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Ekweremadu Linked to Eight Dubai Properties worth N2.66bn

Report indicated that the Immediate Past Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, was allegedly linked to eight Dubai properties, with an estimated total value of more than $7m (N2.66bn).

The properties include a luxury flat in Park Towers bought for $2.2m (N836m) and one in Burj Dubai purchased for $1.4m (N532m), including other properties in the United Kingdom.

Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, is among serving political office holders linked to 800 properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Bagudu was named as part of 334 prominent Nigerians, including politically exposed persons, who own properties valued at N152bn ($400m) in the UAE.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had said the exchange rate had been adjusted to N380 to a dollar.

The linkage of these prominent Nigerians to the properties was contained in a report published by an American-based non-governmental organisation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on its website on Thursday.

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

The linkage of these prominent Nigerians to the properties was contained in a report published by an American-based non-governmental organisation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on its website on Thursday.

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

Bagudu is the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, which is a forum of governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which rode to power on the promise to fight corruption. This is also in spite of the anti-graft stand of the current regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Federal Government and the UAE had in 2017 signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which include the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.

Other legal instruments between Nigeria and UAE were the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters and the Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

Described in the report as the Gen Sani Abacha’s money man, Bagudu was linked to eight properties on the 12th floor of Dubai’s capital bay towers development valued at more than $4.8m in total.

Bagudu, who is in his second term as the governor of Kebbi State, reportedly helped Abacha to launder billions of dollars stolen from Nigeria. A Bloomberg report few weeks ago had shown that the governor signed a deal with the Federal Government that he would be given $100m from the funds he helped Abacha to loot from Nigeria. The report relied on court papers filed by the United States Department of Justice.

Also, The investigative research alleged 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 bureau de change operators, own a significant number of the properties.

Other prominent Nigerians who allegedly own properties in Dubai include a former Peoples Democratic Party chairman, Ahmadu Ali; former Kwara State governor, Mohammed Lawal; former petroleum minister, Dan Etete; a former deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu and a former managing director of the defunct Oceanic Bank, Mrs Cecilia Ibru.

Others are a former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun; former chairman of Military Pension Board, Bala Mshelia; former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ladan Shehu, and a former head of the Petroleum Product Marketing Company, Samuel Okeke, among others

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