Halliburton Scam: Trial of Obasanjo’s Aide Begins


•EFCC storms Jigawa over 2008 petition, arrests 5

From Tobi Soniyi in Abuja, Taiwo Olawale in Lagos and Ibrahim Shuaibu in

Dutse, 09.06.2010



The trial of a former Personal Assistant to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Adeyanju Bodunde, and five others for alleged complicity in the $180 million Halliburton bribery scandal will commence today at the Federal High Court in Abuja.


The anti-graft train also moved to Jigawa State yesterday as operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stormed Dutse, the state capital, and whisked away five government officials including commissioners of works and local government, and the Accountant-General for questioning over an alleged N15 billion fraud.

A court source told THISDAY that the Halliburton criminal case had been assigned to the vacation judge, Justice David Okorowo, who has agreed to hear it today.

The courts are on recess till September 20.

The source said the judge had since been studying the case file. Notices have also been sent to the suspects to appear in court for their arrangement, he disclosed.

The new President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), will be leading the prosecuting team.

Government had last Friday filed two separate charges against some individuals and corporations for alleged money laundering and allied offences.


One of the charges was filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja while the other was filed at the Abuja High Court.

The case at the Federal High Court with suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/146/2010 has six suspects who allegedly made cash payments of about $5 million to Bodunde.


Other suspects charged before the Federal High Court are George Mark, Jeffrey Tesler (said to be at large), Hans George Christ, Heinrich J.

Stockhausen; Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Bilfinger Berger GMBH.
It could not be ascertained at press time if the charges filed against the nine suspects before an Abuja High Court would also commence today.


The suspects at the Abuja High Court will plea to a 13-count charge.
They are Ibrahim Aliyu (a former federal permanent secretary), Air Vice Marshall  Abdullahi Dominic Bello; Mohammed Gidado Bakare; Urban Shelter Limited; Intercellular Nigeria Limited; Sherwood Petroleum Limited; Tri-Star Investment Limited; Maizube Holdings Limited; TSKJ Nigeria Limited – (a) Technip S.A.; (b) Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. (c) Kellog Brown and Root Inc(d) Japan Gasoline Corporation of Japan.


Albert J. Stanley had already admitted before a Houston Court in the US on September 4, 2008, that he channelled more than $180 million in bribe to senior Nigerian government officials.

Stanley alleged that the bribe was channelled through a UK-based lawyer, Mr. Jeffery Tesler, in four instalments of $60 million, $32.5 million, $51 million and $23 million.

Meanwhile, EFCC spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, confirmed to THISDAY on telephone yesterday that the Jigawa arrests were in connection with an alleged N15 billion fraud.


He said: “Yes, I can confirm to you that the Commissioner of Local Government, Alhaji Salisu Mahmud, his Permanent Secretary Alhaji Ado Ahmad, Accountant-General Alhaji Sani Ahmad Jahun as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu and Permanent secretary, Ministry of Works, Alhaji Datti Ahmad, respectively were taken away by our operatives for questioning on the allegation of N15 billion fraud.”


He, however, said the Works Commissioner, Alhaji Baba S. Aliyu, could not be traced as he was on the run, saying his men would expand their tentacles with a view to apprehending him.


Babafemi said: “At the moment, we have only these five in our custody. We have declared the Commissioner of Works wanted.”

A former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state however claimed that the arrests were part of high-wire politics ahead of 2011, saying they were meant to intimidate the state government to support the presidential ambition of a powerful candidate in the party.


But Babafemi explained that the EFCC was not in any way witch-hunting anybody, saying it was only acting on allegation of fraud it received.
“We will investigate the allegation to find the authenticity or otherwise of the petitioner’s claim,” he said.


The petitioner, Muhammad Ali Ringim, told reporters at the Police headquarters in Dutse that he drew the attention of the agency to the allegation of contract inflation in the road project, water supply and the construction of a new state secretariat.

Ringim said he was invited by the police in Dutse to explain the content of his petition, maintaining that he would pursue the case to its logical conclusion.


The anti-graft commission started an investigation into the state’s finances at the end of 2008 based on a petition written by Ringim.

At that time, senior members of the state Executive Council were invited for questioning but nobody was formally charged. It is unclear if these latest arrests are part of a new investigation or an extension of the old one.


Governor Lamido has confirmed the arrests as well as allegation that his son had a N1 billion house in Kano, saying that Jigawa State government is officially under probe.


He requested that Jigawa people should remain calm and undisturbed, saying that even without EFCC, there was fear of God.

Speaking at the daily breaking of fast at Government House, Dutse, Lamido said he may not be 100 per cent clean, but that if he set out to steal money, he could have done that over and over.


He told those arrested to bear in mind that the humiliation is his, being the Chief Executive of the state. “Nothing happening is new,” he said. “This is the second time EFCC is coming here. Before, they said I carried on arrogantly, that I brought Obasanjo to Jigawa. They came, checked our accounts but nothing came out of it. The objective now is to control me but my brushes with the authorities in Barewa College, in the PRP and IBB and Abacha regimes show to me that I cannot be cowed and I am sure that our position on the correct direction for this country will prevail.”

Source: ThisDay



Comments are closed.