- Category: Wikileaks on Nigeria
- Published on Friday, 10 December 2010 06:37
- Written by Admin
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Similarly, then Attorney General and Minister of Justice Michael Kaase Aondoaaka was said to have told a visitor that he would only sign a document if he was given $2 million immediately, with another $18m to be paid to him the next day.
The cables stemmed from discussions held in Abuja on January 27, last year, between the then American Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Sanders and Shell Petroleum Corporation’s Regional Executive Vice President for Africa, Ms Ann Pickard. Shell’s Government Relations Representative Peter Francis attended the meeting.
Ms Pickard told Ms Sanders that corruption in the Nigerian oil sector was worsening by the day, and that “very interesting people” who were not in the oil industry were lifting oil cargoes.
According to another cable sent to Washington by Ambassador Sanders, then Acting President Goodluck Jonathan told her last February that he would not stand in the 2011 presidential elections, saying he only wanted to put in place the structure for national elections. He however added that “if they want me to run, that will be something to consider at that time.”
Jonathan also told the American envoy that PDP chose him as President Umaru Yar’adua’s running mate because he was from the Niger Delta area. He said, “I was not chosen to be vice president because I had good political experience. I did not. There were a lot more qualified people around to be vice president, but that does not mean I am not my own man.”
Jonathan also described a mid-February meeting of the Federal cabinet as “disastrous,” saying there was “yelling and screaming” at the meeting and that the cabinet was totally dysfunctional. His plans to dissolve it on February 24 were however aborted by Yar’adua’s sneak return to the country that morning, he told Sanders.
In the same despatch to Washington, Sanders reported that Jonathan told her he blamed the political crisis following Yar’adua’s hospitalisation to four people: Turai Yar’adua, Chief Security Officer Yusuf Mohamed Tilde, ADC Col Mustapha Onoedieva and Chief Economic Adviser Tanimu Yakubu. He also said then Agriculture Minister Abba Sayyadi Ruma and then FCT Minister Mohamed Adamu Aliero were providing a second tier to the bubble.
Jonathan also revealed in the cables that former military ruler general Abdulsalami Abubakar, who he described as one of his closest advisers, was attempting to involve other former rulers to convince the Yar’adua family to get the ailing president to resign. He said that would be easier than getting the cabinet to pass a resolution declaring Yar’adua to be medically incapacitated.
According to the leaked cables, the American ambassador put pressure on Jonathan to sack INEC chairman Professor Maurice Iwu. She said US technical assistance for Nigeria’s elections cannot continue unless Iwu was removed. She also urged Jonathan to distance himself from former president Olusegun Obasanjo, of who he was said to be a surrogate, and to end perceptions of himself as a local regional leader. Jonathan promised her that he would do so.
Yet another leaked American cable reported that an unnamed Kano-based real estate developer and “long-time Mission contact” told the Americans that Yar’adua’s associate Alhaji Dahiru Mangal smuggled illicit items into Nigeria.
The contacts however said that Mangal ceased his illegal activities when Yar’adua appointed him a special adviser.
The American cable also described a man who approached another person in a car with a State House plate number and asked for a N250 million bribe on behalf of Hajia Turai Yar’adua. The envoy however said there was no evidence to prove that Turai sent the man.
DE RUEHUJA #0320/01 0520630
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 210630Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2117
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 8760
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000320
STATE FOR INR/AA, INR/B
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/18/2033
TAGS: PGOV PINR KCOR NI
SUBJECT: (S/NF) NIGERIA: KANO BUSINESSMAN ALLEGES YAR'ADUA
REF: 07 ABUJA 2627
Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for Reasons 1.4 (b, c, & d).
1. (S//NF) SUMMARY: XXXXXXXXXXXX alleged a close association between President Yar,Adua and Katsina native and rumored smuggler Dahiru Mangal. XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed Mangal is the President's "Mr. Fix It," taking care of "anything filthy" Yar'Adua needs done in addition to smuggling items for several wealthy Nigerian businessmen through Niger into Kano. Another Kano business contact corroborated XXXXXXXXXXXX 's allegations, but observed that Mangal no longer deals openly in illicit activity since Yar'Adua named him a special advisor earlier this month. As well, XXXXXXXXXXXX maintained that he had been approached by a man claiming to represent First Lady Turai Yar'Adua and seeking an USD 2 million pay-off.
While Post cannot independently authenticate these allegations of corruption by the President or First Lady, Post has heard rumors of an emergent "Katsina clique" in the Presidential Villa. END SUMMARY.
