US Senate Accuses Atiku & wife over fresh $40m illegal transfer
In what could be described as another high profile shame on Nigeria after the Mutallab's saga, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was again presented to the United State's Senate on Wednesday over illegal transfer of $40Million. Huhuonline.com gathered that the US Senate report which showed how funds were transferred on behalf of the former number two citizen showed that: “From 2000 to 2008, Jennifer Douglas, a U.S. citizen and the fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and former candidate for President of Nigeria, helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States, through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts.”
The report said: “In a 2008 civil complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Ms. Douglas received over $2 million in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002, from Siemens AG, a major German corporation.
“While Ms. Douglas denies wrongdoing, Siemens has already pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges and settled civil charges related to bribery and told the Subcommittee that it sent the payments to one of her U.S. accounts.In 2007, Atiku Abubakar was the subject of corruption allegations in Nigeria related to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund.
“Of the $40 million in suspect funds, $25 million was wire transferred by offshore corporations into more than 30 U.S. bank accounts opened by Ms. Douglas, primarily by Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., LetsGo Ltd. Inc., and Sima Holding Ltd.
“The U.S. banks maintaining those accounts were, at times, unaware of her PEP status, and they allowed multiple, large offshore wire transfers into her accounts. As each bank began to question the offshore wire transfers, Ms. Douglas indicated that all of the funds came from her husband and professed little familiarity with the offshore corporations actually sending her money. When one bank closed her account due to the offshore wire transfers, her lawyer helped convince other banks to provide a new account.
“In addition, two of the offshore corporations wire transferred about $14 million over five years to American University in Washington, D.C., to pay for consulting services related to the development of a Nigerian university founded by Abubakar.“American University accepted the wire transfers without asking about the identity of the offshore corporations or the source of their funds, because under current law, the University had no legal obligation to inquire.”
It would be recalled that Former congressman William Jefferson has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for corruption that involved US companies and Nigerian officials. The ruling in 2009, by Federal Judge TS Ellis III of the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, followed Jefferson's conviction for collecting bribes on behalf of Nigerian officials, specifically, former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku. However, the FBI found $90,000 cash, which Jefferson said was meant for Atiku, hidden in a freezer. But Atiku and his wife, Jennifer Douglas, did not accept summons and subpoenas to appear before the US court. Instead, they moved their family out to Dubai, and put their Potomac mansion up for sale.
US Justice Department officials however revealed that arrest warrants have been issued against Atiku and his runaway wife, Jamila Jennifer Douglas-Atiku and that the duo would be promptly arrested if they step on US soil. Sources also said Atiku and his business partner in crime, Otunba Fasawe, did not return the sum of $21 million taken from the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) to the Nigerian coffers.
EFCC's 21-paragraph counter-affidavit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja on PTDF Scam
•That the plaintiff diverted funds meant for PTDF operations to finance NDTV.
•That even though the projects for which funds were required in the PTDF were not approved until 2006, the plaintiff had ordered that the money be withdrawn from treasury since 2003.
•That on 18/10/03, the plaintiff directed the Accountant-General of the Federation to release USD$20 million to PTDF without the approval of the Executive Council to enable the PTDF carry out some projects but the money was placed on term deposit in TIB.
•That the placement of the money in TIB was done to promote the business of NDTV, the plaintiff's other interests and that of some of his friends and associates.
•That as soon as the placement was made, NDTV was granted a loan of N400 million on 20/10/03 and N420 million on 22/10/03 by T.I.B.
•That Otunba Fasawe remitted the sum of N400 million to the plaintiff's Personal Assistant, Alhaji Umaru Pariya, on 4/10/2003 which sum Otunba Fasawe recovered through a loan of N420 million received from TIB on 22/10/03 after the PTDF's funds placement.
•That the plaintiff paid from his Marine Float Account in Bank PHB the sum of N30 million for the purchase of the property at No. 555 Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Wuse II.
•That the plaintiff's property at No. 555, Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Wuse II, is used as the headquarters of NDTV.
•That the balance of the purchase money for the property referred to above was paid after the plaintiff ordered a placement of USD$10 million in TIB and a loan of N400 million was granted by TIB to NDTV.
•That several other people were paid various sums of money deposited in TIB pursuant to directive by the plaintiff. Evidence of the beneficiaries and the amount will be given at the trial.
•That from a total sum of $30 million placed by PTDF in TIB, only the sum of $6.25 million has been repaid, leaving an outstanding balance of $23.75 million to date.
•That the plaintiff also ordered placement of $50 million in ETB.
•That the plaintiff further directed that the sum of $52.9 million and $62.1 million be placed in ETB from the account of PTDF.
•That the plaintiff stood as surety for Otunba Fasawe when NTDV applied for Value Added Network Service from Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC).
•That all these facts stated in paragraph 13 supra were never disclosed by the plaintiff in his response.
•That the plaintiff attached Exhibits 5A and 5B to give the impression that the money invested was with the consent of the President (See Paragraph (XV) of the affidavit in support of originating Summons.
•That however, the President never approved the release of the funds for the purpose of placing it in any bank.
•That on the contrary, the money was approved for the purpose of implementing projects relating to the programme of PTDF.
•That Exhibit 5A attached to plaintiff's affidavit shows that on 29th April 2003, the plaintiff approved the placement of a total sum of $125 million in two banks (ETB and TIB).
•That on 14th October, 2003, the plaintiff directed the release of an additional sum of $20 million from the treasury.
•That Exhibits 5B mentioned that the $20 million was to be used to carry out some projects according to the letter seeking approval by the PTDF.
•That, however, rather than use the $20 million to carry out any project, the funds were placed with TIB and used for NDTV where the plaintiff had substantial interest.
• That contrary to paragraphs 18(xii) and (xiii) of the affidavit in support of the Originating Summons, the 7th Defendant in its report indicted the Plaintiff at Pages 32-33 as follows:
•That the placement of the PTDF's fund was not done arbitrarily but deliberately designed to promote some business ventures in which the plaintiff and some of his friends has interest.
•That the placement in TIB, for instance, was designed to promote Netlink Digital Televant (NDTV), a satellite television project and Mofas Shipping Company where the Chairman of both companies is Otunba Fasawe, a long standing friend of the plaintiff.
•It has also been revealed that Otunba Fasawe remitted the sum of N400 million to the plaintiff's Personal Assistant, Alhaji Umaru Pariya, on the 4/10/03 which he conveniently recovered through a loan of N420 million he received from TIB on the 22/10/03 after the PTDF's funds placement.”
•That a clear demonstration of the plaintiff's business interest in NDTV is the fact that on 07/10/03 the plaintiff paid the initial sum of N30 million deposit from his Marine Float Account in the Bank PHB for the purchase of the property situated at No. 555 Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Wuse II, Abuja and used as its headquarters.”
•That to further buttress the long standing business relationship between the plaintiff and Otunba Fasawe, the latter paid the plaintiff the sum of N61 million on 29/01/01 from his Mofas account with TIB.
•That a further sum of N25 million from Mofas Shipping Company's account of Otunba Fasawe in TIB was transferred to plaintiff's Marine Float Account in Bank PHB on 18/02/03.
•That acting on the facts stated above the plaintiff was indicted by the 7th defendant for embezzlement and fraud.| Article source