Connect with us

Society

US Accused Of Romancing Gilbert Chagoury, A Nigerian Businessman With Criminal Record

Published

on

The United States Government has been accused of being in cahoots with one of Nigeria’s wealthiest men with criminal records, Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian-Lebanese developer. It would be recalled that in May 2019, the US Mission in Nigeria revealed that it had acquired 50,000 square feet of land at the Eko Atlantic, the four-square miles of land in Lagos reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean and features residential and commercial properties, to build the largest consulate in the world. Last month, it laid the foundation of the consulate.

The US mission revealed that it will spend more than half a billion dollars on the gigantic building which was designed by Ennead, a New York architectural firm. It also added that at completion, it will employ 2,500 Nigerian citizens in various roles.

What is more interesting about the consulate is the fact that its location is owned and funded by Chagoury who is well known for being associated with money laundering, fraud etc. Like his Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose mantra, upon assuming office, was war against corruption, which is now being called to question, the relationship between the US and Chagoury has now raised concerns about President Joe Biden’s pledge or lack thereof, to tackle international corruption.

Born in Nigeria to Lebanese immigrants, Chagoury co-founded the Chagoury Group in Lagos in 1971 with tentacles spread in some of the most viable sectors of the economy. Chagoury owns the Eko Hotel & Suites, HITECH Construction Company and ITB Construction Ltd among several others.

The 76-year-old has spent the past 40 years building political connections both in the US and Nigeria. He flourished in the 1990s through his close association with the late Sani Abacha. In 2000, he was convicted by a Swiss court for laundering some of the funds Abacha looted from Nigeria. He agreed to pay a fine of about 1 million Swiss francs (about $600,000) at that time to get his Swiss conviction expunged and handed back $66 million to the Nigerian government but denied knowing the funds were stolen.

Since the 1990s, Chagoury cultivated a friendship with the Clinton family, in part by writing big checks, including an estimated $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, this is despite being a non-citizen forbidden by law to make donations to the campaigns of US politicians. But Chagoury flouted that law with his numerous donations. By the time Hillary Clinton became secretary of State, the relationship was strong enough for one of Bill Clinton’s closest aides to push for Chagoury to get access to top diplomats and thus began the US exploring a deal to build a consulate at the Eko Atlantic city. Between 2012 and 2016, he sought to help fund election campaigns of some US politicians. He donated to the Republicans and was listed as a sponsor for a 2014 art exhibit at the George W Bush Presidential Center. One other campaign he funded which recently came to light was that of Jeff Fortenberry, a US lawmaker, in 2016. Fortenberry was last month convicted of concealing information and making false statements to US federal authorities who were investigating illegal contributions made by Chagoury, a foreign national, to his re-election campaign. Fortenberry resigned from office after his conviction.

But in 2019, Chagoury reportedly paid $1.8 million in fines to resolve the investigation when it began. Chagoury currently lives in Paris. He initially made the US his abode, while his younger brother, Ronald held forte in Nigeria. He then shuttled between London, Beirut and Dubai until he finally settled for Paris as his new base after he allegedly fell out of favor with the President Muhammadu Buhari led government after having allegedly, bankrolled the election campaign of then President Goodluck Jonathan who lost the election.Since the 1990s, Chagoury cultivated a friendship with the Clinton family, in part by writing big checks, including an estimated $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, this is despite being a non-citizen forbidden by law to make donations to the campaigns of US politicians. But Chagoury flouted that law with his numerous donations. By the time Hillary Clinton became secretary of State, the relationship was strong enough for one of Bill Clinton’s closest aides to push for Chagoury to get access to top diplomats and thus began the US exploring a deal to build a consulate at the Eko Atlantic city.

Between 2012 and 2016, he sought to help fund election campaigns of some US politicians. He donated to the Republicans and was listed as a sponsor for a 2014 art exhibit at the George W Bush Presidential Center. One other campaign he funded which recently came to light was that of Jeff Fortenberry, a US lawmaker, in 2016. Fortenberry was last month convicted of concealing information and making false statements to US federal authorities who were investigating illegal contributions made by Chagoury, a foreign national, to his re-election campaign. Fortenberry resigned from office after his conviction. But in 2019, Chagoury reportedly paid $1.8 million in fines to resolve the investigation when it began. Chagoury currently lives in Paris. He initially made the US his abode, while his younger brother, Ronald held forte in Nigeria. He then shuttled between London, Beirut and Dubai until he finally settled for Paris as his new base after he allegedly fell out of favor with the President Muhammadu Buhari led government after having allegedly, bankrolled the election campaign of then President Goodluck Jonathan who lost the election.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Society

Glo promotes Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage at Ojude Oba

Published

on

By

 

Digital solutions provider, Globacom, on Tuesday threw its weight behind the 2024 Ojude Oba Festival of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, emphasizing the huge potential of such festivals to promote cultural diversity, unity and harmony in the country.

 

In his goodwill message to this year’s edition of the event, the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., also noted that age-long festivals such as Ojude Oba could foster cultural exchange and showcase Nigeria’s rich heritage to the world.

