Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the APC, is wanted in the United States of America, over his involvement in the looting of over $600million during the reign of late General Sani Abacha, pointblanknews.cominvestigation has revealed.
Bagudu, according to documents obtained by pointblanknews.com from the U.S Department of Justice, masterminded the stealing of millions of U.S Dollars from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, wired same to several foreign accounts through phony companies he set up for himself and the Abacha family.
U.S government sources told pointblanknews.com that the U.S had under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiatives, mentioned Bagudu’s involvement in Abacha’s money laundering scandal to President Buhari, and sought for his support to bring the Kebbi Governor to justice.
This is even as Bagudu and his family are currently fighting civil forfeiture claims to an additional approximately $148 million, part of the money he stole, kept in four investment portfolios in the United Kingdom, a U.S Department of Justice confirmed to Pointblanknews.com.
Documents shows that Between January 1994 and June 1998, General Sani Abacha, National Security Advisor Gwarzo, and Governor Bagudu and Mohammed Abacha stole more than $2 billion from Nigeria by fraudulently and falsely representing that the funds were to be used for national security
The United States had in 2014 taken control of more than $480 million out of the over $600million looted by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, Bagudu, Mohammed Abacha and others after a court ruling, the U.S JusticeDepartment said.
However, litigations on the $148million is pending because Bagudu has refused to cooperate with investigators and overtures said to have been made to President Mohammadu Buhari on the matter during his U.S visit has not yielded any fruit, a USDOJ official informed pointblanknews.com on
condition of anonymity.
An email from Peter Carr of the U.S Department of Justice, USDOJ, to pointblanknews.com confirmed Bagudu’s lack of cooperation on the crimes he committed against Nigeria and the United States and his fight to stop the forfeiture of $148million held in different portfolios in United Kingdom.
Carr in the email to Pointblanknews.com said: “As you are probably aware, the Justice Department brought a civil forfeiture action against more than $600 million traced to corruption in Nigeria during the regime of Sani Abacha.
“Abubakar Bagudu, who is not cooperating with our investigation, is named in the complaint, which also lays out the government’s position on his role. His relatives are contesting the forfeiture of over $100 million of the total the Justice Department is seeking to forfeit.”
“We are yet to get any cooperation over Abubakar Bagudu from the Nigerian Government,” a Justice Department source told Pointblanknews.com
The Kebbi Governor set up phony companies such as Doraville Properties Corporation (Doraville) in the British Virgin Islands on July 2, 1997 and was a director and authorized signatory on its bank accounts at Deutsche Bank AG and at Deutsche Bank International Limited (Jersey) (DBIL), Eagle
Alliance International Limited (Eagle Alliance) incorporated in Ireland on August 9, 1994, was an authorized signatory on its accounts at Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Grindlays Plc, in London, England, and at Goldman Sachs & Co. in Zurich.
Bagudu also set up Harbour Engineering and Construction Limited (Harbour Engineering) in the British Virgin Islands and was an authorized signatory on its account at Banque SBA in Paris, Mecosta Securities, Inc. (Mecosta) in the British Virgin Islands on October 9, 1995 and was an authorized
signatory on accounts in the name of Mecosta at ANZ (London); Standard Bank in London, England (Standard Bank); Credit Agricole Indosuez in London, England; Goldman Sachs in Zurich, Switzerland; and Banque Baring Brothers in Geneva, Switzerland.
The APC Kebbi Governor also incorporated Morgan Procurement Corporation (Morgan Procurement) in the British Virgin Islands on January 24, 1995. Bagudu was an authorized signatory on its four accounts at the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc in London, England, Rayville International, S.A. (Rayville)
in the British Virgin Islands and was also an authorized signatory on its account, number 223405880IUSD, at Banque SBA in Paris.
Also for the purposes of stealing funds, Bagudu set up The Ridley Trust registered in Guernsey, Channel Islands, on September 22, 1997. The Ridley Trust is the sole shareholder of the Ridley Group and he was the Ridley Trust’s prime beneficiary, Ridley Group Limited (Ridley Group) was also incorporated in the British Virgin Islands on June 10, 1997.
He also set up Standard Alliance Financial Services Limited (Standard Alliance) was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Bagudu was an authorized account signatory for account number 223406510PUSD in the name of Standard Alliance at Banque SBA.
According to the U.S documents, Bagudu, an associate of General Abacha and his sons participated in the conspiracy to steal and launder hundreds of millions of dollars.
Among other things, Bagudu played an instrumental role in setting up and executing the complicated financial transactions used to launder the proceeds of the conspiracy. He is also a signatory and/or corporate representative designated on many of the Abacha’s assets
According to the documents, General Abacha and Gwarzo executed false national security letters directing the withdrawal of funds from the CBN, referred to as “security votes” letters after a practice by which Nigerian governors received a budgetary allocation for security purposes. Rather than use the funds for national security purposes, the stolen money was transported out of Nigeria and deposited into accounts controlled by General Abacha’s associates, including Mohammed Abacha and Bagudu.
