[ARCHIVE] How Obasanjo Shared $74m Haliburton Bribe, Pocketed $5m With PDP- Mike Okiro (Sahara R.)

The Nigerian Bulletin Just published this report from the archives of Sahara Reporters.  

The report is quite revealing. Read the story and the full text of the report below.

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President Olusegun Obasanjo, who led Nigeria from 1999-2000, during which time he swore to fight corruption  in the country, obtained considerable helpings of the infamous Haliburton bribe money, the Special Investigation Panel headed by Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, has declared in an interim report.

President Olusegun Obasanjo, who led Nigeria from 1999-2000, during which time he swore to fight corruption  in the country, obtained considerable helpings of the infamous Haliburton bribe money, the Special Investigation Panel headed by Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, has declared in an interim report.  According to the document, which was submitted to *President Umaru Yar’Adua in May last year by Mr. Okiro, Obasanjo shared the sum of $74 million USD between 2000 and 2001 with his Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, as well as Funsho Kupolokun and Gaius Obaseki, who were successive heads of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation during the government’s early years.

During that same time span, said the interim report, Obasanjo and the ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party, also pocketed $5m from the Halliburton slush funds.

Other major beneficiaries included General Sani Abacha, who got $40 million in 1994-95; Ibrahim Aliyu, $11.7million in 2001-2002; former Minister, Dan Etete, $2.5 million in 1996-1998; Abdulkadir Abacha, $1.8 in 1998; and M. G. Bakari, $3.1 million

Among the more startling of the revelations in the interim report, the panel wrote as follows about some of the key Nigerians involved:

On  Chief Olusegun Obasanjo: “He was President of Nigeria from May 1999 – May 2007.  Reports suggest that Stanley met with Chief Obasanjo and then Group Managing Director of NNPC, Gaius Obaseki, in Abuja on 111th November 2001 to negotiate pay-offs in respect of Trains 4&5.  On 20th December 2001 Obaseki reportedly met with Chodan and Stanley in London over lunch in furtherance of discussions.  In March 2002, TSKJ won the Train 4 and 5 contacts for $3.6 billion USD allegations are the Gen. Obasanjo may have received a minimum of $4 million USD as pay-off.”

With reference to Obasanjo, the report noted: “Panelists are currently examining documents before the invitation of former President Obasanjo.”

On Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (Head of State, 1998-1999): “Sequel to Gen Abacha’s demise in June 1998, Stanley allegedly shifted focus to Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, and met with him in Abuja on 28th February 1999 to discuss Train 3 of the NLNG Project.  He is alleged to have at this meeting requested Gen Abubakar to designate a trusted ‘frontman’ to collect his bribe.  About 11th March, 1999 TSKJ won the Train 3 contract for $1.2 billion US Dollars.”

On Late Gen. Sani Abacha: “He was Head of State of Nigeria from November 1993 to June 1998.  Chief Executive of KBR Albert Jackson Stanley and top executives of TSKJ were said to have struck an agreement with Gen. Abacha in August 1994 on the terms of the contract award.  In subsequent meetings between Tesler and then Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, it was agreed that $40 million USD would be paid to Gen. Abacha while $20 million USD would be given to other players in the scandalous gas contract.”  On former Minister Daniel Etete: “He was Former Minister of Petroleum.  Etete allegedly negotiated the briberies paid for the Trains 1 & 2 contracts with TESLER, resulting in agreement to share $60 million USD to key Government officials.  Upon signing the NLNG Trains 1&2 contracts, Telster allegedly wired $63,000 into a Swiss account for Etete.  Around the same time, purportedly to cover up tracks, he was said to have opened negotiation for the purchase of 5% of Etete’s holding in the OPL 245 Malabu oil bloc.  For this deal, he wired $2.5 m USD to Etete through Tri-Star accounts in different names, viz: Dan Etete, Buzaki Etete and Omono Amategha.  That oil bloc license was revoked by the Obasanjo administration in 1999.”
With reference to the continuation of its investigations, the panel said it had employed the assistance of varied local and international bodies, besides member services, including the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and CITIBANK Plc. It was also, through the Ministry of Justice, requesting assistance from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom, the French Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Justice, Switzerland.

