The announcement of a stakeholders summit on anti-money laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism - being sponsored by more than 200 participants from Financial Institutions and Designated Non-Financial Institutions as well as officials of regulatory and supervisory agencies at Transcorp Hotels, Abuja this week - comes at a very inauspicious time for me. Inauspicious because I am already writing a handbook on ways that the Nigerian politician could easily launder his loot, successfully and effectively hiding them from Nuhu Ribadu and his men in the EFCC.

On 12th March 2007 , Nuhu Ribadu boasted that EFCC would track corrupt politicians money anywhere in the world. He said: "The laws have made it possible to trail and follow all illicit wealth. No such wealth can be hidden again today. It will be traced and recovered and the EFCC has the capacity and is in a position to trace all financial transactions locally and internationally. It is therefore fruitless to attempt to hide assets".

One may ask why I would help Enterprise criminals of any sort, from drug traffickers to corrupt government officials to stock fraudsters to corporate embezzlers and commodity smugglers to evade Ribadu.

I am very much against corruption. I have hailed Ribadu as the Nigeria 's' equivalent of Giovanni Falcone - The Italian mafia busting judge. I like what Ribadu and the EFCC are doing - In the sense that they have improved the image of Nigeria in the eyes of the financial world. For example; on 23 June 2006, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at its plenary meeting, decided to remove the name of Nigeria from the list of countries and territories that are non-cooperative in the international communities' efforts to fight money laundering saying, "This recognises the progress Nigeria has made in implementing anti-money laundering reforms, including the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit and progress on money laundering investigations, prosecutions and convictions. In addition, Nigeria has taken steps at the highest levels to fight corruption". The corollary to this is improved Nigerians rating in the TI list of the most corrupt countries - from 2nd in 1998 to 16th in 2006

However, I would confess to a certain perverted pride whenever I see Nigeria receive a mention and occupy a pride of place in the course of my research on Trans-national Organised Crime and subsequent thesis on money laundering.

Take this example from The Laundrymen by Jeffrey Robinson: "For anyone confident enough to trust his cash to the evolving nations of Africa , the dark continent offers a legion of opportunities. Hard currency is king. Yet unlike many other fragile economies - For example, Eastern Europe - the Africans haven't just discovered it. They've known the potency of cash for decades and are very sophisticated when it comes to separating less sophisticated people from it." He continued, "And nowhere in Africa has money laundering acquired the same state-of-the-art trademark as in the Nigerian capital. In a world where international fraud is an expedient source of foreign income, organized criminals in Lagos understand the sex appeal of dirty money so well that they've built around it highly lucrative scams".

Therefore, It is disheartening to note that while the Nigerian 419 street kid have been internationally acclaimed as smart crooks, our supposedly educated state governors are still being caught pants down at Heathrow airport with millions of pounds in cash.

While the street kids are always one step ahead of international anti money laundering technology, keeping in step with advances in technology and communications; the financial infrastructure that has developed into a perpetually operating global system in which "megabyte money" can move anywhere in the world with speed and ease. What with the offshore financial centres and bank secrecy jurisdictions as a key part of the global system with distinct but complementary and reinforcing components, many of which are readily amenable to manipulation by criminals. The Nigerian politicians - state governors' still manifests abject stupidity and foolishness by following the crude but primitive method for laundering dirty money - the physical movement of banknotes using cash couriers and bulk cash smuggling and the acquisition of properties.

To illustrate what I mean:

Mr Alamieyeseigha earns less than $1,000 a month as a governor, yet the governor of the oil-rich Nigerian Bayelsa state appeared in a UK court charged with laundering ┬ú1.8m ($3.2m) found in cash and in bank accounts ÔÇô mince meat to the Metropolitan Police!

Gov. Joshua Dariye used one Emma Orji, a Nigerian resident in London to launder money. Dariye is said to have deposited large sums of money in Barclays bank accounts through Orji. Another player in this criminal scheme is Jolly Cole, to whom he made available the sum of one hundred and eighteen million naira (N118, 000,000.00) for the procurement of foreign exchange. About the same time the Governor made these funds available, he bought a property in Abuja for the sum of twenty-nine million naira (N29, 000,000.00) - Easily traceable!

