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Aondoakaa’s Sleazy London Deals Exposed

March 12, 2008
Like former President Olusegun Obasanjo who imposed him on Nigeria, Umar Yar’Adua is already betraying a selective approach to his so-called continuation of the fight against corruption.

Last week, Yar’Adua ordered investigations into the financial activities of Health Minister, Professor Adenike Grange. But in a bizarre case of playing ostrich, Yar’Adua has decided to ignore the vast corrupt deals being perpetrated under his nose by Michael Aondoakaa, the most notorious member of the cabinet.

Aondoakaa, who runs Nigeria's Ministry of Justice, was in London last since week Friday cutting deals with the foreign buyers of the Ajaokuta Steel Company as well as other companies who bought controlling stakes in several national treasures sold for peanuts by Obasanjo. Some of these companies fear that Yar'adua is on the cusp of canceling the discounted sale to them of some of Nigeria’s most prized assets.

Anti-corruption agents have revealed to Saharareporters that Professor Grange is cooperating with the EFCC. She has already returned some monies that she allegedly diverted to private pockets towards the end of last year. But the agents also told us that Professor Grange may become the first high-level example of Yar'Adua's emerging selectivity in the weakening crusade against corruption.

As Yar’adua’s media handlers were leaking information about Professor Grange's investigations to the media, the regime's ultra corrupt attorney general was headed for the UK to seal a deal with the owners of the Ajaokuta Steel Company. A source who was privy to the discussions disclosed that Aondoakaa promised to help the company ward off any siege by Yar’adua, but demanded a substantial bribe.

Intelligence sources in Abuja and London told Saharareporters that, since assuming office as Nigeria's attorney general, Aondoakaa has made himself the go-to person in Yar'adua's administration for people and companies who want to stave off prosecution for corruption and other related crimes.

Aondoakaa has effectively stymied the prosecution of several former governors charged with corruption. He is said to collect “protection fees” from the former governors to shield them from prosecution.

Despite the openness of Aondoakaa’s illicit operations, our sources said Yar'adua has not been able to move against him because the life of his stolen mandate depends on Aondoakaa. The attorney general was key to bribing the five Court of Appeal justices who last week ruled that Yar’adua’s election was proper. He also helped to arrange the committee that wrote the judgment that was read by Justice John Fabiyi.

Following last week’s controversial verdict by the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal, Aondoakaa and many serving and former government officials attended a rendezvous at the Abuja residence of controversial businessman, Terry Waya, located off Chad Crescent in the Maitama area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). At the party, a gleeful Aondoakaa freely boasted about being responsible for buying Yar’adua’s “victory” at the tribunal.

In a party also attended by bailed ex-convict, former Governor James Onanefe Ibori, Mr. Aondoakaa openly bragged about how he took care of the tribunal to deliver the favorable judgement for Umar Yar'adua. He also boasted that he was going to play a pivotal role to ensure that the Supreme Court also rules in Yar’adua’s favor. That judgment is expected later in the year.

While Aondoakaa was still beating his chest, Yar’adua’s wife, Mrs. Turai Yar'adua, called him from what one guest described as a satellite phone aboard the presidential jet that was headed for China. After delivering her profuse thanks to Aondoakaa, Mrs. Yar'adua was quoted as pleading with Aondoakaa to begin work early on the next line of action. Our source said interpreted her tone of language as the project to compromise Supreme Court judges that are likely to be involved in adjudicating on the appeals filed by Abubakar Atiku and Muhamadu Buhari, both challengers to Umar Yar'adua's fraudulent elections in April 2007.

Yar'adua has already started to sound confident about his stolen mandate as exemplified by his interview with the BBC where he claimed that it is only God that can remove him from power.

Aondoakaa, who is known to have received bribes from several former governors to truncate cases brought against them by the EFCC, has a growing profile within the regime. Our sources said he was critical to Yar’adua’s reversal of his policy to revoke the sale of NITEL to Transcorp.

Our sources said Tony Elumelu, the chairman of UBA, had made the solicitation to Aondoakaa to help in getting Yar’adua to retreat from the policy of revocation. Elumelu was said to have pumped N18 billion naira into the acquisition of NITEL through Transcorp, he bribed Aondoakaa to convince Yar'adua to reverse the order revoking the NITEL deal.

On Friday, Aondoakaa flew to London to meet with several businesses that feel their illicit acquisitions of Nigerian assets may also be threatened. In a move calculated to avoid detection by UK authorities, the minister, Saharareporters sources said, booked himself under different names into two different hotels at the same time. He booked a suite at the Paddington Hilton and also checked into another hotel in the Duchester-Parklane area of London. He used both hotels to meet with different Indian businessmen threatened by Yar'adua anti-privatization activities. He also met with another group at Mr. Terry Waya's house in the John Wood area of London. The house is likely under lien from a London court judgment that found Terry Waya liable for shady mortgage activities.

Aondoakaa returns to Nigeria tonight on the last flight to Abuja from the UK, in time to coincide with the return of his principal, Umar Yar'adua whose trip to China ended today.

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