It is not clear why the interim report disappeared once it was submitted to Yar’Adua, who had set up the panel claiming he would combat corruption, or when the Okiro panel intends to submit its final report on what it described as “the bribe scam which has none-the-less demeaned the status of Nigeria among the comity of nations and the entire black race.”   Among others, it was asked to “establish the extent of involvement or culpability of any Nigerian in the bribery scandal and the sums of money allegedly paid out to any person in Nigeria by Halliburton as bribes in respect of the Bonny LNG Project.”

Curiously, the panel indicated it was yet to find the following people:

Umaru Maikaura Ali Shinkafi (former Director General, Nigeria Security Organization – NSO).  He is alleged to have received $195,000 USD from Tesler.     •    Funsho Kupolokun – former MD, NNPC     •    Gabriel Fari – He ran GK Commerce and Finance (Geneva) and was a beneficiary of Tri-Star Investments     •    Mark Donald Riser (Briton)     •    Michael Edward Riser (Briton)     •    AbdulKadir Abacha     •    Edith Edeghonghon (f)     •    Prince Nasir Ado Bayero     •    Ashiru Bisje Aliyu     •    Zertasha Malik (f)

It would be recalled that on April 13, 2010, Saharareporters broke the story about how Halliburton bribed 80 eminent Nigerians that include former such former Nigerian leaders as Ibrahim Bademasi Babangida, General Abdussalam Abubakar, General Sani Abacha and Chief Ernest Shonekan.   We noted in that report that as extensive as the list of names was, it was likely that more names would emerge, partly because the document on which it was based did not cover the three-year period between 24th March 1995 and 31st March 1998, for which no record was available.  Much of the Okiro Panel report is based on testimonies in judicial systems abroad.

In addition to Mr. Okiro, members of the panel include the Chairman of the EFCC, as well as representatives of the State Security Service and the National Intelligence Agency.

 The full text of the report is as follows:

Panel Members:

Inspector-General of Police – Chairman

The Chairman, EFCC – Member

Rep. of the NSA – “

Rep. of the DG, SSS – “

Rep. of the DG, NIA – “

TERMS OF REFERENCE

  1. The Panel was imbued with the following terms of reference:

            (a) To examine the circumstances surrounding the Halliburton bribery scandal in the Bonny liquefied Natural Gas Project;

(b) To liaise with appropriate agencies within and outside Nigeria to ensure disclosure of the names of Nigerians involved/implicated in the bribery scandal;

(c) To establish the extent of involvement or culpability of any Nigerian in the bribery scandal and the sums of money allegedly paid out to any person in Nigeria by Halliburton as bribes in respect of the Bonny LNG Project; and

(d) To liaise with the Swiss authorities with a view to tracing and recovering any sum stashed in Swiss banks for the benefit of those involved in the Bonny Liquefied Natural Gas Project bribery scandal.

PROCEDURE

  1. The Panel adopted the following procedure towards achievement of its task:
  • Review of documents, including Court proceedings in the USA and other documents retrieved from key suspects and banks
  • Interrogation of identified suspects
  • Searches of offices and homes of the suspects
  • Interview of persons of interest, who may have, at some point, been involved in the saga.

SYNOPSIS OF THE BRIBE SCANDAL

  1. In efforts to harness Nigeria’s gas resources for local consumption and export, the Federal Government, between 1995 and 2004, awarded about $6 billion US Dollars in contract to a consortium of four companies – Technip of France, Snamprogetti, a subsidiary of ENU S.PA. of Italy, Kellogg of the USA, later known as KBR and Japan Gasoline Corp, for the construction of Trains 1-6 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Project in Bonny, Rivers State. The consortium was registered as TSKJ.
  1. In the course of investigation into Elf’s activities in France in 2003, Georges RAMER, former Director of Technip, made depositions to the effect that TSKJ had secured the relevant contracts through bribery of key Government officials and Politicians in Nigeria. Subsequent to this, investigation commenced in the United States of America, culminating in an 11th February, 2009 indictment of Halliburton – then parent company to KBR, for violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the consortium and Halliburton be excluded from all future contracts in the country.
  1. Subsequent to the House Investigation Committee’s findings, the EFCC commenced investigation into the TSKJ bribe scandal. The effort gained impetus in 2006 sequel to a request from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate related allegations. Investigations by the EFCC remained inconclusive as at the time of the institution of the Presidential Panel of Investigation into the matter.

CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE HALLIBURTON BRIBERY SCANDAL

  1. In 1994, the LNG Board, under the Chairmanship of Alhaji M.D. YUSUF, former Inspector-General of Police, opened bids for the award of contracts to build Trains 1 & 2 of the NLNG project. The TSKJ consortium and another company, BCSA, submitted bids for the project.  TSKJ subsequently won the contract for $1.8bn USD in September 1994 – its quotation having been about $100 million USD lower than that of BCSA.  Work subsequently commenced on the project and TSKJ consortium went on to win contracts for the construction of subsequent trains, up to train 6 in 2004, amounting in total to about $6 billion United States Dollars.
  1. In June 2003, in the course of investigation into slush funds managed by French petro giant, Elf, it emerged in depositions made by key suspect in that case, Georges KRAMMER, former Director of Technip – a member of the TSKJ Consortium – that TSKJ has secured the contracts for the Nigeria LNG Project through bribery of key Government officials and persons of influence in Nigeria.A formal investigation into the Nigerian deal was this opened in France in October 2003.  KRAMMER had deposed at the hearings that Jeffrey TESLER, a British lawyer, had been imposed as an intermediary with the Nigerian Government by Halliburton over the objections of Technip; and that the alleged bribery funds had been channeled by Tri-Star Investment Ltd. (owned by TESLER) as “Commercial Support Services.”
  1. Under oath before the trial judge, Ranaud Van RUYMBEKE, TESLER deposed that he had made payments to various Nigerian officials, including two transfers amounting to $75,000 US Dollars to M.D. YUSUF, then Chairman of LNG that awarded the original contract to the consortium. His testimony revealed that the payments to Alhaji YUSUF were to secure that the payments to Alhaji YUSUF were to secure the latter’s assistance in arranging meetings between TSKJ officials and the late General Sani ABACHA.  He also admitted to having made related payments to the then KBR President, Albert Jackson STANLEY, who sent same to a numbered bank account in Zurich baptized “Amal”; and testified that another payment had been made to a top KBR Executive, William CHODAN, which the latter had routed to an anonymous bank account in the island ‘fiscal paradise’ of Jersey.
  1. In June 2004, Halliburton spokeswoman, Wendy HALL, disclosed that an internal investigation had found evidence that the consortium had considered bringing Nigerian officials. Meanwhile, official investigations commenced in the United States of America.
  1. In court proceedings in Houston, USA-based former Halliburton subsidiary, KBR pleaded guilty to charges of participating in a scheme spanning 1995-2004 to bribe Nigerian Government Officials toward obtaining EPC contracts to build the Bonny Island LNG Project. KBR pleaded guilty to conspiring with its Joint Venture Partners and other to pay bribes, amounting to about $180 million United States Dollars to a range of Nigerian Government Officials, as well as, a political party in Nigeria to obtain the EPC contracts.  KBR also admitted to paying “consulting fees” to two (2) agents, referred to as “Cultural Advisors”, to bribe the Nigerian entities.  The “Advisors” were said to have used banks in The Netherlands, New York, Switzerland and Monaco to transmit the slush funds.
  1. KBR further stated that its former Chief Executive Officer, Albert Jack” STANLEY, had met with three former holders of a top=level office in the executive branch of the Nigerian Government at different times to ask the office holders to designate representatives with whom the Joint Venture could deal on matters relating to the bribes to be paid to the said Government officials.
  1. SUMMARY OF ALLEGED PAYMENTS

S/N

Year of Payment

Alleged Amount

Suspected Beneficiary

1

1994-1995

$40 million USD

Late Gen. Sani Abacha

2

1996-1998

$2.5 million USD

Chief Dan Etete

3

1996-1998

$75,000 USD

M.D. Yusuf

4

March/June 1998

$1,120,000 USD

    •       Grety Overseas UK

            •           Riser Brothers

5

1998

$1,887,000 USD

Abdulkadir Abacha

6

1999-2000

$37.5 million USD

    •       Gen. Abdulsalam

            •           Chief Don Etiebet

7

March 1999

$600,000 USD

    •       Prince N.A. Bayero

            •           Glosmer Int. (Risers Brothers)

