measure, the CBN Governor was to be relieved of his job after the expiration of his tenure and will not be reappointed.

My Source insists that the above resolution was reached after the intervention of James Ibori, the former Governor of Delta State on behalf of Soludo.

President Yar’adua was reportedly so angry that he had told the former Governor that he would do everything in his power to ensure that Soludo does not pick the PDP ticket for the 2010 gubernatorial slot for Anambra election. Soludo had never hidden his unbridled and inordinate ambition to run for Anambra Governorship race come 2010.

The probe is focused on large commission payments by Securency to politically connected foreign middlemen, often into tax haven accounts owned and operated by Nigerian Officials.

One Mr.A.B.Okauro, the former head of National Financial Intelligent Unit(NFIU) and currently the Director –General of Governors Forum is said to be the errand boy of all corrupt Nigerian official who needs advice and tips on how to launder and operate tax haven accounts.

He is reported to have personally opened and ensured the safe egress of billion of naira of corrupt money out of Nigeria and was reported to have acted as go-between for one Dr. Berry and Soludo’s CBN.

An investigation into Securency’s Nigeria activities can reveal that the RBA firm paid millions of dollars into a tax haven bank account belonging to Dr Berry. The total figure is not known.

Mr Harding, associated with the British Conservative Party, lived in Africa for 20 years working for British company Unilever. According to reports, Mr Harding directs some of his earnings into a company account in a secretive tax-free business zone at Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates.

Dr Berry and Mr Harding were paid to help Securency, which is half-owned by the RBA and British firm Innovia Films, promote its polymer currency across Africa and win a 2006 contract from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Mr Harding said the Nigeria negotiations were handled by the company’s Africa manager, Peter Chapman, and Dr Berry, a long time friend and business associate of Professor Charles Soludo. Mr Chapman recently resigned and is believed to be in Brazil.

Despite Mr Harding’s attempts to distance himself from Dr Berry, corporate records show the pair to be the only shareholders in a British company called Global Secure Currency Ltd, registered in 2004.
Corporate records show Lord Steel and Dr Vadher were Global Secure Currency Ltd directors between September 2005 and August 2006.
Dr Berry, who is also Burundi’s honorary consul to India, is among the country’s worst debtors responsible for the rot and current credit crunch threatening Nigerian some Banks. He was last month threatened with prosecution by the Central Bank of Nigeria as his debt profile is said to be in the region of 30 billion naira. Most of the debts peaked under Soludo’s Watch in CBN

The current CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi told Daily Trust that the Federal Government will look into the matter and would determine if Central Bank officials received the alleged payoff.

He said he read a printed copy of the Australian newspaper’s story, but was yet to get any more information on the developing scandal. He said, “I am aware of the story, but I am not aware of the facts. I have not investigated. I was given the story printed from the internet. I don’t know how true it is.”   

Sanusi also said, “I imagine the EFCC and the police will investigate, and if there is actually any involvement of officials in the Central Bank as a result of investigation, just like it was done in the case of other companies in other parts of the world, I am sure government will look into it.”   

Asked where the new polymer currency notes that CBN rolled out last week were printed, the governor said, “I don’t know. I don’t know the details. I haven’t heard of that company. All I know is that if it is established in the course of any kind of investigation that there was a CBN official involved, present or past…I am sure there would be an investigation.”   

The Governor however said the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company, which prints currency for the Central Bank, often uses different companies for the supply of different materials. He said, “It uses a different company for printing, a different company for the supply of papers, a different company for the supply of ink, and a different company for the provision of security equipment.   

“I don’t know what this is in connection with. Just before I left Nigeria, I was alerted that there was a story on the internet by an Australian newspaper alleging that there were some people that received the bribe as a result of a contract that was given. Those people were unnamed. I don’t know what level they were. I don’t know if the people were in Central Bank or it. We don’t know the facts until the investigation happens, and what those allegations were and who are the people alleged to have taken the money. For all we know, maybe they are not even Central Bank officials. I am not saying they are not.”   

Sanusi said as a Nigerian, he is worried about anything that alleges corruption and “I am concerned about the image of the country but I do not have anything in that story that says to me this is something given to CBN officials, or who gave it to them or what is in connection with. But all I know is it could be just a newspaper allegation. I am not saying it is, but as investigation goes on and as facts unfolds, when there is need for investigation. There would be an investigation.”