Dr Adenuga observed that the theme of this year’s celebration, UNITY AND HARMONY IN IJEBULAND: THE GIFT OF OJUDE OBA, emphasised the values that the festival had espoused for over a century that it has been in existence.

 

He added that the festivals also had potential to boost tourism and help in the diversification of the economy which was why the Federal Government and many governments across the globe have placed tourism on top of their development agenda.

 

Adenuga noted that Globacom has continued to support major festivals in the country in order to strengthen them as world class events which will attract even more visitors from across the world.

 

On the company’ partnership with the Ojude Oba Planning Committee, he is optimistic that it will further foster a symbiotic relationship with immense benefits for both Globacom and the sons and daughters of Ijebuland at home and in the Diaspora.

 

One of the key features of the festival is the Regberegbe (age grade) competition. Egbe Bobasete Okunrin Omooba came first with Egbe Bobagunte Okunrin Akile Ijebu second and Egbe Bobamayegun Okunrin Asiwaju polling third place.

 

 

 

Egbe Bobagunwa Obinrin Omooba won first place in the female division, while Egbe Bobagunwa Obinrin Asiwaju and Egbe Arobayo Obinrin Akile Ijebu emerged as runners-up, taking home the same awards as their male counterparts.

Continue Reading

Society

Perm Sec Denies Sexually Harassing Female Subordinate, Says, She Accused Me Because I Refused To Pay Her Bills.

Published

on

By

 

The permanent secretary of the federal ministry of foreign affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa, says he is being accused of sexual harassment by Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, an official of the ministry, because he refused her demands.

 

Recall that the minister of foreign affairs, Yusuf Tugga, had notified Folasade Yemi-Esan, the head of service of the federation (HoS), of the allegation.

 

In a letter to Yemi-Esan, the minister said it was necessary to communicate the development to her following the “gravity of the matter” after Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, wrote a petition to him.

 

However, in response to the allegation, Lamuwa said his failure to pay Ajayi’s bills on an official trip to Davos and refusal to grant her access to policy files and financial records of the ministry were the reasons why she accused him of sexual harassment.

 

The permanent secretary said he has never sexually harassed her but has maintained a professional relationship with all his subordinates.

 

“I have served for nine years cumulatively in the State House, in the Office of the Vice President, Chief of Staff to the President, and the exalted Office of the President at various times under Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, Mr. David Edevbie, Amb. Abdullahi Gwary, and lastly, Amb. Lawal Kazaure,” Lamuwa said.

 

“I received three letters of commendation at various times from the State House for meritorious service.

 

“On allegations of female directors being harassed, I have never had any incident with any female director in any hotel room, nor have I ever removed any female officers’ names from trips or postings because they refused to comply with any sexual demands.

 

“No four women or any number could have shared any alleged ordeal with me with her, as no such incidents have happened in the past, and it is untrue that any such common knowledge exists in the Ministry, as there is no basis for it.

 

“From the foregoing, I believe Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s action might not be unconnected with my failure to pay her Davos bills or give her access to the Ministry’s policy files and financial records.

 

“For example, on 12th January, 2023, while in Davos, on a WhatsApp chat, she tried to know what I and the DFA were doing about the payment of the outstanding Nigerian Mission’s 1st Semester Allocation of about N12,957,103,477, claiming to know the Minister has spoken to the CBN Governor on the issue.

 

“In my response, I told her that Missions’ funding should not concern her, as it was being handled at the highest level. Her response was ‘Noted Sir. As directed by the Hon. Minister sir, does it concern Me?’. I wrote back to say, ‘I sorted that out with the HMFA yesterday’. And she said ‘thank you’. I knew she was angry with me about that.

 

“It is clear that there are two issues that have been worrying Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi and were therefore waiting for any opportunity to get back at me.”

 

The permanent secretary added that they had exchanged jokes on many occasions in

the presence of other people.

Continue Reading

Society

Foreign Affairs Ministry Perm Sec, Lamuwa, Suspended Over Sexual Harassment Scandal

Published

on

By

 

The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa has been suspended over allegation of sexually harassing a married female staff of the Ministry.

 

Recall that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, wrote to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, over allegation of sexual harassment levelled against the Permanent Secretary.

 

One of the Minister’s aides, Mrs. Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, stated that Lamuwa sexually harrased her.

 

Lamuwa had served as Nigeria’s ambassador to the Republic of Senegal with concurrent accreditation to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania before his appointment as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

He joined the foreign service in 1993, was born in 1967, and hails from Funakaye Local Government Area of Gombe State.

 

In a letter dated May 27, Tuggar said he was compelled to write to inform the Head of Service of a formal complaint against Lamuwa on allegations of sexual harassment.

 

“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly.

 

“Please find attached a copy of the complaint I received via email. May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” Tuggar wrote.

 

Source squealed that Lamuwa had been asked to step aside by the Office of the Head of Service.

 

He was given till Friday last week to vacate office and the immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Benaoyagha Okoyen, assumed office on Monda

y in acting capacity.

Continue Reading

Trending