8

March 1999

$290,000 USD

Edith Edeghoughon

9

March 1999

$600,000 USD

    •      Zertasha Malik

  •           Grety Overseas (Risers Brothers)

10

1999-2000

$195,000 USD

    •       Messrs Shinkafi and Aliyu

  •           Glosmer Int. (Risers Brothers)

11

2001-2002

$74 million USD

    •       Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

            •           Atiku Abubakar

            •           Gaius Obaseki

            •           Funsho Kupolokun

8

2001-2002

$5 million USD

1. Chief Obasanjo

2. PDP

9

2001-2002

$11,700,000 USD

    •      Ibrahim Aliyu

            •           Urban Shelter

            •           Intercellular

10

2001-2002

$3,108,675 USD

1.  M.G. Bakari

Total

ENTITIES INVOLVED IN THE BRIBE SCANDAL

  1. Review of the court proceedings in the USA and local investigation, including interrogation involved in the bribe scandal to include the following:
  • TSKJ – The Joint Venture, which won the contract for the LNG Projects, was formed in 1991.  It comprises M.W. Kellogg, and American company; Technip, a French company; Snamprogetti, an Italian company, and Gasoline Corp of Japan.
  • M.W. Kellogg (MWKL later known as KBR)

M.W. Kellogg (MWKL) was formerly owned by Dresser Industries Inc., which acquired it in 1988.  It was 55% owned by M.W. Kellogg and 45% owned by Gasoline Corp of Japan.  In September 1998, Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries Inc.  Kellogg thereafter merged with Halliburton’s subsidiary, Brown and Root Inc, to form Kellogg, Brown & Root, LLC (KBR).  In April 2007, KBR became an independent company.

  • Technip

Technip is a French firm involved in engineering, technologies and project management for the oil and gas worldwide.  It is headquartered in Paris, France. It operates in Nigeria as Technip Offshore Nigeria Limited; Neptune Maritime Nigeria Ltd; and Crestech.

  • Snamprogetti

Snamprogetti operates on the international market as a main contractor for the design and implementation of large-sized projects in the fields of refinery and gas plants.  It is a wholly owned subsidiary of ENI, with headquarters in Milan, Italy. It operates in Nigeria as Snamprogetti Africa (Nigeria) Limited, and Snamprogetti spa- Nigeria.

  • Gasoline Corp of Japan

Gasoline Corp of Japan was founded on 25th October 1928 as an engineering company.  It is involved in consulting, investment in oil and gas field development, and technology development services.  It is now known as JGC Corporation.

  • Tri-Star Investment Limited

Jeffrey TESLER in Gibraltar formed it in 1989.  In 2005, the company was reformed and its name changed to Tri-Star Company Group, with the European headquarters in Switzerland and the American Headquarters in Washington DC. Approximately $130 million United States dollars allegedly used in bribing Nigerian officials between December 1995 and January 2004 was said to have been routed through Tri-Star.  Tri-Star allegedly owned accounts at UPB Geneva and HSBC Monaco, among others, which were used to transfer money for the payment of bribes.

  • Marubeni Corporation

It is a global trading company with headquarters in Japan.  It was allegedly paid over $50 million USD with which to bribe low-level Nigerian government officials.

  • Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

This is a Nigerian government-owed company established in April 1977 to develop Nigeria’s oil and gas wealth and regulation of the industry.  Key officials of this Corporation, including two of its Group Managing Directors, Gaius OBASEKI and Funsho KUPOLOKUN, were alleged to have received pay-offs in the NLNG contracts awards to TSKJ.

  • Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG)

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) was also established in to harness Nigeria’s natural gas resources and produce Liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas liquids (NGLs) for export.  It became a limited liability company on 17th May 1989 and is jointly owned by NNPC (49%), Shell (25.6%), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15%), and Eni of Italy (10.4%).  The NLNG board awarded the contracts in question and key officials of the board, including, the Chairman were said to have received pay-offs.