In July of 2000, Gov. Joshua Dariye wrote a letter to the office of the Vice-President demanding about three billion naira for ecological purposes. The Vice-President's office approved the sum of one billion, one hundred and sixty-one million naira for Plateau State 's ecological needs. The said money was paid directly into account number: 001080032 at All States Trust Bank. The said account is Gov. Dariye's personal account - What a shame! You are merely leaving footprints!

In his testimony to the Plateau State House of Assembly Committee, Ibrahim Lamorde of the EFCC said that Gov. Dariye was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London the sum of eight hundred and thirty-one; seven hundred and thirty thousand pounds (₤831,730.00) were found with him. Lamorde told his listeners that the money was covered by a substance which tested positive for heroin. He also revealed that one hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds (₤175,000.00) and eighty thousand pounds (₤80,000.00) in two Barclays Bank accounts belonged to Dariye. The sum of nine hundred and eighteen thousand pounds (₤918,000.00) was found in yet another account belonging to Dariye.- This man must be living in the dark ages!

In 2000, the following sums of money were electronically transferred from AllStates Trust Bank into yet another Dariye bank account in London: thirty-three thousand, six hundred and fifty pounds (₤33,650.00); twenty-eight thousand, nine hundred pounds (₤28,900.00); twenty-eight thousand, nine hundred pounds; and (₤28,900.00). The sum of twenty-nine thousand, nine hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds (₤29,925.00) was transferred to one of Dariye's bank account in London from Standard Trust Bank on October 6, 2000 ÔÇô This is simply primitive. You are merely courting Ribadu's trouble! Can you blame the government if they close down AllStates Trust Bank?

Even the Abia State governor whom you would ordinarily expect to be smarter has been implicated in a N2.7bn scam by the EFCC. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has named Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu in money laundering scandal involving over N2.713.500.00. With a lot of the said monies directly traceable to his or/and his companies or mums account within Nigeria. Might he be suffering from megalomaniac Impunity?

Gbenga Obasanjo- the son of the president - was therefore wrong when he opined that smart crookswould never be caught by the EFCC. For even the governor of Enugu State whom he classified as one of the smart ones have been indicted by the EFCC and frozen his 4billion naira allegedly lodged in different accounts with another 172 houses in the country directly traceable to him. It appears Chimaraoke Nnamani reputation as a smart crook stops at his ability to steal from the government. When it comes to laundering his ill-gotten wealth, he is still a cave man!

Space and time would fail me if I go on about Peter Odilli, Sani Yerima, Rotimi Amaechi etc, etc.

Ill-gotten wealth or "Dirty money" is of little use because it raises the suspicions of law enforcement and leaves a trail of incriminating evidence. Criminals who wish to benefit from the proceeds of large-scale crime have to disguise their illegal profits without compromising themselves. This process is known as money laundering.

It's worse for Nigerian politicians because the Swiss Banks are no more safe havens. According to reports the Swiss government is concerned that the past Nigerian leaders at all tiers of government had caused their country serious image problems through their money laundering activities in Switzerland . They have therefore declared that Switzerland was no longer a haven for Nigerian public treasury looters and called on the EFCC to make available to the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria the list of politicians suspected to be keeping money in the Swiss system for assistance and possible repatriation

For Nigerian corrupt politicians to use their wealth without any fear of Ribadu therefore, their illegal or dirty money would have to be put through a cycle of transactions or washed so that it comes out the other end as legal or clean money. In order words, the source of the illegally obtained funds is obscured through a succession of transfers and deals in order that those same funds can eventually be made to reappear as legitimate income.

To be continued...


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Re: How the governors would evade Ribadu
Edoji posted on 03-27-2007, 17:29:23 PM

