Court papers obtained from the United States of America have exposed how Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, received high-end properties in the United States and the United Kingdom in exchange for facilitating illicit business opportunities in Nigeria’s oil and gas sectors for two business partners, Messrs. Jide Omokore and Akanni Aluko.
The papers, obtained by SaharaReporters, are related to a civil forfeiture notice filed against the trio and two conspirators by the U.S. Department of Justice, with prosecutors showing that Messrs. Omokore and Aluko bought four residential properties in and around London worth £11.45 million for the use of Mrs. Alison-Madueke, her mother and other members of her family.
Some of the properties, the US court papers showed, were renovated at eye-watering costs, fitted with luxury items, including art works, to provide a lush lifestyle for Mrs. Alison-Madueke. The court processes, filed at the Houston Division of the US District Court, revealed that company named Miranda International Limited, owned by Mr. Omokore, purchased a property known as “The Falls” for £3,250,000. The property is located just outside London at 96 Camp Road, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire SL9 7PB.
After the purchase, said US prosecutors, Mr. Omokore’s sidekick, Mr. Aluko, engaged a construction company to carry out an upgrade of the property and maintain the plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, and audio-visual systems.
“Omokore and Aluko purchased and improved The Falls for the exclusive use of Alison-Madueke and her family. A mobile telephone recovered at the known residence of Alison-Madueke and her mother contained digital photographs of Alison-Madueke present inside The Falls,” said prosecutors. They added that during the period, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who was strictly addressed by service providers as “The Madam” in the home, was the only occupant of the property.
Around 8 October, prosecutors found that Mr. Aluko, using his American Express card, purchased two identical exercise machines at Harrods in London at the cost of £10,926 each. One of the machines was ordered to delivered to the known London address of the former Petroleum Minister, while the other was to be delivered to The Falls.
In March 2011, just four days before Aluko met with National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) unpaid bill,” the court papers further stated.
Prosecutors discovered that roughly one month after the assault, Tenka paid a total of £135,361.48 to the chauffeur company.
The former minister’s two cronies also bought her luxury furniture in Houston, Texas. Prosecutors said they were told by an employee of Houston Furniture Store that Mrs. Alison-Madueke visited his showroom on multiple occasions, during which she would identify specific items of interest to her, which the employee would photograph.
The court papers stated that the former minister’s purchases were always paid for by someone else. In particular, said prosecutors, the furniture store employee recalled that Mr. Omokore was the first person to visit the store and to pay for her selections.
The trip was in September 2010, when Mrs. Alison-Madueke was in Houston to deliver a keynote address at Rice University. While in the US, Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s cronies wired a total of $197,600 to Houston Furniture Store in two separate transactions on or about September 30, 2010, and October 1, 2010. The payments were said to be in settlement of approximately $200,000 worth of purchases signed for by Mr. Omokore. Also on October 7, 2010, Houston Furniture Store drew up two additional sales invoices in Mr. Omokore’s name amounting to $23,703.50. The following day, he emailed emailed photographs of the items listed on these additional sales invoices directly to the former Petroleum Minister. On October 9, 2010, Mrs. Alison-Madueke responded by email to him: “Thx. (Thanks) cabinet is the correct one.”
Four days later, Mr. Omokore authorized Houston Furniture Store to charge his Nevada company another $23,703.50 as payment for the additional furniture purchases made in his name and discussed, via
email, directly with Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
In October 2010, Mr. Aluko arranged with Houston Furniture Store to combine the recent purchases made by himself and Mr. Omokore from its two outlets and to ship the merchandise to Mr. Omokore in Lagos.
The court papers stated that at least one of the items purchased in Mr. Omokore’s name and paid for by him has been matched by vendor number, item number, and store-issued control number to furniture discovered in Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s Abuja residence. Purchases made by for her by her cronies included 1564774 Luigi XVI Sideboard at $10,829.00, 1373385 George III Console at $2,999.00 and 1479702 Jappaned Secretaire at $5,508.00.