  • LNG Servicos – incorporated in Meira, Portugal by TSKJ, allegedly made illegal payments to Tri-Star in Gibraltar and other entities linked to the LNG Project.
  • Shell Corporation, Madeira, Portugal, set up by Jeffrey TESLER for channeling money for the bribes.
  • Intels Energy Ltd. – It is headquartered in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.  The company is alleged to have served as conduit for pay-offs made by Marubeni to March 2009 and released on bail, but yet to be charged.

******[PAGE 16 IS MISSING]****

The US has requested his extradition to face charges in the Halliburton / KBR indictment.

FINDINGS

Investigation into TESLER’s culpability in the NLNG bribery scandal have centered on review of depositions made in investigation trials in France; indictments made by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and linkages to Nigerians mentioned in the scandal.  Additional documentary support is being sought through Government establishments and banks in various countries, including the USA, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK).

(ii) Albert “Jackson” Stanley, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KBR.  He is believed to have spearheaded the bribe scheme on the premise that the EPC contracts in question were contingent o=upon payment of bribes.  He was convicted and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment in the US on 11th February 2009 for violating the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Halliburton had earlier sacked him for inappropriately enriching himself to the tune of $11 million US Dollars in the course of the NLNG contract.

FINDINGS

The Panel relied on Stanley’s deposition before the United States District Court in Houston and documents provided by the US SEC in investigation of subject’s culpability.  Other documentary evidence, including bank statements reflecting lodgments and transfers are yet to be examined by the panel.

(iii) Wojciech Chodan, 71, a former executive at WM Kellogg and later a consultant for KERR.  He is alleged to have served as an agent to the TSKJ for the payment of the bribes.  He is reported to have kept detailed diaries of the bribery transaction.  MW Kellogg LLC employed him as Sales Vice-President from 1988 until December 1998, after which he became a Consultant to MWKL until June 16th, 2004.  Both as sales Vice-President and as Consultant, Chodan reported to Stanley and other KBR employees.  He was arrested and later released on March 5, 2009 by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom.  He faces extradition to the United State of American on the Halliburton bribe scandal and related investigations.

FINDINGS

Findings of the 2003 investigation in France, which brought to the fore the subject of the bribery scandal, as well as, US Court indictments on subject have served as the Panel’s working premise.  Additional documentary evidence is being sought through Government establishments and banks in relevant countries.

(iv) Late Gen. Sani Abacha: He was Head of State of Nigeria from November 1993 to June 1998.  Chief Executive of KBR Albert Jackson Stanley and top executives of TSKJ were said to have struck an agreement with Gen. Abacha in August 1994 on the terms of the contract award.  In subsequent meetings between Tesler and then Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, it was agreed that $40 million USD would be paid to Gen. Abacha while $20 million USD would be given to other players in the scandalous gas contract.

FINDINGS

There are on-going efforts to gather documentary evidence, which may support or negate allegations.

(v) Chief Daniel Etete: He was Former Minister of Petroleum.  Etete allegedly negotiated the briberies paid for the Trains 1 & 2 contracts with TESLER, resulting in agreement to share $60 million USD to key Government officials. Upon signing the NLNG Trains 1&2 contracts, Tesler allegedly wired $63,000 into a Swiss account for Etete.  Around the same time, purportedly to cover up tracks, he was said to have opened negotiation for the purchase of 5% of Etete’s holding in the OPL 245 Malabu oil bloc.  For this deal, he wired $2.5 m USD to Etete through Tri-Star accounts in different names, viz: Dan Etete, Buzaki Etete and Omono Amategha.  That oil bloc license was revoked by the Obasanjo administration in 1999.

FINDINGS

Dan Etete has been summoned to appear before the Panel in furtherance of the investigation.

(vi) Alhaji MD Yusuf: Former Inspector-General of Police – at the time of the bid for Trains 1&2, he was Chairman of the NLNG.  He allegedly received payment of $75,000 USD in two installments from Tesler for facilitating meetings on the contract bid with late Gen Sani Abacha.

