Lagos – UK-based property firm Daniel Ford, said to belong to Nigerian-born Adeyemi Edun, has been identified in court processes filed in the US state of Texas as the estate agency that helped former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to acquire properties worth millions of pounds in the UK, reports This is Money, a UK financial website.
There is, however, no suggestion in the court papers that Daniel Ford or Edun himself committed money laundering or that they were aware of such activities.
According to the US court documents, the properties were acquired as part of a series of disguised payments amounting to £8.3 million made in Alison-Madueke’s favour in March 2011 by businessmen Jide Omokore, Kolawole Aluko, their companies, among others.
US investigators allege that the properties were provided to the former petroleum minister “for the corrupt purpose of inducing her to use her influence within the Ministry of Petroleum Resources…to direct the award of business opportunities.”
Accordingly, the businessmen’s companies received oil deals in exchange, the documents allege, adding that same means were used to fund her lavish lifestyle.
Also, between December 2012 and July 2014, one of the businessmen allegedly paid a chauffeur company nearly £400,000 for her use.
US investigators also alleged that the properties were bought using offshore companies in the Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands.
It would be recalled that in 2015, Alison-Madueke was reportedly arrested in the UK on suspicion of bribery and money laundering and released on police bail pending further investigation. The development saw the freezing of two of the UK properties in 2016.
In Nigeria, properties and humongous sums in banks linked to her have already been forfeited to the Federal Government on court orders.
An application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before a Federal High Court, Abuja, in August claimed that “one Adeyemi Edun” received more than $5.5 million in cash from Alison-Madueke to be used to buy properties for her in Lagos in May 2011.
The anti-graft agency further alleged that money was moved through two bank accounts in Nigeria before being transferred to buy upmarket apartments in Lagos.
However, in its bid to recover the said UK assets, which she allegedly acquired between 2010 and 2015 as petroleum minister, the Federal Government is said to have filed separate assets recovery proceeding in the UK.
The former minister has, however, consistently denied the charges, insisting she is clean.
When This is Money contacted Edun on telephone, he reportedly said he could not discuss the Alison-Madueke matter because “it was subject to ongoing investigation.”
When asked about the EFCC action that mentioned his name, Edun said: “You have to be very sure the name you are referring to is actually mine, because it is common in a country of 180 million people.”
Processes filed by the EFCC show that Daniel Ford’s email address was used to issue payment instructions for the Lagos apartments. They also contained Edun’s Nigerian passport and a UK mobile number which he used to answer This is Money’s call.