Mr. Aluko was also found to have returned to the furniture store on May 4, 2011, and purchased another $53,890.08 worth of merchandise. In May 2012, Mr. Aluko wired $461,500 to Houston Furniture Store from a bank account ending in -090038 held in his name at LGT Bank (Schweiz) AG in Switzerland (the LGT -090038 Account).
Also on May 4, 2012, he purchased an additional $262,091.47 worth of furniture at Houston Furniture Store. On June 1, 2012, he wired $280,595.81 to the furniture store from his LGT -090038 Account as payment for the purchases. In or around March 2013, Houston Furniture Store arranged a shipment of furniture comprising a subset of items from Mr. Aluko’s May 2012 purchases at the two outlets of Houston Furniture Store. The shipment was sent from Houston to Lagos, Nigeria.
The consignee was listed by prosecutors as Mr. Chijioke Isiolu, a lawyer to Mr. Omokore. One of the furniture items purchased by Mr. Aluko on May 4, 2012, has been matched by vendor number, item number and store-issued control number and found in Mrs. Madueke’s Abuja home.
The Hollywood lifestyle bestowed on Mrs. Alison-Madueke by Messrs. Omokore and Aluko was payment for her role in bending Nigeria’s rules to benefit them. As Petroleum Minister, she was in charge of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and used her powers to award a series of Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) between the companies owned by the two cronies and and the NPDC.
Her cronies’ companies were found to have been neither qualified for the favors they got nor performed obligations stated in the agreements. Yet, they creamed off over $1.5billion in revenues from the sale of Nigeria’s crude oil, a sum they laundered into the US and United Kingdom. The cronies’ trick was to use a variety of shell companies and multi-layered financial transactions to mask the nature, location and ownership of the inappropriate wealth.
Messrs. Aluko and Omokore are the owners of Atlantic Energy Holdings Limited Atlantic Energy Brass Development and its subsidiaries, Atlantic Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass
Development Limited. He also has interests in Tenka Limited and wholly owns Earnshaw Associates Limited. Their Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts (AECD) and Atlantic Energy Energy Holdings Limited (AEH) were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Tenka Limited was incorporated in the UK, with Mr. Aluko and wife as directors. Before 2010, when Mrs. Alison-Madueke became minister, the NNPC was involved in a joint venture (JV), as a subsidiary of a major international oil company (IOC) for the development and production of oil and gas in connection with eight oil mining leases (OMLs).
The JV held interests in and operated OMLs 26, 30, 34, and 42 (in Forcados) as well as 60, 61, 62 and 63 (in Brass). The IOC subsidiary owned 45 per cent of the JV, with the NNPC owning the remaining. The IOC subsidiary, in 2010, divested itself and sold its minority stake, selling to various indigenous companies and leaving NNPC with the responsibility for financing and operating the OMLs.
That task was assigned, along with its own 55 per cent stake, to its subsidiary, the NPDC, which lacked the expertise and financial resources to run the OMLs. On account of this, NPDC sought to go into
SAAs with outside companies with capacity to for finance and technical expertise.
AEDC, incorporated in July 2010, barely three months after Mrs. Alison-Madueke was appointed minister, was awarded OMLs 26, 30,34, and 42. AEDC, in March 2011, announced its first interest in entering into an SAA in a letter to NPDC. Barely three weeks later, Mr. Aluko, representing AEDC, met NPDC officials to discuss a possible SAA award. In the next three weeks, the company and NPDC entered into SAAs for OMLs 26 and 42. About a month later, both parties entered into two more agreements for OMLs 30 and 34, with Mr. Omokore signing on behalf of AEDC.
Prosecutors said the SAAS were awarded on the say-so of Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
“For example, in a recorded conversation between Alison-Madueke and Aluko, Alison-Madueke acknowledged that ‘we stuck our necks out regarding the SAA and we supported it,” said the US court papers. This was despite the fact that a February 2014 report issued by the then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, stated that AEDC “had neither the technical expertise nor the capital to develop the joint venture, but [was] nonetheless able to lift crude and retain the proceeds . . . up to 70% of the profit of the Joint Venture.”
The report concluded that the arrangement was set up “for the purpose of acquiring assets belonging to the [Federal Republic of Nigeria] and transferring the income to private hands”.