FINDINGS

Interrogation of MD Yusuf confirmed receipt of the said amount.  Subject, however, credited the sum to monies he has borrowed from Tesler on two occasions in 1997 and 1998 to defray medical bills.  He attested that he had known Tesler since 1979 and remains in contact with him.  There are no indications that efforts had been made to redeem the loan.

(vii) Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (Head of State, 1998-1999)

Sequel to Gen Abacha’s demise in June 1998, Stanley allegedly shifted focus to Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, and met with him in Abuja on 28th February 1999 to discuss Train 3 of the NLNG Project.  He is alleged to have at this meeting requested Gen Abubakar to designate a trusted ‘frontman’ to collect his bribe. About 11th March, 1999 TSKJ won the Train 3 contract for $1.2 billion US Dollars.

FINDINGS

Preliminary investigations have linked Gen. Abdulsalam, Abubakar to Sherwood Petroleum, supposedly owned by MG Bakari.  Sherwood Petroleum was allocated an oil bloc (256) on 13th May 1999 and Tesler had advanced $7 million USD as loan to that company.  The deal is believed to have been a cover-up for transmission of pay-offs on the Train 3 contract.

(vii) [Sic] Chief Olusegun Obasanjo: He was President of Nigeria from May 1999 – May 2007.  Reports suggest that Stanley met with Chief Obasanjo and then Group Managing Director of NNPC, Gaius Obaseki, in Abuja on 111th November 2001 to negotiate pay-offs in respect of Trains 4&5.  On 20th December 2001 Obaseki reportedly met with Chodan and Stanley in London over lunch in furtherance of discussions.  In March 2002, TSKJ won the Train 4 and 5 contacts for $3.6 billion USD allegations are the Gen Obasanjo may have received a minimum of $4 million USD as pay-off.

FINDINGS

Panelists are currently examining documents before the invitation of former President Obasanjo.

(ix) Gaius Obaseki (Former Group Managing Director, NNPC).  According to Tesler’s indictment papers, Obaseki’s meeting with him in London in 2001 served to negotiate pay-offs to politicians purportedly of the PDP, with a view to aiding the electioneering campaign of 2003.  In August 2002, Telser is reported to have wired $5 million USD into the Citibank Nigeria account of Intels Energy Limited, Port-Harcourt, destined for the “political party” and a top Government official. Reports suggests [sic] that $1 million in $100 bills was deposited “to the NNPC official” at the Nicon Hilton Hotel in a “Pilot’s briefcase” for onward delivery to the PDP for the 2003 general elections.  The balance was delivered in the same manner and in bullion vans in Naira.

FINDINGS

Obaseki has been summoned to appear before the Panel of Investigation.  In the meantime, documentary leads are being explored to determine the veracity or otherwise of the allegations.

(x) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar: (Vice President 1999-2007).  Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is alleged to have received pay-offs in the enterprise.

FINDINGS

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is a major shareholder in Intels Energy Ltd, which is believed to have managed slush funds on behalf of Marubeni.  Investigations are underway into this allegation.  Varied bank transactions are being reviewed in relation to this.

(xi) AVM Abdullahi Dominic Bello (rtd): Chief of Air Staff from 1979-1983). Bellow incorporated Tri-Star investment Ltd in 1989 with the assistance of Jeffrey Tesler (whom he claims to be his lawyer and to have known since 1985); and is believed to have played a pivotal role in the disbursement of the bribe money.  He was arrested in Lagos on 27th April 2009, and later released on bail after intense interrogation for over two weeks in custody.

FINDINGS

In the course of searches at Bello’s home and office in Lagos, several incriminating files and documents were retrieved, linking him to Tri-Star, the company that was incorporated in Gibraltar and used as conduit for the slush funds.

He ascribed his incorporation of Tri-Star Investment Ltd as a “Nominee Company” to the need to manage funds and proceeds for some of his companies, which required international input.  He claimed that once those particular companies, which include, Wing Mobil – for the recruitment of pilots; Century Oil and Gas and Belsam (for Shrimp export) ceased being functional, he had asked Tesler to decommission Tri-Star Investment Ltd between 2001 and 2002. There was no documentary evidence to support this.

