Alkali Habib, a Director with TAJ Bank, and four private companies and their directors have been charged before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Abuja with the Money Laundering and Breach of Public Procurement Act.
Charged alongside Habib are Innocent Nwobodo, Edwin Iyk Anyadigibe, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad and Abdulmumini Haruna, Directors of Winslow Logistics, Antasar Nigeria Limited, Equal Logistics Services Limited, Velocity Logistics and Marine Services Limited, and Sahams Crystal Investment respectively.
The Defendants are charged by a private firm, Donnington Nigeria Limited for Breach of the Public Procurement Act bordering on Money Laundering.
In the source’s account, the exercise was not a waste of labour, rather, the wounded Director(s) of Donnington discovered alleged non-compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering requirement and Breach of Public Procurement Act by the selected companies and its directors.
“By dint of Donnington’s inquiries from appropriate quarters, it found out that four of the five companies and their Directors shirked the compulsory registration with the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering(SCUML), a unit under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, with all the defendants violating Anti-Money Laundering Act in their financial dealings by concealing cash inflow and outflow in excess of N5m for individuals and N10m for companies which disclosure to SCUML is made compulsory by the law, while penalties for a violation include De-registration and or Suspension of the company or its license, fine or imprisonment or both.
“Promoters of Donnington imposed on themselves the task of scrutinising those companies, and also, along the line, they discovered that Velocity Logistics’ Director is allegedly Ahmad, the Managing Director of Rural Electrification, a public officer, an ownership that Violates Public Service Rules, as it is illegal for government officials to engage in private business except agriculture.
“Velocity Logistics’ purported ownership is also an infraction of Public Procurement Act as every bidder or contract applicant must accompany every bid with affidavit stating the full disclosure of its Director(s) and shareholders.
“The aggrieved party felt its disengagement and total exclusion from the Cargo Tracking contract is a brutal injustice, and a violation of its natural claim to the job, and in one of the said discoveries found that the lead partner in the contract, Antaser Nigeria Limited, a company registered both in Belgium and Nigeria has no real presence in Nigeria and no bank accounts in any of the country’s banks,” the source with intimate knowledge of the issue narrated.
Findings revealed that the defendants are all proxies with the direct beneficiaries of the contracts said to be an aide of President Buhari from North-Central, a prominent figure in the outgoing Buhari’s Administration from Adamawa State, a State Governor from North-West, a former Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, a Minister from North-East, Director General in one of Federal Government’s agencies.
Others are a minister from North-West, a female minister and a Senior Special Adviser to the President.
The legal action embarked upon by the prosecutor is historical being the first time a private person or organisation would drag alleged suspects to court for Money Laundering relying on a 2022 precedent of the Supreme Court.
A fresh reason to bring P&ID’s $11 billion debt judgement awarded in favour of the UK company against the federal government of Nigeria by a London court to the fore, it is a litmus test for the Nigeria’s justice system, in the sense that the government has been seeking to overturn the judgement on many grounds including levelling allegations of bribery and corruption against P&ID’s promoters, and violating Nigeria’s anti-Money Laundering law at the company and its Director(s) for allegedly failing to obtain the SCUML certificate, and reporting its inflow and outflow above N10m and N5m respectively to the Money Laundering watchdog.