EFCC alerts ECOWAS on fleeing governors

By Anas A. Galadima

Foreign governments should be on the lookout for fleeing governors trying to escape corruption investigators trying to apprehend them when their current tenure in office expires in May 29, this year, the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said yesterday.
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu asked neighbouring ECOWAS states and other countries to extradite any governor or member of his family who pitches at the border looking for solace.
Mal. Ribadu was speaking yesterday at the opening of a two-day West African sub-regional meeting on advance fee fraud organised by the commission in conjunction with Interpol.
He said many of the corrupt politicians are currently covered by constitutional immunity hence they cannot be touched or brought to justice. Most of them already have grand plans to flee the shores of this country as soon as their tenures expire, he said.
"We face the singular challenge here that criminal impunity has been purchased by constitutional immunity and when this immunity lapses in the next few weeks, many of the Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) may consider the flight across borders as fugitives of justice," he said.
"To the extent that many of their crimes fall within the purview of advance fee fraud and money laundering, let me urge you all that we quickly tighten up the screws regarding the extradition of offenders to face justice in appropriate jurisdictions," Ribadu told the gathering.
He said there would be no safe haven for corrupt persons, politicians or fraudsters.
He also spoke on the need to tackle advance fee fraud otherwise known as 419 in the West African region. He said member countries need to develop mechanisms that will facilitate joint investigations as well as enhance seizure of assets acquired by advance fee fraud scammers and other corrupt persons.
Ribadu urged all West African countries to "expeditiously pass relevant legislations to specifically address the problem of advance fee fraud and more broadly, money laundering in their various jurisdictions."
He called on ECOWAS countries to strongly consider the establishment of specialized agencies to address economic and financial crimes, which he said are critical to the fight against all forms of corruption in the region. The regular police forces in ECOWAS countries will not be able to on their own, tackle effectively, the menace of financial crimes which have caused serious harm to many economies in the last few decades, he said.
Ribadu noted that globali-sation and the advancement in information and commu-nication technology has made it possible for fraudsters to flee from Nigeria to other African countries to conti-nually perpetuate their crimes using the internet and other sophisticated technology.
"The relentless war (against corruption) and hostile internal environment has compelled scammers to relocate to neighbouring West African countries by the end of 2003. The bigger ones left for South Africa, the United Kingdom, Spain, Holland, USA and Canada."
"Two main factors aided this emigrational pattern: The free travel protocol which was granted by ECOWAS treaty as well as the increasingly developed IT infrastructure in the sub region."
He said ECOWAS nations have now become attractive to scammers who particularly now find it safer to operate from there due to the harsh environment created by the EFCC's war against fraud. He named countries like Togo, Benin, Ghana, Burkina Fasso, Senegal and Cote d' Ivoire as being among those countries currently awash with run-away fraudsters from Nigeria.
These criminals, he said, launder their ill-gotten funds by acquiring choice property in those countries where they now consider as safe haven for them.
Re: How the governors would evade Ribadu
Mikky jaga posted on 03-28-2007, 12:29:31 PM
While we wait for your next serial on this issue, we do hope you will prove to be smarter than these crooks you mentioned.

If you are in doubt, please shield your pen or the villagers will tear you to shreds.
Re: How the governors would evade Ribadu
Afeni posted on 03-28-2007, 12:34:42 PM
Mark my words, after the 2007 elections, those out-going Governors that delivered their State for the PDP will get soft landing.

Obasonjo that is shouting about corruption, is also corrupt as well. The last thing Baba would think about doing is provoking extremely wealthy ex-Governors when he no longer has the machinery of State under his direct control.
Re: How the governors would evade Ribadu
Son of the Delta posted on 03-28-2007, 13:37:03 PM
It`s all part of Obasanjo`s selective Justice strategy.Why wait until after May 2007 when you used the police and army to remove some governors?
Re: How the governors would evade Ribadu
Afeni posted on 03-28-2007, 13:45:18 PM
It`s all part of Obasanjo`s selective Justice strategy.Why wait until after May 2007 when you used the police and army to remove some governors?

You make an excellent point. I remember a while ago when Baba and his lover, Ahmadu Ali, were trying to remove the Governor of Adamawa. Appearantly, Baba and Ahmadu were just discorvering that the the Governor of Adamawa was corrupt and that his State was under-developed when compared to other States in the North East. Now, what is interesting is this is happening when said Governor was helping the AC in their bid to take-over the State in the comming elections.

The same thing is happening now in Taraba State when shortly after the PDP Governor of the State told his indegenes that they should vote for whatever party they like, 15+ members of the State house of Assembly now "DISCOVERED" that their Governor has been looting State funds and have now commenced impeachment proceedings.

Obasonjo needs to get his head examined. He screams about One Nigeria from morning to night, but yet completely fails at tranforming the crippled nation into anything but the shame of Africa.
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