While AVM Bello denied knowledge of Tesler’s activities with the NLNG and was at pains to explain the coincidence between his ownership of Tri-Star Investment Ltd. registered in Gibraltar and Telser’s Tri-Star similarly registered in Gibraltar in the same year, search of his documents unearthed written directives to Tesler to make payments to some people.  Subject sought to situate the payments in defrayment of leans he may have been obtained from Tesler, some of which he claimed to be yet outstanding.

Available information also suggests that Tesler, using Tri-Star Investment Ltd, has secured a $5 million USD Consultancy contract with Sabena Airlines in 1989, when AVM Bello was Chairman of the Presidential Task Force negotiating Nigeria Airways’ debts, including Sabena Airlines.  AVM Bello claimed not to have been part of contract negotiations as Chairman of the Task Force.

Documents found in searches of his office also reflect huge monetary transfers into 3 (three) different accounts, for 6 million pounds sterling and 8 million pounds sterling, respectively.  He claimed that this was in anticipation of a sinking loan, which never materialized and that he had been defrauded in that endeavor by a certain Henry Boadi Nyaba Moses, who was ultimately arrested and prosecuted by the EFCC (this information is being investigated).  Available documents also suggest that he may have considerable amounts of money stashed in a Swiss vault, amounting to 20 million pounds, 62 million naira and $10 million in USD Tri-Star was established to have maintained other accounts with Bank of credit and Commerce Int. in London and Banque Contrade Ormond in Geneva, amongst others.

  • Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu: Chairman, Intercellular Nig, Plc, and CEO Urban Shelter.  Alhaji Ibrahim ALIYU is said to have received a cumulative sum of $11.7 million USD in the NLNG deal.  He was the Presidential Adviser on the Transitional Programme from 1998-1999.  He has nominee companies abroad including: Urban Shelter, Intercellular, and Free Zone Enterprise, (FZE) based in Dubai.

FINDINGS

Preliminary investigation point to Ibrahim Aliyu as the beneficiary of the $2.5 million USD allegedly paid to Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar’s supposed “frontman”. Subject attested to having occasionally sat at meetings where the NLNG project was discussed during his tenure as Presidential Adviser on the Transition Programme.  He acknowledged a close relationship with Jeffrey Tesler, which has spanned over 13 years.

He acknowledged having received a cumulative sum of $7.5 million from Jeffrey Tesler, which he credited to business transaction as follows:

  • Sale of about one-third of his intercellular shares to Tri-Star in two installments for a cumulative sum of about $5.2 million USD -$2.2m and $3 million USD.
  • Sale of landed property (office complex) in Abuja for $2.5 million USD.

He further claimed to have received $4 million USD in “undocumented” forex transactions and repayment of loans from MG Bakari of Sherwood Petroleum. He claims that about $5 million USD of the total funds received is frozen at the Banque Baring Brothers in Switzerland.

*Aliyu has, thus far, not convincingly corroborated his claims.  The supposed office complex for which Tesler has already paid in full is year to be constructed.

Aliyu was instrumental to the award of the OPL 256 oil bloc allocation to Sherwood Petroleum, which Aliyu claimed not to have holdings in.

Searches of Aliyu’s homes and offices however unearthed a file on Sherwood containing details of varied transaction on that company.

  • Alhaji Muhammad Gidado Bakari: Chairman, Sherwoof Petroleum Ltd.  He is a businessman and contractor.  He owned Emromex, Sherwood Petroleum, Sherwood Oil and Gas and currently Hamdal Ventures. He was introduced to Jeffrey Tesler by Ibrahim Aliyu n about March/April 1999 purportedly to secure a $ million USD loan from Tesler for the exploitation of oil bloc 256, which was allocated to Sherwood Petroleum in May 1999 – with the assistance of Ibrahim Aliyu.  The Obasanjo Administration later revoked the allocation.

FINDINGS

Preliminary investigation confirmed that Muhammadu Gidado Bakari received $7 million USD from Jeffrey Tesler in 1999.  Bakari stated that the sum was a loan advanced by Tesler for exploitation of the OPL 256 oil bloc allocated to Sherwood Petroleum, run by Bakari.  He averred that Ibrahim Aliyu had been instrumental to the allocation of the oil bloc in question and subsequent recruitment of expatriate staff for Sherwood.