BusinessDay further reported  among those implictated are a senior British politician, Lord David Steel, and his adviser, Atul Vadher, who were involved with Dr Berry and Mr Harding in another venture, Global Secure Currency Ltd, about the same time the pair were promoting Securency in Africa.

Lord Steel is a co-founder and former leader of the Liberal Democrats party, inaugural presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, a life member of the House of Lords and vice-president of the Royal African Society.

His long-time assistant, Dr Vadher, has also worked as an adviser to at least two African governments and contested the 1999 European Parliament elections for the Liberal Democrats. BusinessDay is not suggesting any wrongdoing by Lord Steel or Dr Vadher.

Securency’s payments to Dr Berry and Mr Harding, coupled with their political links in Britain, are likely to attract the interest of Britain Serious Fraud Office.

An Australian Federal Police task-force has been investigating Securency since May for possible breaches of Australia’s criminal code, which outlaws payments to foreign officials.

It is focused on large commission payments by Securency to politically connected foreign middlemen, often into tax-haven accounts.

An investigation by BusinessDay into Securency’s Nigerian activities has revealed it paid millions of dollars into a tax-haven bank account belonging to Dr Berry. The total figure is not known.

In 2006, Dr Berry’s security technology company, Contec Global, was investigated by Uganda’s corruption watchdog after its internal security agency accused the company of paying a $1.8 million bribe to a minister.

The bribery allegation could not be proved, but a report found the Ugandan minister had been improperly ”fronting” for DrBerry’s firm because he stood to benefit from the deal. Dr Berry has not responded to inquiries from BusinessDay.

An overseas-based source aware of Securency’s dealings in Africa said the firm paid more than $1 million into accounts tied to two companies effectively overseen by Mr Harding, including one called JH Marketing Africa 2000.

Mr Harding, a 72-year-old associated with the British Conservative Party, lived in Africa for 20 years working for British firm Unilever.

BusinessDay has found that Mr Harding directs some of his earnings into a company account in a secretive tax-free business zone at Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates.

UAE officials said they could only disclose who owned the business if given a ”judicial order”. But BusinessDay linked the UAE entity that received the Securency payment to Mr Harding by matching its phone number to a telephone listing in his home town of Bracknell.

Mr Harding, who initially denied any association with Securency when questioned by BusinessDay earlier this year, said last week he could not discuss the payment from Securency to his UAE company because it had become ”a legal matter”.

Dr Berry and Mr Harding were paid to help Securency, which is half-owned by the RBA and the British firm Innovia Films, promote its polymer currency in Africa and win a 2006 contract from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Mr Harding said the Nigerian negotiations were handled by the company’s manager for Africa, Peter Chapman, and DrBerry. Mr Chapman recently resigned and is believed to be in Brazil.

”I had nothing to do with the supply contract to Nigeria. It was all handled by Mr Chapman and [Dr] Berry. I became involved after that was agreed,” Mr Harding said.

Despite Mr Harding’s attempts to distance himself from Dr Berry, corporate records show the pair to be the only shareholders in a British company called Global Secure Currency Ltd, registered in 2004.

Corporate records show Lord Steel and Dr Vadher were directors of Global Secure Currency between September 2005 and August 2006.

Mr Harding denied any involvement in the shell company, saying he did not pay for the shares allotted to him. ”I won’t have anything to do with shell companies … they can be used to launder money,” he said.

Lord Steel and Dr Vadher were also directors of Contec Global during the same period. Corporate records show the pair remain small shareholders in Contec Global.

Lord Steel told BusinessDay this week his business association with Dr Berry was shortlived and that neither he nor Dr Vadher received any directors’ fees or attended board meetings.

The RBA continues to refuse to discuss Securency’s overseas activities, citing continuing inquiries by the AFP and the accounting firm KPMG.

In the RBA’s recent annual report, its governor, Glenn Stevens, expressed confidence in the way it had supervised Securency’s operations.

http://www.elombah.com

Nigerian Officials Bribed for new Bank Notes


 

234NEXT has come up with the Nigerian angle to a bribery scandal rocking a Reserve Bank of Australia Company under federal police investigation for allegedly bribing Nigerian officials to win a banknote deal first  

The probe centres on a series of multimillion-dollar payments by the RBA firm Securency to offshore accounts of two British-based businessmen, Benoy Berry and Mike Harding, who boast high-level political contacts in Britain and Africa.

