The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama has been named in a deal involving a fugitive con man from justice, Alhaji Ahmed Nii Oti Vanderpuije, who has eluded the pursuing head of the famous Nigerian Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu for his role in another scam in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Chronicle newspaper says Ahmed has been on the run for several felonies and only the long reach of the law and time have separated him from his pursuers.
According to the paper, this is one of the details marked for exposure by agents of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and primed to go off after the party goes to Congress and elects Aliu Mahama as flag bearer. The files, The Chronicle gathers, do not contain only Aliu's case but that of a number of Minister-aspirants, and may feature an election bogged down by continuous fire-fighting.
Trust the NDC to be ferocious, especially, now that they believe victory is only a stroll away.
Available archival material show that Ahmed's story and his connection with the Vice President is linked to the high ¬profile case involving the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Muhammed, and eight-term Democratic Congressman William Jefferson, and a number of high brow Nigerians. Mr Jefferson, a Democrat who has served eight terms in the House of Representatives, has come under scrutiny as America's Federal Bureau of Investigations look into an international telecommunications deal.
An August 28, 2005 broadcast of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) quoted an American newspaper, New Orleans Times, Picayune as reporting that investigators were interested in Mr Jefferson's links with Mr Abubakar and Vice-President of Ghana, Aliu Mahama, According to the newspaper, Mr Jefferson visited Ghana in mid-July 2005.
The Vice President's spokesman confirmed that Mr Vanderpuije was indeed the Veep's guest but denied the Veep's knowledge of the record of Vanderpuiye as a fugitive even though his (Aliu's) only constitutionally assigned duty is to chair the nation's security council.
Vanderpuije's latest heist pulling off one of the most audacious rip-offs in the sleaze capital of the world, Abuja, and legging it, has landed the Vice President in a veritable puddle with serious implications of accessorial liabilities.
With the United States Justice Department hot on his heels, and the uncompromising anti-corruption Czar, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, not closing the file on him, the Nigerian may have lost them as he fled to Britain, and subsequently surfaced in Ghana as a guest of His Excellency, Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
Despite spokesman Mr. Asamoah Buabeng's denial, the paper said the persistent suggestion is that even if he did not know, he ought to have known that at the very least, Vanderpuije was a security risk and was on an absconding warrant when aides from his office escorted him through the VIP lounge of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and into the British Airways plane bound for the UK.
An Administrative Panel of Inquiry in a report produced by Nigeria's noted anti corruption body, The EFCC last September implicated Nigeria's Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the extensive involvement of Ahmed Vanderpuije in milking Nigeria's Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) of sums running into millions of dollars and hundreds of millions of Naira.
The panel revealed that the investigation conducted by EFCC was instigated by a request of the United States Government through its Department of Justice, specifically, in connection with business deals between Gate, an American company and Netlink Digital Television (NDTV) plus a list of 31 named persons and organisations, particularly four big names on the top of the list - Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Otunba Fasawe, a friend of Atiku's, Ahmed Vanderpuije and NDTV of Nigeria, a company which has Vanderpuije as its Managing Director.
In reference to Ahmed Vanderpuije, page 12 of the report to the Nigerian Senate of last year, noted "Ahmed Vanderpuije, who is a Ghanaian, is now a fugitive from justice elsewhere," and noted that he also collected sham loan of N300 million through his other company Transvari Services Limited.
Ahmed used part of the money from the $10 million PTDF deposit to finance the publishing of an Assistant Director in the office of the Accountant-General, called Alhaji Nda Yakubu's book titled: 'Nigerian Laws on Public Finances.'
The claim being investigated against him is that: "by virtue of his long stay in the AGF's office, he was privy to the various financial status of the Federal Government and where the funds were kept. That he used to divulge the information to Alhaji Ahmed Vanderpuije, who was a business associate of Otunba Fasawe, who eventually got the Vice President (Atiku) informed."
READ HOW THE ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTED THE STORY
The Associated Press Saturday, August 27, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The govern¬ment confirmed Saturday that the U.S. home of Nigeria's vice president had been searched as part of a federal investigation, which news reports have linked to a Louisiana congressman.
A State Department spokeswoman would not confirm when the search occurred, referring questions to the Justice Department. A Justice spokesman declined to comment.
The Times-Picayune of New Orleans first reported that agents had searched the Potomac, Md., home of Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Aug. 3. On the same day, FBI agents searched the Washington and New Orleans homes of Rep. William Jefferson, an eight-term Democrat.
The State Department would not say whether the searches were linked.
"All inquiries regarding the search of the United States residence of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar should be directed to the Department of Justice," spokeswoman Joanne Moore said. "We do not comment on ongoing federal law enforcement investigations."
Asked about the searches, Justice spokesman Charles Miller responded, "There's nothing I can say."
Moore said she could not immediately comment on how issues of diplomatic immunity related to the search of the U.S. home of a foreign elected official.
The searches of Jefferson's homes came amid questions about his financial dealings with a high tech startup company.
The Times-Picayune has reported that investigators were looking into Jefferson's dealings with Abubakar and the vice president of Ghana.
Jefferson's spokeswoman, Melanie Roussell, said Saturday that the congressman had no comment.
Abubakar could not be reached for comment. A phone number for his residence was not listed. The Nigerian Embassy was not open.