SaharaReporters has obtained a report on how former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was investigated 11 years ago by the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, chaired by Senator Carl Levin.
Between 2000 and 2008, Atiku’s fourth wife in the United States, Jennifer Iwenjiora Douglas Abubakar, utilized offshore corporations as Vice President of Nigeria to transfer millions of cash to her.
Jennifer, a native of Onitsha, Anambra State, and a Nigerian Television Authority News correspondent in the 1980s, eventually relocated to the United States and became a citizen.
According to the committee’s findings, which was given to the US Senate on February 10, 2010, unlawfully transferred funds made Atiku a “employer of labor” and proud owner of the American University of Nigeria (AUN).
The PDP leader established American University of Nigeria (AUN) at a time when public institutions were failing under him and Obasanjo, and poor Nigerian students were languishing at home owing to lecturer strike action over inadequate financing.
Former President George W. Bush had prevented Atiku and other politically exposed people from receiving visas to the United States in 2004.
The US Senate investigation that led to the indictment of the former Nigerian Vice President was prompted by US concerns about corruption in the Third World and its negative impact on the development of honest administration, democratic values, and the rule of law.“From 2000 to 2008, Jennifer Douglas, a United States citizen and the fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and former presidential candidate of Nigeria, assisted her husband in bringing over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts,” according to the report.“In a 2008 civil complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionalleged that Ms. Douglas received over $2 million in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002, from Siemens AG, a major German corporation.“While Ms. Douglas denies wrongdoing, Siemens has already pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges and settled civil charges related to bribery and told the Subcommittee that it sent the payments to one of her U.S. accounts.“In 2007, Mr. Atiku was the subject of corruption allegations in Nigeria related to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund. Of the $40 million in suspect funds, $25 million was wire transferred by offshore corporations into more than 30 U.S. bank accounts opened by Ms. Douglas, primarily by GuernseyTrust Company Nigeria Ltd., LetsGo Ltd. Inc., and Sima Holding Ltd.“The U.S. banks maintaining those accounts were, at times, unaware of her PEP status, and they allowed multiple, large offshore wire transfers into her accounts. As each bank began to question the offshore wire transfers, Ms. Douglas indicated that all of the funds came from her husband and professed little familiarity with the offshore corporations actually sending her money.
“When one bank closed her account due to the offshore wire transfers, her lawyer helped convince other banks to provide a new account. In addition, two of the offshore corporations wire transferred about $14 million over five years to American University in Washington, D.C., to pay for consulting services related to the development of a Nigerian university founded by Mr. Atiku Abubakar.“American University accepted the wire transfers without asking about the identity of the offshore corporations or the source of their funds, because under current law, the University had no legal obligation to inquire.
“Combating corruption is a key U.S. value and goal, due to its corrosive effects on the rule of law, economic development, and democratic principles. In 2001, the Patriot Act made the acceptance of foreign corruption proceeds a U.S. money laundering offense for the first time, and required banks to apply enhanced scrutiny to private banking accounts opened for senior foreign political figures, their relatives, and close associates.“In 2003, the United States supported the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, now ratified by over 140 countries. Also in 2003, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formed an investigative group dedicated to combating foreign corruption by PEPs.
Remember that William Jefferson, a former US congressman, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2010 for corruption involving US firms and Nigerian officials.Jefferson was convicted of receiving bribes on behalf of Nigerian authorities, including Atiku, according to Federal Judge TS Ellis III of the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.The FBI, on the other hand, discovered $90,000 in cash stored in a freezer, which Jefferson claimed was meant for the PDP chairman.However, Atiku and his wife, Jennifer, have refused to appear in front of a US court after being served with summons and subpoenas.
Instead, they relocated their family to Dubai and sold their Potomac estate.