NEXT Reports:

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On Wednesday September 30, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua smiled and beamed as he launched the polymer currency notes for the country. But far away in Australia, crack detectives were reviewing case files in Canberra, making sense of which, and how many Nigerian officials shared about 750 million Naira in bribe money from the Australian polymer company, Securency, to secure the contract to supply the polymer notes to the Nigerian government.

Top officials from the Nigerian presidency, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, have refused to comment on the scandal which was exposed last Friday by reporters of the The Age newspaper of Australia.

According to investigations, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) are closing in on Securency International Pty Limited, The indications are that Securency paid out bribes to some Nigerian officials in order to win the contract which has now enabled them to supply at least 1.9 billion pieces of polymer notes so far.

A report about possible misdemeanour by Securency, a joint venture company between the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Innovia Films, have now shown that the money was paid between 2006 and 2008 to some Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) staff officials and other influential Nigerians using two UK-based businessmen, Benoy Berry and Michael Harvey.

How it began

The CBN then, under Charles Soludo, on February 28, 2007, launched the first polymer note, the N20, on a trial basis. In October, 2008, the CBN obtained presidential approval to convert the other lower naira denominations, N5, N10, and N50, from paper to polymer notes.

In launching the new currencies, the Bank said in a statement that “printing the N20 note on polymer was a test case. The essence of the experiment was to determine the advantages and demerits of the polymer substrate and its acceptance by Nigerians.

The response from the presidency

NEXT attempts to get a response on the matter were unsuccesful. Presidential spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi failed to pick up calls made to his phone, while David Edebvie, the Principal Private Secretary to the president, declined to speak on the telephone about the matter.

“Put it in writing and send it to my office. I will then decide whether I will respond,” Mr. Edevbie said to NEXT.

Mr. Soludo, professor of economics and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, under whose tenure the deal was signed and executed, declined comments saying: “I am no longer the CBN governor and I am not able to comment on anything.” Mr. Soludo, who is now running to be the next governor of his home state of Anambra, suggested that we “Please talk to the governor” by which he meant, the new Governor of the Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Mr. Sanusi is currently attending the International Monetary Fund [IMF] meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, but the CBN spokesman, Mohammed Abdullahi, in response to questions from NEXT said “I am not aware of anything like that” asking that, “If you have any proof, you can bring it.”

Mr. Abdullahi said that the polymer note proved to be more economical than the paper notes, hence the change. “Research in the last two years shows that polymer notes are more durable than the paper notes. In the long run, there is a 50% cut in costs when we use the polymer notes,” he said.

Securency’s history in Nigeria

Securency’s interests in the country are likely to have started around the year 2006. Before the end of that year, the company had clinched a deal that compelled the country to embark on a trial of the polymer note. This was the period when the CBN carried out a Currency Restructuring Programme.

From the Start

Securency produces the press ready polymer substrate, Guardian®, on which bank notes are printed. Their breakthrough patent was first used in Australia in 1988. Since then, the Australian company has penetrated other countries, selling to them its patented product and urging a shift from the traditional paper money. The polymer note’s selling point is in its advertised toughness, security features, and resistance to soiling, thus, its durability.

In 20 years, Securency has succeeded in spreading to over 20 countries. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, the company thrives on foreign contracts and claims that ‘90% of Securency’s revenue comes from exports’.

Curiously, almost all these countries have been classified by the Australian Foreign Ministry as developing countries. Securency’s Guardian® may be selling in developing countries but more than this, The Age deduces that these countries are also some of the most corruption-prone countries.

“It [Securency] excels at doing business not only in Vietnam but in some of the most corruption-prone countries in the world,” the paper said.

The middle men

According to ‘The Age’ the two men who clinched the deal, Mr. Berry and Mr. Harvey ‘boast [of] high-level political contacts in Britain and Africa’. Allegedly contracted as agents by Securency, the men helped to disperse the almost 750 million naira for the purpose of securing the banking note contract with the Nigerian government.

Mr. Berry, heads Contec Global, a company with diversified interests in Energy, Security Technologies, hospitality, and construction. The Security Technologies unit of the group is concerned with Biometrics, Smart Cards, e-passports, and currency. There are claims that 40% of Africa’s population, including Nigeria, use passports designed, processed, printed, and delivered by Contec Global. Continental Transfer Technology Limited is another company which Mr. Berry sits on its board, along with some Nigerians; Hassan Ibeto, Adam Ali Biu, and his brother Roheen Berry.

