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Troubles for Andy Uba

Posted by By DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja on 2006/12/08 | Views: 1130 |

Troubles for Andy Uba


Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a 14-day ultimatum to arrest, investigate and prosecute President Olusegun Obasanjo’s former Senior Special Assistant (Domestic Affairs), Mr Andy Uba, over his alleged involvement in the money-laundering scandal that broke out about a month ago.

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a 14-day ultimatum to arrest, investigate and prosecute President Olusegun Obasanjo’s former Senior Special Assistant (Domestic Affairs), Mr Andy Uba, over his alleged involvement in the money-laundering scandal that broke out about a month ago.

The president’s aide was alleged to have illegally imported US $170,000 into the United States aboard a presidential plane, while being part of the president’s entourage to a United Nations function in New York in September 2003.

Of the smuggled money, US $45,487.28 was allegedly utilised to purchase farm equipment which were shipped to Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited, owned by the president.
The scam, which broke out about a month ago, generated intense public interest and calls for the anti-graft body, which had been accused of being selective in its operations, to probe it. The matter gradually faded off after official attitude tended to treat it as a non-issue.

Keyamo’s intervention is coming at the same time a group of eminent Nigerians in the US are canvassing a wave of tough sanctions against the Federal Government over the scandal, which it noted has helped in destroying the reputation of the hard-working and law-abiding Nigerian people all over the world.
Specifically, Keyamo wants EFCC to investigate:
•The source of the money Uba allegedly smuggled into the United States since the U.S has confirmed the source was not legitimate

•How many times he smuggled such money on the president’s plane before he was caught;
•How the president was on the plane “when this shameful act was committed;
•The use of the money to buy farm equipment for Obasanjo;
•How Uba got information as to the type of equipment required at the farms for him to buy them; and
•Why the president failed to act since this issue has been on without public knowledge since 2003 in the United States.

The lawyer, in the petition addressed to the EFCC chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, said the formal complaint became necessary after “your much touted zeal to fight corruption suddenly waned and disappeared when the matter in hand obviously involves a clear case of corruption and abuse of office by the president and his co-in-law and aide, Andy Uba.”

Cataloguing the facts of the case, based on the outcome of the investigations by one Guy Gino, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Keyamo said Nigerians were scandalised and embarrassed by the EFCC boss’ inaction, whereas he had hitherto been running after cases of less significance against the opponents of the Obasanjo administration.

He wrote further: “The only thing we have heard so far in Nigeria is that the case was a civil case in the United States. This is an outrageously stupid argument. Obviously, like the thorough government that it is, what the United States government does, in cases like this, is to first take civil steps to seize the proceeds of financial crimes and cripple the financial powers of the culprits. In some cases in Nigeria, you will recall that you have similarly brought civil applications in court to freeze the assets of those you intend to prosecute. It is such an application that was done in Andy Uba’s case.

“However, the crime itself took place in Nigeria or at least started here where the money was smuggled into the plane. So we should be interested in prosecuting the financial crime here. Or when has it become the case that it is what the United States does in cases like this that determines what we do here?,” the lawyer queried, adding that: “It is even to your advantage that the United States government has not prosecuted Andy Uba, because it would have been impossible for you to try him again for the same offence because of the legal principle of double jeopardy.
Keyamo warned the commission to act on his complaint, or he would be forced to move to the next phase of his campaign on the issue.

On their part, Nigerian-American citizens, in a petition to the United States Attorney-General explained that they had no option but to file their complaint in the United States because, in Nigeria, due to the culture of corruption in high places, often corrupt and criminal behaviours were recorded and corrupt officials elevated, while the law enforcement agencies looked the other way.

They expressed dismay at the alleged smuggling of huge sums of money into the US by a few “disingenuous” Nigerian officials, noting that it has dented the image of the country.
They therefore, among other requests, urged the US government to impound the Nigerian presidential plane used for the smuggling anytime the plane enters into the US airspace or the airspace of any other nation who has treaty or pact with the US.

Urging the US not to return the seized plane until such a time new elections are held and new accountable leaders are sworn in and restored with full diplomatic privileges, the group said that urgent action was needed.

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.