Monday, May 31, 2010
Ibori London Trial 2: Ibori’s Wife Can’t Afford To Pay Her Lawyers As Trial Commences >> Sahara reporters
The emerging destitution of the former First Lady of Delta State is an irony of sorts as she lived a lavish, larger than life good time in the state while her husband robbed their people blind. She even had an athletics competition, “The Nkoyo Ibori Championships”, named after her. It is hosted at the Oghara Township Stadium annually. Interestingly, the ongoing London case has exposed how Ibori’s cousin, the current Governor of Delta state, Emmanuel Uduaghan and the former commissioner of sports, Solomon Ogba, in the state, connived in the looting of the treasury by awarding bogus sports contracts to his female associates. The name of Mr. Ogba, who is currently the chairman of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, which organizes the Nkoyo Ibori Championships, featured prominently in the case. Mr. Ogba was found to have opened accounts with HSBC bank in London; he used Christine Ibori-Ibie’s address at the bank as his home address. This was all part of a running track sports contract which Ogba signed off and ultimately, he got his share of the money deposited in his London accounts. Asked in court how she could have lived in London and executed government contracts in Nigeria, Christine had no answer.
Ibori is said to have abandoned his first wife and mother of five girls to her fate in London, even as he made money available to his mistress, Udoamaka Okronkwo, to prosecute her case in court. A family source told Saharareporters that it was an open secret that Ibori encouraged his wife to travel to London knowing that she was wanted, as a means of off-loading her. Their relationship had gone very bad as of the time of her arrest. In 2008, Ibori reportedly also tricked Udoamaka to travel to the US through France. In France, she was picked up on a European warrant, thereby clearing the way for Ibori to marry a younger lady, Senami Sosu. With Senami, he traveled everywhere until his recent arrest in Dubai. Prior to marrying Senami, Ibori had fathered his only son with the daughter of a former federal judge, Uju Ononiba, whom he met at the wedding of his pal, Joe Obue even in the presence of Udoamaka his mistress. It was not clear if Uju married Ibori, but family sources said she was well taken care of. He set her up in style in a mansion in a suburb of Washington DC.
Last week at the Southwark Crown Court where the three women associates await their fate in their money laundering case in the hands of a jury, the once arrogant and aggressive Udoamaka, who delighted in putting up elaborate shows on the court premises, had lost her mojo as well as a lot of weight. It was obvious the three-month trial had worn out the defendants. The jury is expected to resume deliberation on Tuesday, June 1, the day before the mention of the trail of Theresa Nkoyo is scheduled to be made. As per Ibori, the UK metropolitan police are working to file for his extradition within the 30-day window required by UAE/UK extradition treaty. The UK police insisted that they are not working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria regarding Ibori’s extradition, contrary to the persistent misrepresentation being created by the EFCC in the Nigerian media. Nigeria does not even have an extradition treaty with the UAE, making it even more bizarre that the EFCC continues to claim that they are working to extradite Ibori to Nigeria. A source told Saharareporters that EFCC’s activities around James Ibori in Dubai and Nigeria may well serve the purpose of strengthening Ibori’s claim of political persecution. UK sources in Abuja told Saharareporters that they consider the reported asylum claim by Ibori to be laughable since he faces no danger of political persecution the UK where his case is purely a criminal case. In addition, our sources said, in the UK he has a chance to prove his innocence or otherwise in an open court where his personal safety is not in jeopardy.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Allison-Madueke, whom President Jonathan chose as Petroleum Minister over two men with impeccable technical credentials, is in the middle of a bitter war with her former business associate, now foes, as she tries to rescue her family business.
Information gathered by Huhuonline.com reveals that Mrs Allison-Madueke has muzzled the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), forcing it to not comply with a court directive ordering DPR (a subsidiary of NNPC) to put a lien on all financial operations of the Eremor offshore field OML46 operated by Excel Exploration and Production Company Limited. Retired Rear Admiral Allison-Madueke, husband of Mrs Allison-Madueke, is the Chairman of Excel.
Sources revealed to Huhuonline.com that Mrs. Allison-Madueke removed all the decision makers in DPR, who supported the enforcement of the lien on her husband’s firm just days after she was sworn in as Petroleum Minister. Huhuonline.com learnt that her initiative was tagged by the slogan “new appointments for new loyalties”. The new Petroleum Minister however, avers that the restructuring is with a view to “greater efficiency in line with the aspiration of the President, Mr Goodluck Jonathan, for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.”
Huhuonline.com understands that Alphin Fleury & Partner, an independent privately owned company incorporated in Zug, Switzerland in February 2000, was hired by the London office of the NNPC to organize financing for several Nigerian companies operating marginal oil fields. In theory, the extraction of oil or gas from marginal fields is reserved for Nigerian companies but largely financed by foreign companies.
