EFCC Backs Presidency, Accuses HSBC of Laundering $100m for Abacha, 50 Others

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  • Asks security agencies to place Fayose on watch list
  • Atiku: Attacks on bank expose presidency’s hypocrisy
  • APC, PDP bicker over Adeosun

By Iyobosa Uwugiaren, Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday joined the presidency in taking to task, the multinational banking and financial services organisation, HSBC, over its rating of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s economic performance, accusing the foreign bank of helping Nigeria’s late military dictator, General Sani Abacha, to launder over $100million.

The anti- graft agency also accused the bank of assisting 50 other Nigerians, including a serving senator to keep unspecified amount of illicit funds.

The bank had in a damning report, warned that a second term for Buhari would greatly harm the economic development of the country.

The first official attack came from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who on Saturday accused the financial institution of harbouring looted funds from Nigeria.

The presidency had described HSBC as “A bank that soiled its hand with millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered Abacha loot.”

The EFCC in joining the fray said, “HSBC Bank Plc is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

“Since inception, HSBC is synonymous with money laundering and has paid billions of US dollars in fines across the world.

“In Nigeria, the bank laundered more than $100 million for the late dictator, late Gen Abacha, in Jersey, Paris, London, Switzerland and Geneva.

“The bank is also involved with laundering proceeds of corruption for over 50 Nigerians, including a Nigerian serving senator.

“Part of Abacha Assets yet to be recovered are, $12 million in HSBC Fund Admin Ltd with account number S-104460 in Jersey; $20 million in HSBC Life (Europe) with account number 37060762 in U.K and $1. 6 million in HSBC Bank plc with account number 38175076 in UK.

“We shall not rest on our oars until every penny belonging to the Federal Republic of Nigeria is repatriated to Nigeria so as to improve the lives of the people.”

Atiku: Attacks on HSBC Expose Presi-dency’s Hypocrisy  

Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday said that the statement by the presidency condemning HSBC because it gave a verdict that Buhari’s re-election would spell doom for Nigeria’s economy has exposed the hypocrisy of the Buhari administration.

Atiku, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said it was comical and pathetic that the Buhari government’s statement called HSBC corrupt.

The former vice president in a statement in Abuja by the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation said, “It is with amusement that we read the statement by the Buhari administration condemning HSBC, the world’s largest bank, simply because HSBC gave a verdict that Buhari’s re-election would spell doom for Nigeria’s economy.”

He said that it seems the Buhari-led federal government was unaware that some of the record $12 trillion worth of debt that Nigeria has been with was funded from HSBC.

Atiku stated, “When they were taking their money, the ever begging Buhari administration did not know that HSBC was corrupt. It was after the HSBC told the truth about the Buhari government that they knew that the HSBC is keeping looted funds.

“They forgot that their principal, Muhammadu Buhari, said Abacha did not steal. So if Abacha did not steal, how could HSBC keep recovered Abacha loot? When you tell so many lies, you begin to contradict yourself.”

The former vice president stressed that the fact remains that Nigeria under Buhari had been adjudged as the world headquarters for extreme poverty by the World Economic Forum and the World Poverty Clock as well as the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

He added that only last month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the country’s second quarter GDP growth rate was lower than the first quarter GDP growth, warning that another quarter of negative growth would see Nigeria witnessing a second recession under the Buhari administration.

Atiku said the same NBS published in December 2017 that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in 21 months under Buhari’s watch, adding, “These are the things that the government should be focused on and not to haul infantile insults at the world’s largest bank.”

EFCC Asks Security Agencies to Place Fayose on Watch List

In a related development, the EFCC has requested security agencies, including the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) and the Department of State Services (DSS) to monitor and arrest Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, if he makes attempt to run away from the country when his immunity expires next month.

Fayose in a swift response in Ado-Ekiti, however, said yesterday that the directive was unnecessary, contending that he had no intention of eloping since he had nothing to hide.

“I can face tomorrow,” he said defiantly.

In a letter dated September 12, 2018 with reference number: CR: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/EG/TA/VOL,59/010 and signed by the acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, the anti-corruption-agency urged the Customs to place Fayose on its watch list, accusing the outgoing governor of money laundering, abuse of office and other socio-political vices.

It said, “The under listed person (Governor Ayodele Fayose) is under investigation in connection with the above mentioned offences and there is a reasonable suspicion suggesting that he may likely leave the country either through the land borders, airports or seaports in order to evade investigation.

“Hence, you are kindly requested to watch-list him and arrest him. You are further requested to contact the commission through the provided contact details if sighted.”

Fayose had told EFCC that he would submit himself to the commission immediately he hands over to the next governor.

In his letter to EFCC, dated September 10, 2018, Fayose said, “I wish to inform you that my term of office pursuant to which I enjoy immunity against investigation and prosecution under the above provision shall lapse by effusion of time on Monday, October 15th, 2018.

‘’As a responsible citizen of our great country, who believes in the rule of law, I wish to inform you of my decision to make myself available in your office on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 1pm to clarify issues or answer questions within my knowledge.”

APC, PDP Bicker over Adeosun

For the APC and the PDP, the recent resignation of the former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, provided another opportunity to trade words yesterday as both disagreed over the virtue of the former minister’s action.

Adeosun had stepped down following the discovery that her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate was forged.

The APC in praising Buhari for stepping up the anti-graft fight, described Adeosun’s acceptance of guilt and subsequent resignation as an “action of honour, strength of character and integrity.”

In a statement yesterday by the acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabene, the APC said Adeosun did well by resigning after being indicted by a probe panel.

The party said like all responsive and responsible governments concerned about the truth and due process, the federal government undertook diligent investigation of the allegation.

The party said the minister had done the right thing by accepting the outcome of the report of the investigation of the NYSC certificate scandal.

It said, “The right thing has been done. The honourable minister has taken the path of honour and resigned. We congratulate Mrs. Adeosun for her action.

“In President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of integrity and transparency in the conduct of public affairs, no officer of government with a modicum of questionable conduct or integrity should stay in office.”

PDP: Probe Sleaze under Adeosun

But the PDP was not similarly persuaded, saying the Buhari administration and the APC, being aware of the former minister’s NYSC exemption certificate liability, used her as a conduit to siphon trillions of naira from the national treasury.

It, therefore, urged the National Assembly to probe the books of the Ministry of Finance during Adeosun’s tenure, as well as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which is under Buhari, to expose those behind an alleged N9 trillion fraudulent oil contracts detailed in the NNPC leaked memo; the N1.4 trillion fraudulent oil subsidy regime; the allegedly diverted N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil through 18 illegal companies linked with APC interests, among others.

The PDP said, ‘’Mrs. Adeosun must also be made to tell Nigerians how a cabinet minister close to President Buhari directly stole $16.9 million (about N7billion) from the returned $321million as non-existent legal fees before the fund became an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) for members of the presidency cabal and APC leaders.

‘’The former minister should also be made to expose where the pressure that compromised the system for the stealing of over N25 billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) fund from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) was initiated.’’

The PDP invited Nigerians to note that Buhari as “Mr. Integrity” has refused to order any investigation into the allegations of huge corruption and stealing under his watch, particularly those in the petroleum sector, where he directly presides as minister.