Mike Adenuga, Wife, Become Nigeria's Newest Fugitives

Source: AUSTYN OGANNAH - thewillnigeria.com

San Francisco, June 26, (THEWILL) – Just like the fugitive former governor of Bauchi State, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu who fled Nigeria more than two years ago and his Delta State counterpart, Chief James Ibori, who also fled Nigeria to the Emirati via Accra before his detention by Dubai police, THEWILL can report that Globacom Chairman, billionaire and oil magnate, Otunba Mike Adenuga has fled the shores of Nigeria for good to escape interrogation and possible prosecution.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had sought to interrogate Adenuga and his second wife, Titi in connection with its investigation into the 17.5 million euro Siemens bribery scandal.

Adenuga had written the anti-graft agency claiming that he was part of the federal government delegation to South Africa to attend the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup soccer competition and that he would make himself available to operatives of the agency as soon as the assignment was over.

THEWILL checks at the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has however revealed that Adenuga was not on the federal government delegation. According to a circular obtained from the office, those on the list included Senate President David Mark (head of delegation), Governor Bukola Saraki (Kwara State); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta State); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers State); Sports Minister, Isa Bio; Youth Development Minister, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi; Women Affairs Minister, Mrs. Josephine Anenih; Information and Communications Minister, Dora Akunyili, and former football federation secretary, Sani Toro, who served as secretary.

The federal government delegation to South Africa has since returned to Nigeria including other government officials, state governors, legislators and businessmen who trooped to South Africa to watch early matches. In fact, the Nigerian Super Eagles has officially left South Africa after they failed to qualify for the round of 16 but Otunba Mike Adenuga has deliberately stayed away from Nigeria.

One of Adenuga’s friends who opted to remain anonymous said the billionaire has no plans of honouring the EFCC invitation.

"Mike has gone underground. He won't meet with the EFCC, he used the world cup as an excuse to buy some time but the Super Eagles early elimination exposed his plan," the source said.

THEWILL called Adenuga’s number severally to know when he would meet with EFCC officials but all our calls were unanswered while our SMS was not acknowledged.

EFCC spokesman Mr. Femi Babafemi confirmed in a conference call that Adenuga has not been interrogated by the agency.

Last week, the commission interrogated two Executive Directors of Globacom telecommunications company, Mrs. Gladys Alabi and Mr. Mike Jitubo in its investigation into the 17.5 million euro bribery scandal.

The commission also grilled former Legal Adviser Ministry of Finance Mrs. Agbamuche, former Legal Adviser Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) Daba Jubrin and a former NITEL employee R. Olusanju on June 18, 2010.

Siemens Managing Director, Mr. Alain DeCat; Siemens General Manager Finance & Accounts, Mr. Tunde Orija; Managing Director C. Woermann Nig. Ltd, Ralf Henrich; and Chief Accountant C. Woermann Nig. Ltd, Mr. Olusegun Olaniyi; three former Communication Ministers, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed, Deputy National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Retired Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju and Chief Cornelius Adebayo have all been interrogated by the commission.

C. Woermann Nigeria Limited, a German mechanical consulting firm is alleged to have handled the disbursement of brides to Nigeria officials.

Globacom in statement following the news of Adenuga’s invitation declared that the company is not in any way involved in the Siemens bribery scam.

The telecommunications company said that the only relationship it ever had with Siemens, as a private company, was when it awarded a single contract in 2003 to the German firm for the provision of GSM and broad access infrastructure in some parts of the country. The company it stated was also awarded part of the National Fibre Backbone Infrastructure, which has since been completed.

The company added that since Siemens executed the contract, Globacom has not engaged the telecommunication equipment manufacturing company for any other project.

"It should be noted that the equipment supply and installation contract forms the basis of the only relationship that Globacom has had with Siemens. It was and remains a normal business interaction that was entered into by Globacom purely to meet its network expansion needs. Globacom has had no other form of relationship or dealings with Siemens, the statement noted.

Adenuga, who also owns controlling shares in Equitorial Trust Bank Plc (ETB), Conoil, and other business interests was first arrested at his Okeowo Victoria Island, Lagos residence on Sunday, July 09, 2006, after the businessman refused to honour several invitations to appear at the commission's office for questioning following its investigation into the questionable deposits of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) funds into Equitorial Trust Bank. Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former vice president was alleged to have approved the deposits.

The then Nuhu Ribadu led EFCC in a statement justifying Adenuga’s arrest said, "EFCC visited Chief Adenuga’s home on Sunday, 9th July 2006, only after several invitations to him, over a period of more than three months.  He refused to honour the invitations.

"Even at his Victoria Island, Lagos home, for over seven hours, Adenuga, among other evasive tactics employed by his family and staff, refused to see EFCC operatives or allow them entry;

"The 14 operatives (not "over 40" or "over 70" as reported in the media) had no choice than to extract Chief Adenuga in a professional manner, with due respect for his rights as a citizen of Nigeria and in accordance with established rules and regulations.  Consequently, no injury was done to his person or damage to his property.

"Chief Adenuga was subsequently taken to our Ikoyi, Lagos offices where he answered questions in relation to EFCC investigations.  He was released on bail immediately after.

"The Commission’s investigation of Chief Mike Adenuga has certain international dimensions that EFCC may not be in a position to make public at this stage.  But, once the Commission has reached a comfortable point in its inquiry, everything would be made public;

"It must be emphasized however, that EFCC’s invitation to and interaction with Chief Adenuga is normal.  No crime has been established against him.  He is innocent until proven otherwise.  However, the Commission wishes to reiterate that no one is above the law."

It is unclear whether the commission would formally declare Mr. and Mrs. Adenuga wanted if they fail to submit themselves to operatives of the commission for interrogation.