A report by Point Blank news has revealed that the United States of America has furnished the EFCC with all the details it needs to prosecute implicated Nigerians in the Halliburton scandal. According to the report, Peter Carr, spokesman of the DOJ confirmed the sentencing memo of Jefferson which indicted Mrs Buhari, Atiku and others but declined to speak further on the issue in an email.
“Thank you for reaching out to us. We’ll decline to comment beyond what is referenced in the sentencing memorandum,” Carr’s email read.
A source in DOJ also squealed that because Jefferson is currently appealing some of his convictions, DOJ may not want to comment further on the matter. Meanwhile, the sentencing memorandum obtained from the U.S District Court Eastern District of Virginia listed as exhibit, a wire transfer to congressman Jefferson from an account owned by Mrs Buhari.
A 16-count indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, charged Jefferson with solicitation of bribes from Nigeria and other places, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, racketeering, and conspiracy. The indictment alleges that from in or about August 2000 through in or about August 2005, Jefferson, while serving as an elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, used his position and his office to corruptly seek, solicit and direct that things of value be paid to Jefferson and his family members in exchange for his performance of official acts to advance the interests of people and businesses who offered him the bribes. The U.S Justice Department had at the time requested the EFCC through a letter dated June 22, 2006 to investigate Mrs Buhari and several others linked with bribing congressman Jefferson.
Mrs Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Dumebi Kachikwu (brother to current minister of petroleum, Ibe, Otunba Fashawe (close associate of former President Olusegun Obasanjo), Aliyu Maigari and others were named in a long chain of Nigerian and American bribe takers that spirited about $45 million—for a technology transfer deal—to the US between 1996 and 2002. Atiku, chairing of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), then, was, alongside congressman Jefferson, Siemens, Halliburton, and others, indicted in a U.S. Senate report sent to the EFCC for investigation in 2006.
The U.S Senate report, FBI reports and U.S Court papers on the allegations have remained with the EFCC as the anti-graft agency appears to have developed cold feet in prosecuting the Nigerians involved. Among other things, U.S Investigators had in 2006 asked the EFCC to investigate bank records of accounts managed by Mrs Buhari. They specifically asked that the bank records should include documents relating to any wire transfers of $10,000 or more. Jefferson is currently serving jail time in the US,while those linked to his crime are still being sort after for questioning especially in Nigeria. A source confirmed that while Kachikwu had offered to testify against Jefferson, Mrs Buhari stayed away from the FBI probe and has also stayed away from the U.S. Interestingly, since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected as Nigeria’s leader, Mrs Buhari has never followed him to his numerous U.S trips. The U.S Senate report, FBI reports and U.S Court papers on the allegations have remained in the coolers of the EFCC as the agency appears to be lacking the political will to carrying on the prosecution. Reacting to the report, presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu said the Aisha M. Buhari mentioned is not the same as the president’s wife.
The Haliburton case came to public consciousness again after Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose relived the controversy on Monday, June 20, stressing the role played by Mrs Buhari in the messy bribery scandal. Fayose’s outburst came after his personal account in Zenith Bank was frozen by EFCC operatives.