Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State who was the anchor man of the late General Sani Abacha looting spree of Nigeria is currently fighting the United States authorities to keep about $140million he helped the late dictator stole and kept in offshore accounts.
Peter Carr of the U.S Department of Justice, USDOJ, told pointblanknews.com in an email that Bagudu’s lack of cooperation on the crimes he committed against Nigeria and the United States is stalling the forfeiture of about $148million held in different portfolios in United Kingdom.
Carr 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.”
The U.S had traced over $600million laundered by the late Abacha. Out of the $600million, the U.S have agreed to repatriate $480million, with over $100million still in contention.
The remaining sum from the $600million is what Governor Bagudu is fighting to keep to himself.
U.S documents revealed that Bagudu, Mohammed Abacha, General Abacha and his finance minister also allegedly caused the government of Nigeria to purchase Nigerian government bonds at vastly inflated prices from a company controlled by Bagudu and Mohammed Abacha, generating an illegal windfall of more than $282 million.
Bagudu who was a Senator under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, switched to the All Progressive Congress, APC, to run for the Governorship elections in 2015 which he won.
U.S Court paper alleges that Governor Bagudu of Yobe State, late General Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha and others embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions of dollars from the government of Nigeria and others, then laundered their criminal proceeds through U.S. financial institutions and the purchase of bonds backed by the United States.
Some of the investments made with the stolen funds according to sources from the U.S Justice Department have been traced and the plans being made to retrieve them and repatriate to Nigeria.
While the U.S is bent on repatriating stolen funds, Governor Bagudu has mounted stiff resistance in cooperating with investigators. The Governor, according to a U.S Justice official is now resorting to using judicial process to block officials from the funds.
Sources told Pointblanknews.com that U.S officials have severally mentioned Bagudu to President Mohammadu Buhari and officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions, EFCC, at recent meetings but have not received “serious commitment” to deal with the matter between the U.S and the Yobe Governor.
The Criminal Division of the Office of International Affairs of the US Department of Justice, in a letter to the Federal Government, identified the accounts where Abacha loot was hidden through the help of Governor Bagudu as follows:
Doraville Properties Corporation – $287 million in Account Number 80020796 located at Deutsche Bank International Limited in the Bailiwick of Jersey; HSBC Fund Administration (Jersey) – $12 million in account number S-104460 in the Bailiwick of Jersey; and Rayville International, S. A – $1 million in account number 223405880IUSD at Banque SBA in Paris, France.
Others are Standard Alliance Financial Services Limited – $144 million in account 223406510PUSD at Banque SBA in Paris; Mecosta Securities – $21.7 million in accounts 10030688 and 100138409 at Standard Bank in the United Kingdom; and HSBC Bank Plc – $1.6 million in account number 38175076.
Also listed are Blue Holding (1) Pte Ltd/ Ridley Group Limited – £6,806,900; Blue Holding (2) Pte. Ltd/ Ridley Group Limited – £21,846,983; Blue Holding (1) Pte. Ltd/ Ridley Group Limited – £10,293,343.58; Blue Holding (2) Pte. Ltd/Ridley Group Limited – £56,962,996.26.
Governor Bagudu has severally refused media enquiries. Efforts made by Pointblanknews.com speak to his media aide, Abubakar Dakingari, were rebuffed.
The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Sulaiman Argungun who offered to speak told Pointblanknews.com that “it’s a personal matter. The U.S should write the Governor if they want anything.”