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‘Unexplained wealth’: Saraki listed as owner of £15m London mansions

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Senate President Bukola Saraki has been listed as one of the five owners of “unexplained wealth” in London.

According to Transparency International, the report was conducted by Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), a new investigative power designed to help law enforcement agencies act on corrupt assets.

Two buildings, located at 7 and 8 Whittaker street, Belgravia, London, are allegedly owned by Saraki.

The houses are said to be worth £15 million.

According to the report, the said addresses are owned by Landfield International Developments Limited and Renocon Property Development Limited.

The report said the companies are managed by Toyin Saraki, wife of the senate president and one of Saraki’s personal aides.

“The report is particularly useful where there is no realistic prospect of cooperation or conviction in the country of origin, but there are sufficient grounds for suspicion that an asset has been acquired with the proceeds of corruption,” UWOs said.

In November 2017, Saraki was named among over 120 politicians and leaders in nearly 50 countries who have reportedly been utilising shell companies in tax haven to either conceal assets, evade tax, or launder funds.

Eighteen months earlier, a similar investigation exposed his ownership of at least three secret offshore firms which he allegedly used in concealing assets abroad.

Saraki has however denied both allegations, saying he is rich because he comes from a wealthy family.

Other people indicted in the report include Igor Shuvalov, Russian first deputy prime minister, Ahmed Mahmoud Azwai, former Libyan major-general, Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister of Pakistan, and First family of Azerbaijan, a country in Asia.

Efforts made to get the reaction of the senate president to this report did not yield the desired result as Yusuph Olaniyonu, his spokesman cut off the call put through to his telephone line.

He also refused to reply a text message sent.

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I was shocked when my name was missing on Buhari’s ministerial list- Adebayo Shittu

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Adebayo Shittu, the immediate-past Minister of Communication, says he was shocked when he found out his name wasn’t on the Ministerial list for the 2nd term of President Buhari.

Shittu who was the Minister of Communication in President Buhari’s first tenure, said he felt bad about his exclusion but he has since taken it in good fate.  President Buhari reappointed 14 former ministers and 29 new ones which included seven females, Shittu was part of 18 ex-ministers who did not make the list.

Speaking in an interview, Shittu said

“Of course, I expected that I will be reappointed (as minister) but when it didn’t happen, as a Muslim, it didn’t take me five minutes before I accepted that what has come, it’s the will of God. And I have also found comfort in a Quranic verse when God promised that what is to come later is better than what is with you now. So for me, it says we must accept that there is always something better with God which he gives to his beloved.

“I see myself as a beloved of God. I have come a long way and I have served at the state and national levels and the experience that I have garnered over the last three and half years cannot be purchased from the stores or from the market”. 

He was the youngest lawmaker at the age of 26 to be elected a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly in 1979.

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Arrest of 77 Nigerians for online fraud, a big scar on all of us- Presidency

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The Federal government has said that the recent arrest of 77 Nigerians by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for online fraud, is a big scar on all Nigerians.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, said this when he appeared on Channels TV on Sunday night, August 25. Shehu disclosed that the Federal government would issue executive orders and engage the National Assembly to pass new laws to put a stop to online fraud involving Nigerians.

“This is a double damage on every citizen of Nigeria. It is a big scar on all of us who go out of this country and are seen in this image that these our brothers have created and the whole nation is tainted.

For the government of President Buhari, what it means is that the government which has started its second term on the strong promises of reinvigorating the war against criminality including scams and corruption, the government is serious engaging in revamping all of the laws and infrastructure for fighting this sought of crime.

The government will generate and ask for new laws from the National Assembly and there will be new executive orders that will block some of the loopholes that are being exploited by some of these Nigerians who go out there and blackmail the country. The laws have got to change. These scams have to be tackled”he said

He stressed that this particular incident should not be used to tag all Nigerians as criminals.

 The actions of a few Nigerians is not the action of the whole of Nigerians. We are 200 million in this country and you are talking of just about 80 in this case. They will face the justice system in the US. If the Nigerian government is required for extradition or any other way, if it meets the requirements of our laws, they will be assisted to prosecute them and to face justice in the US” he said

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EFCC traces Atiku’s ‘laundered’ money to Obasanjo Presidential Library in Ogun State

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Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have reportedly visited the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as part of the probe of ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law and the 150 million euros cash-for-poll bribe scandal.

It was gathered that investigators went to the Library on August 8th to authenticate the claims by one of those under probe that he gave $140,000 (about N50 million) to one of the library officials. 

According to reports, the EFCC officials, accompanied by policemen, combed some offices at the former President’s Library. It could not be confirmed whether any document was taken away by the operatives, but nobody was arrested.

“Our operatives went to the library with some riot policemen in anticipation of a possible resistance. But there was none.We did our job lawfully without any inhibition. We are still investigating the case. We are screening some documents in our possession on the matter, ” an EFCC investigator told The Nation.

The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library was opened on March 4, 2017. It is a historic, tourist and academic centre established as a national archive for the preservation of documents and materials used by the President during his tenure between 1999 and 2007.  

Atiku’s son-in-law Abdullahi Babalele is being investigated alongside others for allegedly laundering €150 million. The money was believed to have been spent to influence the 2019 election in which Atiku was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.  About €67, 950,000 was traced to ex-VP Atiku’s associate Uyi Giwa-Osagie’s account, Babalele’s account, two slush firms and two Bureau de Change operators.  

Babalele is expected to account for 41,900,000 euros. According to reports, Babalele gave about N50million ($140,000) to his childhood friend, Bashir Mohammed to deliver to an official at the Presidential Library in Abeokuta. The anti-graft agency is investigating why the money was taken to the Presidential Library.    

Bashir has reportedly admitted that he delivered the cash to the Presidential Library.  It was learnt that Bashir was taken by detectives to the Presidential Library.  Those interrogated including Babalele, Osagie and Mohammed, are on administrative bail pending the filing of a case against them.”

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