- Diezani Warned Aluko Against Buying $80m Yacht
Court documents filed by the US Department of Justice in Houston have revealed that former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, warned her alleged business partners – Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore –against lavish spending, including splashing millions of dollars on a yacht.
“If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You don’t go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch,” she said to Aluko in a recorded conversation.
But her warning was not heeded as Aluko went on to buy Galactica Star, a luxury yacht, for $80million.
The yacht, a stupendous luxury on water, was once rented by Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, for close to a million dollars during a holiday last year. It also once hosted Beyonce’s 32nd birthday in 2013.
Both Aluko and Omokore are alleged to have paid bribes between 2011 and 2015 to Diezani who ensured that shell companies owned by the businessmen received billion-dollar contracts to sell Nigeria’s crude oil.
The oil swap contracts were a controversial barter arrangement which saw Nigeria use middlemen to sell crude oil in exchange for refined products. With local refineries under-performing, oil swap deals were used to shore up local demand for petroleum products.
Between 2010 and 2014, under Diezani’s watch, Nigeria was estimated to have channelled over 352 million barrels of oil worth a total of $35 billion into oil swap deals.
But with the contracts mostly opaque, Nigeria reportedly lost more than $900 million in crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012.
The deals came under severe scrutiny with former Central Bank Governor, now Emir Muhammadu Sanusi, describing them “not properly structured, monitored and audited.”
President Buhari cancelled the oil swap arrangement in November 2015, seven months after taking office.
The US Justice Department (DOJ) lawsuit has provided more insight into the scale of theft of Nigeria’s oil riches under Diezani Alison-Madueke’s watch.
The civil lawsuit, brought by DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is seeking to recover $144 million in assets, including a $50 million luxury condo apartment in New York and the $80 million yacht.
Prosecutors say both assets were proceeds from bribes paid by the two Nigerian businessmen for lucrative oil contracts. The lawsuit seeks the forfeiture of both assets.
Prosecutors claim that the businessmen, Aluko and Omokore, laundered money through the US by purchasing lavish assets.
The $50 million New York condo is at One57, located opposite Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan. The building currently holds the record for the most-expensive residential sale in New York following a $100.5 million apartment purchase in 2014.
Aluko’s $50 million condo is the 8th most expensive in the building, but following a loan default, his mortgage lenders are set to auction the apartment on July 19.
The yacht and penthouse are not the only items under scrutiny by the DOJ.
The government also alleges that Aluko, Omokore and others funded a lavish lifestyle for Alison-Madueke.
According to the allegations, they conspired to purchase millions of dollars in real estate in and around London for Alison-Madueke and her family members, then renovated and furnished these homes with millions of dollars in furniture, artwork and other luxury items purchased at two Houston-area furniture stores at Alison-Madueke’s direction.
According to Financial Times, the two are accused of buying a total of four residential properties in and around London worth 11.45 million, and furnishing them with furniture, artwork and other luxury items.
“In one day in May 2012, Mr. Aluko was said to have wired $461,500 and $262,091 to two furniture stores in Houston from a Swiss bank account, on behalf of Mrs. Alison-Madueke, the civic complaint filed in the court claimed.
In return, the government alleges Alison-Madueke used her influence to direct a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to award Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) to two shell companies created by Aluko and Omokore: Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd. and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd. (the Atlantic Companies).
Under the SAAs, the Atlantic Companies were required to finance the exploration and production operations of eight on-shore oil and gas blocks. In return for financing these operations, the companies expected to receive a portion of the oil and gas produced.
However, according to the complaint, the Atlantic Companies provided only a fraction of the agreed upon financing or, in some instances, failed entirely to provide it.
The companies also failed to meet other obligations under the SAAs, including the payment of $120 million entry fee.
Nevertheless, according to the allegations, the companies were permitted to lift and sell more than $1.5 billion worth of Nigerian crude oil.
The government contends the Atlantic Companies then used a series of shell companies and intermediaries to launder a portion of the total proceeds of these arrangements into and through the U.S.
Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest
Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.
Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.
According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.
This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.
Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.
NIMC to Register, Issue 2.5 million National Identification Monthly
The National Identity Management Commission has said it would improve registration and issuance of the National Identification Numbers to both Nigerians and legal residents to the current 500,000 to 2.5 million per month.
Aliya Aziz, Director-General, NIMC, said this was the commission’s renewed commitment towards the provision of identity services to the nation.
He gave the assurance while playing host to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who was on an official visit to the commission’s head office in Abuja.
Aziz said in a statement issued in Abuja by the Head, Corporate Communication, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, that the commission would meet and surpass the monthly target.
This, he said, would be part of the policy statements in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.
The NIMC boss told his guest that the commission had competent human resources and was looking forward to government support and intervention in injecting the much needed material resources to realise the set objectives.
Pantami charged the commission to increase and improve its performance with regards to NIN registration and issuance, as he also reiterated the target of 2.5 million monthly enrolments.
The minister told his host that the importance of digital identity in actualising the digital economy goals could not be overemphasised and commended the strides recorded by the NIMC despite limited resources.
He assured the commission of government’s support and guidance towards ensuring the fulfilment of its mandate, adding that he had initiated moves to improve staff welfare at the NIMC.
Pantami also assured the NIMC management and staff of his resolve to improve the state of the current infrastructure and equipment to enable the commission to sustain its performance.
#EndSARS: Here is the Complete Speech of President Buhari
The Complete Speech of President Muhammadu Buhari
Following the Lekki Massacre, president Muhammadu Buhari delivered the much-awaited speech. However, the speech failed to touch on the massacre or the people affected, infuriating millions of Nigerian youths that have committed so much to the struggle and lost so much.
Below is the complete speech.
It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.
As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
On approving the termination of SARS I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a peace-maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.
All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.
Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.
The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.
On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the well being and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:
a. paying 3-months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small- and medium- enterprises
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders
These are in addition to many other initiatives such as:
e. N-Tech and
No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.
With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force.
The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.
In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.
Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.
But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.
To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgement and making hasty pronouncements.
In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.
For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.
I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.
Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.
And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.
Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.
I would like to thank those State Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint.
I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.
This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.
Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Forex3 weeks ago
Naira Improves Against Global Counterparts on Black Market
Business2 weeks ago
Buhari Budgets N420 Billion for Npower, Other Social Investment Programmes in 2021 Budget
Government3 weeks ago
#Endsars: Naira Marley Calls Off Protest following Police Invitation
News4 weeks ago
Npower News: Beware of Fake Npower Employment, Ministry Warns Exited Beneficiaries
News4 weeks ago
Laycon Bbnaija Biography, Career and Health Issue
Business4 weeks ago
Npower News Today 2020, Over 5m Applies for Npower Batch C, Selection to be Transparent -Farouq
Cryptocurrency3 weeks ago
Interview with Paul Mak, CEO of Bonded.Finance
Business4 weeks ago
Job Opportunities for Npower Exited Beneficiaries