Bakari could not convincingly explain the deployment of the $7 million USD in question.  He claimed to have exchanged $4 million of the sum for Naira from Ibrahim Aliyu, but could not explain the deployment of the balance of $3 million. Related files and available bank statements are being reviewed with a view to unraveling the knot.

Interrogation of Bakari by the Panel and review of available documents lend the impression that he may have been used as a ‘front’ for Ibrahim Aliyu in the whole enterprise, while Aliyu was himself ‘fronting’ for someone else.  While Bakari may have received some pay-off from Aliyu, the $7 million USD transferred by Tesler into the Sherwood account was not directly utilized by Bakari in a personal capacity or for activities related to Sherwood Petroleum.  Investigations are still on going.

(xiv) Other persons of interest, who are yet to be located include the following:

  • Umaru Maikaura Ali Shinkafi (former Director General, Nigeria Security Organization – NSO).  He is alleged to have received $195,000 USD from Tesler.
  • Funsho Kupolokun – former MD, NNPC
  • Gabriel Fari – He ran GK Commerce and Finance (Geneva) and was a beneficiary of Tri-Star Investments
  • Mark Donald Riser (Briton)
  • Michael Edward Riser (Briton)
  • AbdulKadir Abacha
  • Edith Edeghonghon (f)
  • Prince Nasir Ado Bayero
  • Ashiru Bisje Aliyu
  • Zertasha Malik (f)
  1. LIAISON WITH APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES WITHIN AND OUTSIDE NIGERIA PURSUANT TO THE INVESTIGATION

The Panel has employed the assistance of varied local and international bodies, besides member services, in pursuit of its assignment.  These include the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), CITIBANK Plc…

Through the Ministry of Justice, request for assistance has also been made to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom, the French Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Justice, Switzerland.  Through these various establishments, the Panel expects to receive documentary support to promote its assigned duties.

  1. DETERMINATION OF CULPABILITY

Sub-item A (iv) of this report is relevant.  The Panel’s deductions from the various depositions made by key suspects and the review of available documents may be summarized as follows:

  • Abdullahi Dominic Bello (AVM Rtd.) is deeply involved in the entire saga.  Review of documents founds in his possession inextricably link him to Jeffrey Tesler’s Tri-Star
  • Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu, Chairman, Urban Shelter, may have ‘fronted’ for former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar, in causing the incorporation of Sherwood Petroleum as a ‘legitimate’ means of receiving some slush funds from Telser
  • Ibrahim Aliyu also received part of the money for himself through the purported sale of shares and landed property to Jeffrey Tesler
  • Sherwood Petroleum was only incorporated subsequent upon allocation of the oil bloc 256
  • There were fund transfers from the foreign account of Sherwood Petroleum to a company named Maizube
  1. LIAISING WITH SWISS AUTHORITIES TO TRACE AND RECOVER RELATED FUNDS STASHED IN SWISS BANKS

A Letter of Rogatory has been forwarded to Swiss authorities, requesting assistance, including unfettered access to members of the Panel.  Similar letters are to be forwarded to France, the United Kingdom and Liechtenstein.  When preliminary investigations are concluded, the Panel will proceed to undertake recovery of the bribe monies.  It is important that Nigeria maintains a firm stance on the subject of recouping monies, which may be stashes abroad, in view of the US Government’s determination to find and recover $180 million USD with interest.

  1. CONCLUSION

The Panel’s work is proceeding steadily.  However, further investigations within and outside the country, with cooperation of officials of key countries implicated in this saga, is necessary to effectively determine the level of culpability of every party involved.

  1. Meanwhile, the Panel is also proceeding with the interrogation of other indicted suspects and currently examining additional bank statements and documents with a view to unraveling the bribe scam, which has none-the-less demeaned the status of Nigeria among the comity of nations and the entire black race.
  1. Detailed and full report of the Panel will be submitted to His Excellency in due course, Sir.

Sir (Dr.) Mike Okiro BA (Hons), MPA, LLM, MPM, mni.

Inspector General of Police

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