Feb 23: How attempts by Atiku’s lawyer, son-in-law to launder €150m from Intels West Africa failed

March 6, 2019
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After conducting its preliminary investigation into the allegation of money laundering against some associates of the PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, the EFCC has come out with its findings.

Bureau de change operators and other suspects allegedly involved in the money laundering told the commission how Atiku’s lawyer Uyiekpen Osagie-Giwa, and his son-in-law Abdullahi Babalele used an offshore firm, Intels West Africa,  and shell companies to launder €150million.

Osagie-Giwa and Babalele, who had been arrested by the EFCC, allegedly attempted to use part of the money  to induce voters to vote  for the PDP candidate in the Feb 23 election.

According to the report, the EFCC had set up a panel to monitor bureaus de change across the nation following an intelligence report that certain politicians and their associates were attempting to convert huge foreign currencies into naira to influence the elections.

The team would later contact major BDCs, and got tips-off that some $1.6m  from Abuja had been given to a bureau de change operator on Lagos Island, Lawal Abdullahi, of Three Brothers BDC .

Two of the operators were arrested, and the $1.6m was recovered, though $141,000 had already been exchanged. The balance of $1.459,000 could not be exchanged due to naira scarcity then.

One of those arrested, Hasbunallahu BDC, who is also the owner of Clean and Integrity Services, received three transfers adding up to $5m on February 1, 4 and 14, 2019 from Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Limited, an investment company Giwa-Osagie manages in trust.

“On February 1, Abdullahi Munaciki received a transfer of $500,000 in his GTB dollar account named, Clean & Integrity Services Ltd., account number, 325/391103/2/1/0. The transfer came from Giwa-Osagie,” the report stated in part.

“On February 4, another transfer in the sum of $1.5m was received into Clean & Integrity Services GTB account from the company account of Guernsey Trust in Keystone Bank on the instruction of Giwa-Osagie.

“The third transfer was made on February  14, 2019 in the sum of $3m similarly from Guernsey Trust Company Ltd. account in GTB.”

Further investigations into  Guernsey Trust’s transactions showed that the company received two tranches of €13.050m on January 9 and €13m on January 28, 2019, totalling €26.050m from Intels West Africa Limited into its Keystone Bank’s euro account number 1002523061.

The euros were converted to dollars and transferred in tranches of $14,362,500, $14,977,194.13 and $1m to Guernsey Trust’s dollar account number 1003057653 with Keystone Bank between January 11 and February 12, 2019.

Investigations also revealed that various transfers in millions of dollars and cash payments were subsequently made to various individuals and companies.

The suspects were also said to have told investigators that Guernsey Trust paid $750,000 to Bluebeam Capital Ltd. on January 18. The money was subsequently transferred to BLK Prestige Investment account in UBA, Zambia, while the naira equivalent was paid into the account of Andrew Pitchford Ltd by Spring Creek Ltd. on behalf of Bluebeam Capital Ltd. Babalele was said to be the signatory to Pitchford’s bank account.

On January 18, Root Capital Ltd, another shell companu, received $1m into its Keystone Bank account from Guernsey Trust’s account in the same bank. The naira equivalent was paid into Andrew Pitchford account by Spring Creek on behalf of Root Capital Ltd.

On January 29, Guernsey Trust paid $2.065,934  into  Root Capital Limited’s Keystone Bank account,  and the naira equivalent in the sum of $856,569,200 was paid in tranches to Andrew Pitchford account by one Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, a brother to Atiku’s lawyer.

The EFCC report further listed the various companies which received various amounts of money from Erhunse on the instructions of his brother.

“The sum of N100m was transferred to INK Business Design; the sum of N520m was transferred to Afritech Utilities Ltd.; N100m was transferred to Drum Roll Nig. Ltd.; N5m to Town Talk Ltd.; N200m to Re-Ignite Ltd.; N500m to Adama Beverages Ltd.; N289.8m was transferred to the personal accounts of Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie while Erhunse used N724m to purchase $2m and handed over same to someone in cash whose name has yet to be revealed,” the report stated.

Giwa-Osagie and Babalele have been released from custody,but the investigation continues, according to the EFCC.

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