UK ready to return $900m Alamieyeseigha's loot to Bayelsa
Facts have emerged that United Kingdom Government is planning to return $900 million allegedly looted by late former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, to the state.
In September 2005, Alamieyeseigha was arrested and tried in the UK for money laundering.
He jumped bail and fled to Nigeria.
However, a source close to the ongoing arrangement informed our correspondent that the UK Government has almost concluded arrangements with the Bayelsa State Government to return $900 million allegedly looted by late Alamieyeseigha to the coffers of the state.
According to him: “There is mobilization ongoing in Bayelsa State as I am speaking to you to take delivery of the looted fund by the late governor of the state.”
It was alleged that Alamieyeseigha started his long journey of stealing in office by erecting solid offshore structures, including the now infamous company, Solomon & Peters Limited.
Solomon & Peters was eventually incorporated on October 1, 1999 in the British Virgin Island as an “International Business Company”.
As governor of Bayelsa State between May 1999 and December 2005, when he was impeached, Alamieyeseigha was found to have stashed away several loots, measured in millions of British Pounds and US dollars, in different parts of the world.
Solomon & Peters was central in it all.
In 2012, more than £5 million recovered from the funds stolen by him was handed back to the Bayelsa State Government by British authorities.
The money, handed over to two government officials from Bayelsa State, who came to London for the transfer, was lodged in a Bayelsa State Government account with the London branch of First Bank Plc.
On September 21, 1999, barely three months after Alamieyeseigha assumed office as governor, one Sue Bloom from the Mossack Fonseca office in London made a fax transmission to Rosemarie Flax of Mossack Fonseca office in British Virgin Island requesting to know if the name Solomon & Peters Limited was available for registration in BVI.
Other Mossack Fonseca personnel involved in the registration were Amanda Coyle, Desiree Chalwell and Bryan Scatliffe.
Solomon & Peters was incorporated with authorised capital of $50,000 divided into 50,000 shares.
Unwilling to take chances by appointing proxies, who might one day undercut him, Alamieyeseigha allegedly appointed himself as both the First Director and Secretary of Solomon & Peters.
He then allegedly used the company for years to engage in a looting spree, stashing away funds belonging to his state and acquiring properties in several parts of the world.
UK authorities seized $1.5 million cash stashed in his London home.
They also seized $2.7 million in a bank account at the Royal Bank of Scotland and $15 million in London real estate.
The former governor had a personal account with Barclays Bank Plc opened on January 5, 2005, with balance standing at £203,753.34 as at February 15, 2005.
Alamieyeseigha also had an account with HSBC, London, but the account was closed in March 2003 with all the money transferred to Santolina Investment Corporation.
He was the sole director of Santolina Investment and sole signatory to the company's account with National Westminister Bank in London.
He had £1.9 million in a Royal Bank of Scotland account belonging to Santolina, which he had requested to be transferred to an account in Cyprus.
Meanwhile his properties in the UK included a house on Water Gardens in London purchased for £1.75 million in 2003; a house at Mapesbury Road, London purchased for £1.4 million in 2001; a flat in Jubilee Heights, Shoot Uphill, London, purchased for £241,000 in October 1999, weeks after Solomon & Peters was incorporated; and a property on Regent's Park Road, London, purchased in July 2002 for £3 million.
In the United States, Alamieyeseigha had two properties, one on 504 Pleasant Drive, King Farm Estate, Maryland, and another on 15859 Aurora Crest Drive Whither, California.
He had an account with Bank of America, which balance stood at $1.6 million as at August 2003.
Traced to him in South Africa were a property in V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, valued at $1 million; and Royal Albatross Properties registered in 2005 in Cape Town.
However, in his asset declaration form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau in 1999, Alamieyeseigha claimed he had five buildings with a total value of N50 million; 25 plots of land with a total value of N2.5 million; a company called Pesal Nigeria Limited, with a capital of N100,000; four vehicles acquired between 1982 and 1998, with a total value of N10 million; an account with Diamond Bank Plc in Port Harcourt, Rivers State with a balance of N5 million; and cash-in-hand of N100,000.
On April 25, 2003, Alamieyeseigha declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau, after he was elected for a second term in office, that he had assets, including six buildings, acquired between 1985 and 2002, with a total value of N70 million and annual income of N3.5 million; 27 plots of land acquired between 1985 and 2001, with a total value of N5 million; six cars acquired between 1982 and 2003, with a total value of N14.8 million; and a boat acquired in 2002 for N2.5 million.
When contacted, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said he was not aware of the development.
Iworiso-Markson, however, said it will be good news if such amount is made available to the State at this time.
He said: “We have a lot we can do with such funds.
“But I am not in the know about this development.”