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“Tinubu’s Nominee Implicated in Abacha’s Embezzlement of Billions from Nigeria”

August 3, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Bola Tinubu has nominated Atiku Bagudu, a former federal lawmaker and governor of Kebbi State, as a minister. Bagudu, 61, is well-known in the All Progressive Congress (APC) and has a history as a political ally of the president.

Interestingly, Bagudu’s relationship with President Tinubu was not always one of camaraderie. During the time when Bagudu was implicated in assisting Sani Abacha’s embezzlement of funds from Nigeria, Tinubu was actively supporting opposition against Abacha. Tinubu even had to seek exile due to concerns for his safety.

However, their paths converged with the establishment of the APC in 2013, culminating in their close association after the party’s electoral victory in 2015. This alliance was further cemented when Tinubu vied for the APC presidential ticket.

On a related note, President Tinubu recently submitted Bagudu’s name, along with 18 others, to the Senate for ministerial confirmation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notably, Bagudu had previously admitted to financial irregularities and returned around $163 million to Nigeria in 2003 to avoid extradition to Jersey from the US.

Despite his past controversies, Bagudu remained active in politics after entering the corridors of power in 2011 as a senator. He played a crucial role in the APC’s selection of Tinubu as its presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, and also served on Tinubu’s presidential campaign council.

While Bagudu and Tinubu maintain their political partnership, the Nigerian government continues its efforts to recover funds that were embezzled by the Abacha family with Bagudu’s alleged involvement.

It has been reported that a significant sum, approximately 3.6 billion U.S. dollars, has been recovered from the Abacha family and Bagudu between 1998 and 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The extent of Bagudu’s involvement in money laundering operations on behalf of Abacha has been well-documented in legal proceedings in the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

One notable case involved the forfeiture of $23.5 million of Abacha’s ill-gotten gains by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) last year. This sum was linked to Bagudu’s offshore company Mecosta Securities Inc.

During his tenure as governor of Kebbi state, authorities from the United States and Jersey managed to repatriate $308 million U.S. dollars that were stolen and laundered by Bagudu.

In a similar instance, Bagudu negotiated a deal with the US and Jersey authorities in 2003, which led to the return of $163 million U.S. dollars to Nigeria. This arrangement allowed him to avoid extradition to Jersey and averted his detention in an American federal prison.

It’s noteworthy that Bagudu had reached a settlement with the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2003 to resolve all outstanding legal claims against him.

Bagudu’s connections to offshore entities and bank accounts, spanning various locations from the British Virgin Islands to Ireland, Switzerland, and more, have been linked to the embezzlement and money laundering operations orchestrated by the Abacha regime. Court documents and leaked incorporation filings from the Pandora Papers corroborate these allegations.

Source: Premium Times

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