Mr. Berry, who has considerable influence in security prints and has previously been investigated in Uganda, allegedly had at least $5 million paid into an offshore account which belongs to him. He is said to have worked with Mr. Harvey to give Securency’s African office access to the Nigerian market.

Mr. Harvey, claims he was only called into the deal after the supply contracts had been completed.

“My job was to create demand for Securency to countries…we are a group of marketing companies who seek business and access markets,” he said.

The CBN has, however, claimed ignorance of the existence of a bribery scheme in the Securency deal.

Police Investigations

Although the Australian Police is yet to send in a response to NEXT’s enquiries, The Age says that a probe into the Securency scandal is apace.

“The bribery probe centres on a series of multi-million-dollar payments made by RBA firm Securency into tax haven bank accounts belonging to two UK-based businessmen, Benoy Berry and Mike Harding,” says the Australian newspaper.

One result of this probe is the retirement of Securency’s African office manager, Peter Chapman. According to Mr. Harding, Mr. Chapman led the Nigerian deal.

“The business in Nigeria…we did not start that. The supply contract to the CBN was arranged through Benoy Berry and Mr. Chapman,” Mr. Harding said.

Mr. Harvey further claimed that the Nigerian senate and the presidency were aware of the Securency contract scandal, hinting that the deal was under investigation by the Federal Government.

How Chris Uba Conned Prof Soludo


By  Daniel Elombah

If it amazes you, that Chris Uba, a near-illiterate political crook, has been able to build a political machine in Anambra State that can outsmart any and everybody in the state, you will be utterly flabbergasted as to how he could con one of the best brains in the country; Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, summa cum laude. No one could tell precisely how or when the relationship between Chris Uba and Charles Soludo began; but this much we knew that in the last political dispensation, he sponsored a PDP candidate for the Aguata Constituency in the House of Representatives against another candidate sponsored by Andy Ubah, former domestic assistant to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo.

 Andy was pissed off and so he determined to teach Soludo a political lesson.

He sponsored a rival candidate from the Labour party, Hon Umeoji Chukwuma who won the election. 

Perhaps, it was this realisation; that to succeed in Anambra politics, you need more than brains and money, you also need to employ thuggery, that led Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank – a graduate of University of Nigeria Nsukka, citadel of higher learning, and one the best in the country, where the great Zik of Africa dreamed to restore “the dignity of man” – into the warm embrace of a motor Park tout and secondary School drop-out that honed his skill under another wheeler-dealer and pre-eminent god-father, Arthur Eze. 

Anambra people had a history of being mere pawns in the hands of devilish godfathers. In his book, THE LAST 100 DAYS OF ABACHA, Olusegun Adeniyi made allusion to this penchant for godfathers.

If Abacha had not died, the Governor that would have emerged in 1997 would have been Joy Emordi on the platform of CNC just because she had been anointed by Arthur Eze.  With advent of the fourth Republic, it was Emeka Offor/Chris Uba/ABC Orjiakor et al who were anointing candidates.

However, these godfathers have been forcefully supplanted by the Chris Uba of the Arthur Eze school and have assumed larger-than-life image in the state.  These have proved very resilient despite the state boasting of such figures as Alex Ekwueme and Dim Emeka Ojukwu, ikemba Nnewi. 

Chris Uba rose to notoriety in 2003 when he chose Chis Ngige to be the governor of Anambra State in 2003. As soon as Dr. Ngige reneged on an arrangement to hand the resources of Anambra State to Uba, the enfant terrible conspired with Obasanjo and former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, to abduct the former governor.

But Ngige survived the kidnap ordeal to continue as governor. Uba was then advised by unscrupulous members of the then National Assembly to create anarchy in the state so that a state of emergency would be declared to get rid of Ngige.

Uba thus resorted to hiring thugs to destroy public infrastructure and create mayhem, but that too failed. It was only in March of 2005 that a Court of Appeal removed Ngige from office, replacing him with Peter Obi of APGA, the rightful winner of the 2003 gubernatorial election.

Professor Soludo is no stranger to these tales. A pragmatic man that he is, he is aware that to assume the governorship position he has to “bow to kodo”. 

Not many people actually knew the nature of relationship between Soludo and Chris Uba, moreover those in the know are not forthcoming. However, highly informed sources told Elombah.com, that once Soludo got it in his head to dabble into politics, his habit as governor of the Central Bank was to use his position to create wealth for those he believed will help him achieve his political ambition. He began by dolling out funds to Anambra contestants to political offices, a million here, and 5 million there.