Over sixty false security votes letters were addressed to and endorsed by General Abacha, each of which resulted in the withdrawal of Nigeria’s public funds from the CBN.
Subsequently, the funds were deposited into accounts controlled by, or used to purchase assets for the benefit of, General Abacha, Bagudu, or other members of the conspiracy.
Some of the false letters used for the fraud dated June 2, 1994, by Gwarzo stated:
“In view of the on-going negative campaign against this country, a small international operation has been mounted to cover it…please approve as a matter of urgency, the sum of Five Million Dollars…for this operation.”
By letter, dated November 30, 1994, Gwarzo falsely stated: “[$100 million dollars are requested] to combat an economy that was deflected and distorted through the black market.”
By letter, dated August 20, 1996, Gwarzo falsely stated: “In light of the current political situation in the country, coupled with the increase in security operations…. there is need for a lot of funds to handle the challenges outlined above such that I require Three hundred and fifty million Naira [N350,000,000.00] plus Thirty million dollars [$30,000,000] and Fifteen million Pounds [£15,000,000.00] …Please consider desperate need and approve.”
In order to move the money overseas, Bagudu deposited the cash proceeds of the Security Votes Fraud into at least one of two Nigerian commercial banks, Union Bank of Nigeria and/or Inland Bank of Nigeria. Bagudu referred to the money deposited into Union Bank and Inland Bank as his
“cash swaps.” Bagudu and/or Mohammed Abacha then instructed Union Bank or Inland Bank to transfer the stolen funds to other accounts under Bagudu or Mohammed Abacha’s control, such as accounts in the name of Mecosta, Rayville, and Eagle Alliance.
Inland Bank or Union Bank made the necessary arrangements to transfer the money overseas.
The funds were transferred from Union Bank or Inland Bank back to the CBN, to an account held by Union Bank or Inland Bank at the CBN. The CBN then transferred the funds from the account of Union Bank or Inland Bank to their respective overseas domiciliary accounts held at banks in either
London or New York.
Through these “cash swaps,” at least $137 million was transported into and out of the United States, and into accounts held in the name of the Bagudu and his collaborators.
For example, the documents said:
(a)Between July 1995 and April 1996, $18.3 million was deposited into accounts in Nigeria at Union Bank and Inland Bank controlled by Mohammed Abacha and Bagudu. These funds were subsequently wire transferred into and out of correspondent accounts at financial institutions in the United
States for deposit into accounts held in the names of Eagle Alliance or Mecosta at ANZ (London).
The transfer of these funds was accomplished through transactions including, but not limited to, the following:
(i) On or about October 10, 1995, Bagudu caused the wire transfer of $5 million from an account at Union Bank of Nigeria into and out of a correspondent account at Barclays Bank Plc., New York, into a
correspondent account at ANZ (New York), for credit to the Eagle Alliance account at ANZ (London).
ii) On or about November 5, 1995, Bagudu caused the wire transfer of $6 million from a domiciliary account of Union Bank of Nigeria into and out of a correspondent account at Barclays Bank Plc., New York, and then into and out of a correspondent account at ANZ (New York), for credit to the Eagle Alliance account at ANZ (London). This $6 million was credited to the Eagle Alliance account on or about November 13, 1995.
(iii) On or about January 3, 1996, Bagudu caused the wire transfer of approximately $320,000 from Inland Bank of Nigeria into and out of a correspondent account at Morgan Guaranty Trust Bank, New York, and then into and out of a correspondent account at ANZ (New York), for credit to
the Eagle Alliance account at ANZ (London).
(b) Between August 1995 and November 1995, at least $7.2 million in proceeds from the Security Votes Fraud was deposited into the Eagle Alliance account at ANZ (London) by or on behalf of Alhaji Ahmadu Daura, an associate of Mohammed Abacha. These funds included monies withdrawn from the CBN in the form of cash and traveler’s checks. The monies were first deposited into accounts controlled by Daura at London Trust Bank in Nigeria and then wired to the Eagle Alliance account at ANZ (London).
(c) In 1997, an additional $20 million in proceeds from the Security Votes Fraud were wire transferred from the Inland Bank of Nigeria Plc’s domiciliary account at Commerzbank AG in London, into and out of correspondent bank Credit Lyonnais, New York, for deposit into account number 223405880IUSD held in the name of Rayville at Banque SBA in Paris.
(d) On or about July 17, 1997, another $10 million in proceeds from the Security Votes Fraud were wire transferred from the Inland Bank of Nigeria Plc’s domiciliary account at Commerzbank AG in London into and out of correspondent bank Credit Lyonnais,
When Pointblanknews.com contacted the Governor’s Spokesman, Abubakar Dankingari, he referred the issues to the Chief of staff to the Governor, Sulaiman Argungun.
Argungu told Pointblanknews.com that the Governor should be sent a letter from the U.S. He Said he would not respond to the issues because they are personal to the Governor and that he also won’t talk to journalists he has never met or seen. He asked that the U.S do write a letter to the Governor if they indeed have anything against him.