The SAAs required AEDC to pay non-recoverable entry fees prior to the agreements taking effect. The value of the entry fees was to be determined based on the estimated probable oil and gas reserves within the area covered by the Forcados OMLs. In addition, the Forcados SAAs each required AEDC to pay $350,000 per year to NPDC for the first five years of the agreements for the provision of training facilities for NPDC staff. They also required AEDC to “provide all the funds required for NPDC’s 55% share of Petroleum Operating Costs.”
Prosecutors, however, found that NPDC’s share of the operating costs for the OMLs from March 2011 through December 2015, was at least $1,400,000,000. In return for meeting its obligations under the SAAs, AEDC would be entitled to recover the cost of financing NPDC’s share of the operating costs and would be further entitled to a share of NPDC’s profit as determined by profit-sharing formulae contained in the SAAs.
AEDC’s entitlements, said the court papers, were payable through the company receiving allocations of available oil sufficient to cover the amounts due as cost-recovery and profit.
These obligations were not fulfilled.
“AEDC substantially failed to perform under the Forcados SAAs. In particular, AEDC did not fulfill its requirement to fund training facilities for NPDC staff, leading to an outstanding obligation of approximately $5,600,000. Furthermore, AEDC failed to cover NPDC’s share of the Forcados operating costs. Of the more than $1,400,000,000 required to finance such costs, AEDC made contributions of only approximately $305,108,522.43. Despite AEDC’s failure to fulfil its obligations under the Forcados SAAs, AEDC was allocated and permitted to lift and sell, for its own benefit, 21 cargoes of crude oil valued at approximately $677,238,673,” stated the court papers.
As the drenched Mrs. Alison-Madueke in immodest opulence, Messrs. Aluko and Omokore also showered gifts on the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to which they donated vehicles worth N800million. They equally bought cars valued at over N130million for Mrs. Alison-Madueke and top shots of NPDC. For himself, Mr. Aluko paid $18,548,619.99 and N1,070,000,000 to FBN Mortgages Limited as part-payment for 26 Flats at 46 Gerrard Road Ikoyi Lagos. The total cost of the flats was N5,210,520,315. He also paid $25,839,606.77and N95,000,000 to Real Bank to part-finance the acquisition and renovation of properties by the Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited (AEDC) and Atlantic Energy Brass Development limited (AEBD).
These included Mason Apartments at 6 Gerrard Road Ikoyi Lagos, comprising 60 units of three-bedroom apartment valued at $78,000,000; Marion Apartments Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, consisting of 43 units at the cost of $76,160,000, 33A Cooper Road Ikoyi, which was renovated at a of $4,937,750 and Admiralty Towers at 8 Gerrard Road Ikoyi, Lagos.
The two businessmen transferred $69,912,981.15 to Mia Hotels Limited, First Motors Limited, V.I. Petrochemicals, Evergreen Reality & Management, WIz Trade Limited, DE First Union Integrated Services and Amity Plus limited.
Mr. Aluko acquired for himself high-end properties at Grove End Road, London NW; 755 Sarbone Road, Los Angeles;952 North Alpine Drive Los Angeles; and 815 Cima Del Mundo. He also bought land at 807 Coma Del Mundo in Los Angeles.
He equally bought homes or apartments at 1049 Fifth Avenue, New York, 1948&1952 Tolls Avenue, Santa Barbara, 157 West 57th St,New York , 4100 Let Revenge, Dubai.
In Nigeria, he bought Avenue Towers in Lagos; bought a piece of land in Mont Tremblat, Canada and a property at Colina D’oro Montagnola, Switzerland.
He acquired the luxury yacht, Galactica Star, at the cost of $80million. He bought 58 exotic cars, expensive watches, private jets, Global Express S5-GMG and a Bombardier Global 6000 9H-OPE.
Court documents show that his bank accounts heaved with cash. According to the documents, he had a bank balance of $25million in LDT Switzerland, $1million at Corner Bank, Lugano, Switzerland; $40million at Deutsche Bank, Geneva; and $175,000 at HSBC, London.
He had 75% stake AECD and Atlantic Energy Brass Development as well as 10% stake in Seven Energy.