A political gladiator in Anambra State narrated to Elombah.com tha Soludo was never lacking in shelling out those funds.

But sources say the greatest beneficiary of the Soludo largesse is Chris Uba. “As Central Bank governor, Soludo channelled lots of money to Chris Uba”. Asked to mention a figure, the source simply said “billions”.

Soludo in the past was also close to Ibeto, the renowned Nnewi businessman.  

“Another beneficiary was Chief Anenih, who I gathered collected hefty sum from him. Tony Anenih started telling people that Soludo has been anointed by President Yar’adua to be the next governor of Anambra State”, he said. 

Supported by Tony Anenih and the former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Soludo made a splashy entry into the Anambra governorship contest. He relies on  Abuja politicians like Chief Anthony Anenih, Senator Jonathan Zwingina,and Alhaji Mangal to deliver to him the Anambra holdings on a platter of gold.

At his high-brow party at Transcorp Hotel in Abuja organised by Ekwueme, Ahaji Mangall and Anenih, Obasanjo’s minister of works and housing and former PDP national BOT chairman told Soludo to go ahead and contest the governorship election saying: “My fervent wish is that you contest the governorship election in Anambra state. I am from Edo state. My name is Anenih, but if for the sake of this election, I will claim Anambra state and my name is now Anene.” 

“The problem then was that Soludo was telling people that he had been endorsed by the President”, said a source in the presidency. “He also told me that Yar’adua had anointed him and only confided in me as a good friend close to the seat of power”.  

Soludo was headed to disappointment when it’s time to cash his pay check. Chris Uba had other plans. His experience with Chris Ngige is still fresh in his mind.

“Now, the story is that Chris is now his own man, ready to anoint another Anambra Governor and no longer relates with me” Soludo was said to have lamented.  

In desperation, Soludo has come to depend more and more on Tony Anenih.

Now that Chris Uba has proved a master chess-player, he has dribbled every contestant out of contention; Soludo is pulling all levers in the Aso Villa to have him anointed as governor.  His mentors are mounting pressure on Yar’adua to anoint Soludo. The argument is that “due to time constraint, oga has to nominate a candidate for the party to meet INEC deadline”.   

According to an insider, Anenih has been mounting pressure on the President; for “oga to just nominate someone, meaning himself”! 

“He simply wants the name of Soludo announced. But that would be difficult not because we don’t like Soludo but rather because that is not democracy. And the President will not do such thing. In the present situation, the alternative is also not better since Chris Uba seems to be larger than life in the state, at least where PDP is concerned…my brother, dis una Anambra tires me”!

Meanwhile Soludo and his group have obtained a court order to postpone the primary election indefinitely. The court also restrained the PDP or their agents from convening any congress whatsoever on October 2 or any other date, pending the determination of the motion on notice filed by the plaintiff.

The court order was obtained by one Mr. Probity Adibe, believed to be acting on behalf of Professor Soludo. In suit number AG/92/MISC440/09 filed before Justice B.A. Nwankwo, the court issued an interim injunction, restraining the PDP from holding any state congress for the primary election of the PDP fixed for October 2, 2009 for the election of its gubernatorial candidate.

An insider said the move to scuttle the process leading to the election of the party’s flag bearer is not unconnected with the underground scheming by some PDP power brokers at the national level who felt that their favored candidate cannot emerge victorious should the primary election be held because of his inability to garner enough delegates during the ward congress.

In a prompt response to the court order, Bankole flanked by members of the electoral panel, addressed a joint press conference with the Anambra Congress Appeal committee headed by Wakilin Adamawa, Alhaji Hassan Adamu, announcing their decision to suspend the election on the strength of the court order.

Meanwhile, Chris Uba has gone ahead and announced his favoured candidate, Engr.  Bethram Dim from Uga, in Aguata Local Government, as his nominee for the Anambra Governorship position.

However, a knowledgeable source say Soludo believes he will have the last laugh; “the guy knew what he was doing. He believes there is no way Anambra people will allow Chris Uba to call the shots again. The end will be a compromise candidate, that is where he will come in, that has always been his game plan”.

Some of the govenorship aspirants are already buying into the idea. “Trust his master, Anenih, he is not called Mr fix-it for nothing”, he concluded.