Huhuonline.com investigation reveals that Alphin Fleury & Partners secured a twenty million dollar facility for Excel Exploration and Production Company Limited for Eremor field in OML46, plus the payment of two million dollars access bonus to the three shareholders of Excel, from the British finance firm Afren; with the understanding that they will be paid two hundred thousand dollars (1% finders fee by shareholders). But after Excel shareholders received the funds, they refused to honour the agreement.
Consequently, Rear Admiral Allison-Madueke’s and two other shareholder of Excel Exploration and Production Company Limited were cited by Alphin Fleury & Partners for failing to pay its fees and obtained a court ruling in its favour. In calling for a lien on financial transfers involving Eremor, Alphin Fleury & Partners hopes to recover its money.
The development of Eremor, which contains 30 million barrels of oil, has been funded since 2007 by Britain’s Afren Oil Company. Eremor was discovered by Royal Dutch/Shell, to which Excel has close links. It should be recalled that Mrs Alison–Madueke was previously in charge of external relations for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Mrs Allison-Madueke has remained elusive on the matter and contact with her has been unsuccessful. However, when Huhuonline.com contacted Alphin Fleury & Partners, Mr. Pierre Fleury said:
“This is an unfortunate situation which is causing concern to those interested to invest in Nigeria and a challenge to those that pretend that you can obtain justice in Nigeria like anywhere else. In 2003 and 2004 when Excel obtained the farm-out for Eremor Field in OML46 they looked for financing. First, they found Mart Resources. This relationship did not last for all kind[s] of reasons. One of them being that the CEO of Excel, Mr. Awosika is a very difficult man to handle".
"Excel contacted us then in 2006 and after a good year of work we obtained for Excel (July 2007) that (sic) Afren Plc develops and finances Eremor Field. We were supposed to be paid a finder fee as per contract signed with Excel. We were confident that this would be paid without problem since we had obtained for Excel the payment of an access bonus of USD 2M".
"Unfortunately Excel started arguing that some interpretation of our contract could allow them to walk away from their commitment. After lengthy discussions they informed us that if we are not satisfied by this situation we should go to court".
"We decided to hire the law firm of Charles Musa. After weeks and months of litigation we finally obtained from Excel in front of the Lagos Multi Door Court House (LMDC) on September 15th, 2008, a compromise signed in front of the judge (Mrs. Yinka Aroyewun) and signed by Excel".
"In that compromise we had to abandon USD 50,000 in our fee and the balance would then be paid in 5 instalments between October 15th, 2008 and May 15th, 2009".
"Could we be more accommodating…?"
"Excel made payment of the first 2 instalments and decided to stop paying [in] early 2009 since he [they] started to have problems with Afren and actually it seems that Afren was considering moving away, not so much from Excel and Eremor but much more away from Mr. Awosika. Anyway, the agreement in Court was valid until there would be any kind of termination between Afren and Excel".
"Such termination has not happened prior to May 15th 2009"...
"Face[ed] by this refusal to pay we decided to enforce the judgment. But LMDC, being a new Court system, there (sic) was no enforcement procedure in place. Our only alternative was to go to the High Court [to] have the LMDC judgment be validated by the High Court and then enforce against Excel"!
"The High Court confirmed on 29th of June 2009 the LMDC decision. Since then we are trying to enforce this judgment. Excel is today looking for new financing notably with Capital Alliance in Nigeria and [to] try to avoid any publicity in order to preserve its chances to find new funders".
"We finally decided to put a lien on the farm-out title early this year. [The] process was long and for some reasons the DPR is asking us to explain our case and then is asking Excel to provide explanations. It is as if the DPR wanted to judge this matter again"...
"I need to stress that since the new elections have brought new ministers the DPR does not communicate with us anymore. [It] remains clear that the lien is in place whether or not Excel and the DPR agrees or disagrees".
"As you can see we are far away from a bogus case. Excel has signed [an] agreement in front the judge at LMDC. The high Court has confirmed the judgment. Sooner or later Excel will pay us and we shall not give them any chances to walk away from their signature".
"Please be informed that the Swiss Embassy in Abuja is following up this case as a good example of how the legal system works in Nigeria and how well the interests of foreigners are protected in this country”.
However, the call on Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources to put a lien on all financial operations concerning the Eremor field operated by Excel Exploration & Production in regard to OML46 by the Swiss firm Alphin Fleury & Partner, has continued to raise pertinent questions and concerns within the international investment sector, as to the effectiveness of rule of law in Nigeria.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Jonathan orders audit of NNPC accounts……Appoints new GMD
Huhuonline.com checks reveals that Alhaji Ladan enjoys politics, and prefer being deputy governor. It is alleged that Ladan might be positioned to be the next governor of KadunaState, given the agitation against a christain governor in Kaduna State.
Huhuonline.com has learnt that President Jonathan has directed a comprehensive audit of NNPC accounts. The Finance minister is to engage the services of a world
class auditing firm to carry out the audit.
In a related development, President Jonathan appointed Chief Mike Oghiadomhe as the newChief of Staff to the President, while Mallam Hassan Tukur takes over as Principal Secretary to the President. Mr. Ima Niboro is now Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the
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