Bagudu, Ekweremadu, others linked to 800 properties in Dubai

March 21, 2020
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Governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu and former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu are among serving political office holders named to be part of 334 prominent Nigerians who are linked to 800 properties scattered around the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This was revealed by a new report on illicit financial flows which put the value of the properties at N164 billion.

The report published by an American-based non-governmental organisation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is a product of an investigative research conducted by one of its nonresident scholars, Matthew Page.

The report, which is titled; “Dubai Properties” An Oasis for Nigeria’s Corrupt Political Elites”, according to its author is based largely on private data compiled by UAE-based real estate and property professionals.

According to the report, the prominent public figures otherwise described as politically-exposed persons (PEP), who were found to own these properties, cut across Nigeria’s major ethnic, religious and political divides.

The report noted that about 20 former and serving governors, seven former and serving senators, current and former heads of ministries, departments and agencies of government, commissioners and those described as ‘money changers,’ that is, bureau de change operators, own a significant number of the properties.

Some of the other identified individuals linked to the properties include the former PDP chairman, Ahmadu Ali; former Kwara State governor, Mohammed Lawal; former petroleum minister, Dan Etete; another former deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu; former managing director of the acquired Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru.

Others are the former inspector general of police, Tafa Balogun; former chairman of military pension board, Bala Mshelia; former group managing director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ladan Shehu, and a former head of the petroleum product marketing company, Samuel Okeke, among others.

Bagudu is said to be linked to eight properties on the twelfth floor of Dubai’s capital bay towers development. The properties are said to worth more than $4.8 million in total.

Ike Ekweremadu, who is Nigeria’s longest serving parliamentarian and three-time deputy president of the senate, is said to be connected to eight Dubai properties, with an estimated total value of more than $7 million. “These include a luxury flat in Park Towers bought for $2.2 million and one in Burj Dubai purchased for $1.4 million.”

A former deputy senate president and an advocate of third term agenda for former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Ibrahim Mantu is linked to 12 of the 800 properties which he was said to have purchased for a total of over 10 million dollars through a front company, TSE Stevedoring Nigeria.

His wife and sons reportedly own 70 per cent of the company. “Through another company, A-Z Properties, Mantu also is linked to a $600,000 flat in the Jumeirah Beach Residences while his son, Musa, is also tied to a comparable flat in the same development.”

A former chairman of the PDP, Mr. Ali; his wife, Marian Ali, and his son, Mamman Ali are linked to 11 of the identified properties. Seven of the said properties are worth about $4 million while the other four are said to be worth an estimated $2 million.

Former MD of defunct Oceanic Bank, Cecilia Ibru, her family and associates are linked to dozens of properties in Dubai as recently as 2016, according to the report. They include eight apartments in the Park Towers development purchased for a total of $4.3 million; a flat in Dubai Marina now worth about $500,000, and four commercial properties.

Meanwhile, the report also identified possible use of fronts by prominent Nigerians including former Delta State governor, James Ibori.

According to the report, about four political associates of the former governor were found to have ties to properties in Dubai. “One is linked to four Dubai properties, purchased for a total of $3.8 million, according to Sandcastles data. Another is affiliated with a two-bedroom flat on the 21st floor of the DAMAC Residenze, which, according to the developer, “comes with all the trappings of an indulgent lifestyle,” as well as “uninterrupted panoramic views of the ocean.”

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