2. (S//NF) Kano real estate entrepreneur and longtime Mission contact XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolOff February 10 that Katsina native Dahiru Mangal, who XXXXXXXXXXXX contends deals in illicit smuggling of goods into Nigeria, is also known as President Yar'Adua's "Mr. Fix It." XXXXXXXXXXXX alleged a close association between the President and Mangal, dating to the former's tenure as governor of Katsina, and claimed the latter remains to this day Yar'Adua's "go-to man" to accomplish "anything filthy that Yar'Adua needs done." Mangal, XXXXXXXXXXXX said, is also the "go-to" for any wealthy Nigerian, who wants to import "just about anything" into Nigeria. He declined to state whether Mangal smuggled weapons, drugs, or persons into Nigeria. (On February 17, PolOff queried another Kano business contact, who corroborated XXXXXXXXXXXX 's accusations, however claimed Mangal no longer goes by "Mr. Fix It" since Yar'Adua officially named him a special advisor earlier this month. Allegedly, Yar'Adua instructed Mangal to cease any illicit activity if Mangal wished to enjoy official recognition by the President. The contact implied this may connote, inter alia, that Yar'Adua desires to maintain at least the appearance of respect for rule of law, and thus, does not want any of his close advisors openly involved in suspect activity.)
3. (S//NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolOff XXXXXXXXXXXX several Nigerian businessmen who have employed Mangal'sservices over the past several years. Reportedly, Mangal owns a warehouse across the Niger border (likely close to the Katsina border with Jibiyya and Maradi) in which he stores hundreds of 40-foot shipping containers. XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed Mangal is able to import goods from around the world, including China. In return, Mangal requests a flat fee of 2 million naira (USD 17,000), excluding the cost of goods. Approximately 100 containers per month are brought into Kano, and goods are then delivered to clients or sold in Kano's Kurmi market.
4. (S//NF) Mangal also operates several legitimate businesses, XXXXXXXXXXXX asserted, including Mangal Airlines. The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria contracted Kabo, Bellview, Meridian, and Mangal Airlines for the December 2007 hajj operations, which transported approximately 100,000 Nigerians to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage. (Note: Many Nigerian Muslims have criticized the GON's handling of the 2007 hajj claiming several thousand Nigerians were left stranded in Saudi Arabia and could not return to Nigeria, except without extraordinary hardship, and several others were never airlifted from Nigeria at all. End Note.)
5. (S//NF) Moreover, XXXXXXXXXXXX said XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX had been approached recently by a man claiming to speak on behalf of First Lady Turai Yar'Adua. The person, who arrived at the meeting with XXXXXXXXXXXX in a Peugeot with a "presidential" license plate, told XXXXXXXXXXXX the First Lady would "allow" them to construct the homes so long as she is given an advance payment of 250 million naira (USD 2 million). XXXXXXXXXXXX said he was willing to offer the First Lady twenty plots of land instead, to which the presumed emissary grimaced. The negotiations, XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolOff, continue.
6. (C//NF) NOTE: During a late January conversation with PolOff, XXXXXXXXXXXXX said XXXXXXXXXXXXX purchased an USD 10 million house in central London approximately 7 years ago, XXXXXXXXXXXXX. This house apparently was excluded from President Yar,Adua,s public declaration of assets in June 2007, which put his total wealth at approximately USD 7 million. END NOTE.
7. (S//NF) COMMENT: While XXXXXXXXXXXX is a trusted, longtime Mission contact who has provided veracious information in the past, we cannot independently confirm his statements regarding Mangal or the First Lady. Certainly, the man who approached XXXXXXXXXXXXX seeking a pay-off may simply have been attempting to exploit the First Lady's name for personal enrichment. We have heard rumors of the emergence of a "Katsina clique" in the Villa -- a group of individuals from the President's home state of Katsina who reportedly constitute Yar'Adua's inner circle and increasingly, control access to him. The surfacing of this group may be a corrollary to Yar'Adua's lack of national exposure (and hence, his deficiently broad support base) and his inability thus far to stamp his authority on the ruling People's Democratic Party. Rumors abound alleging that the First Lady, Special Advisor Tanimu Yakubu, and Minister of Agriculture Sayyadi Ruma are involved in corrupt practices.
Reports of both the First Lady and Yakubu's taste for the high life and tendencies toward illicit enrichment surfaced during a December 2007 debrief by XXXXXXXXXXXXX outlined problems he saw in the Villa and cases XXXXXXXXXXXXX was closely watching (Ref A).
Several contacts from XXXXXXXXXXXXX, moreover, maintain that while the President "appeared incorruptible" during his tenure as governor, his wife siphoned off millions in public funds for private use. Post will closely monitor these accusations and report any new developments.
END COMMENT. SANDERS