ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) -- Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar's office said Wednesday he had not been accused of corruption despite an FBI raid on a ">

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Nigeria VP: FBI has not accused me

Posted by CNN News on 2005/08/31 | Views: 699 |

Nigeria VP: FBI has not accused me


Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar's office said Wednesday he had not been accused of corruption despite an FBI raid on a house he owns in the United States.

ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) -- Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar's office said Wednesday he had not been accused of corruption despite an FBI raid on a house he owns in the United States.


Abubakar's office said the raid on the house in the affluent Potomac district outside Washington D.C. on August 3 followed a visit by U.S. congressman William Jefferson to discuss a telecoms deal in Nigeria.


"At the time of Mr. Jefferson's visit, the vice president and his family were unaware that the congressman was under investigation by the FBI," said a statement signed by Abubakar's deputy press secretary Mohammed Yakub.


"We have received no information of any wrongdoing or impropriety on the part of the vice president and his family arising from the visit and subsequent search."


A source familiar with the FBI investigation said subpoenas showed federal agents were looking for records indicating whether Jefferson paid, offered to pay or authorized payments to Nigerian or Ghanaian government officials, a U.S. newspaper reported on Saturday.


According to the Times-Picayune newspaper, sources familiar with the telecoms deal said Jefferson was attempting to smooth the way for iGate Corp., a small Kentucky company, to offer its high-speed broadband technology to Nigeria's fast-growing telecoms market.


U.S. officials have confirmed the raid took place but declined any further comment.


Abubakar's statement said the Nigerian ambassador to the United States, George Obiozor, had forwarded a letter to Abubakar's office requesting that he look into why the deal had stalled.


"The vice president instructed that the letter be forwarded to the Minister of Communications for advice ... Congressman Jefferson's visit was a follow-up to that letter," it said.


Succession questions


Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has not commented on the raid, but on Sunday he publicly accused Abubakar of "proven cases of dubious loyalty" on his monthly television "Media Chat." He did not provide further details.


Analysts have attributed the public flaying to a struggle for political supremacy ahead of general elections in 2007, when Obasanjo must step down after two four-year terms, according to the constitution.


Abubakar is widely believed to want the job for himself, but Obasanjo has made it clear he will not support him. Some Obasanjo allies want the president to amend the constitution and run for a third term.


The Nigerian presidency issued a statement on Monday saying the FBI raid had not tarnished the government's image. "It remains an individual's issue," the statement said.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.