Immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Ahmed Bola Tinubu is being fingered as the lynch-pin of an alliance of destructive Governors who misappropriated public funds totaling over $140 Million to acquire ownership of private Global Satellite Mobile, GSM Telephony Company.
This is even as fresh reports from investigations revealed that Tinubu has so far returned N50 Billion to the Economic and Financial crime Commission, EFCC being part of monies he stole from the coffers of Lagos State while serving as Governor from1999 to 2003.
Tinubu, a third republic Senator who rode on the crest of the popularity of June 12 annulled Presidential election and personal ties to late Chief MKO Abiola to warm himself to popular acceptance by the people of Lagos State is said to have run into trouble with the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC on the source of over N14 Billion which he invested in V-Mobile which has since changed name to Celtel Company.
According to sources Tinubu was the rallying point for other colleagues like Victor Attah, formerly of Akwa Ibom State and James Ibori of Delta State. He was said to have rallied others into acquiring shares on behalf of their various states at the then V-Mobile, formerly known as Econet. He convinced the two colleagues to acquire stakes running into several Billions as well.
But their ingenuity at converting public funds into private use was what led them into ridicule before the EFCC. Tinubu was said to have perfected an agenda which saw the initial N14 Billion purportedly acquired on behalf of the people and Government of Lagos State into personal holding investment. The purchased shares suddenly changed to Tinubu’s shares. Likewise, the shares purchased by Akwa Ibom State Government and Delta State Government at V-Mobile started reading Victor Attah’s shares and James Ibori’s Shares respectively.
Pointblanknews.com investigations revealed that EFCC’s three man investigation team led by Magu, Bello and Illiasu, signed overwhelming evidence of incriminating Tinubu, Attah and Ibori. All three were told to return the money misappropriated. They all did.
EFCC agents had been trailing the Governors. They were snooping on Bola Tinubu in particular. Knowing the details of the transaction, he was invited over to EFCC and confronted with the details of the dirty transaction. Tinubu was said to have owned up to the crime. And he was asked to return N14 Billion to the coffers of Lagos State Government. He did. But Leopards cannot change their spots. Tinubu allegedly took another N7 Billion on behalf of Lagos State Government towards the end of his governance. That N7 Billion was later found as a lump lodgment with V-Mobile. Again, after an investigation, he was told to return the money to the State Government. He did.
Off course there is very disturbing concern on why Tinubu was not prosecuted on the grounds of criminal felony to which he purportedly confessed. The V-Mobile deal looks like other shameful act involving Tinubu and many of his counterparts who were Governors at the same time.
Ibori’s part of the V-Mobile shares was held in trust for him by one Henry Imaseka. When the V-Mobile deal was busted by EFCC, he was moved to Wilbross Engineering which was bought by Ibori for $155 Million.
Ex-Governor Ibori with former Edo State Governor, Mr. Lucky Igbinedion had run into similar problem over the recapitalization of AfriBank PLC. All two acquired shares totaling N5 Billion each. They all acquired shares on behalf of their State Government and used similar trick to convert same to private holdings. Although they were all told to pay back what they stole. Ibori was said to have returned back N5 Billion to the Delta State Government. Igbinedion instead ran away from Nigeria.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not new to controversy especially over the source of his fabulous wealth. There are also questions over his University education. In particular, many Nigerians still hope for the day when charges will be brought against Tinubu for attempting to sneak ENRON into Nigeria for Independent Power generation when the U.S Company ran into financial scandal.
On April 16, 2006, Celtel made a conditional offer for V-Mobile and in May 2006, V-Mobile was bought over by Celtel for US$1.005. Billion after Celtel acquired a controlling stake of 65% in V-Mobile.
So far, the EFCC has recovered properties, assets and money worth over $5 billion (about N625 trillion) in the last four years from thieving ex-Governors and other Nigerian Government officials