Nigerian anti-corruption investigators have arrested a relative of the runner-up in Nigeria’s presidential elections as well as the candidate’s lawyer, sources said on Monday.
Alhaji Babalele Abdullahi, a son-in-law to Atiku Abubakar who was defeated in the February 23 polls, “is being investigated over an alleged case of money laundering,” an official at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said, speaking under condition of anonymity.
“The sum involved is 150 million euros ($169 million),” he claimed.
Abdullahi, who was also director of finance for Abubakar’s presidential campaign, was arrested at his home in the capital Abuja on Saturday, the source said.
Meanwhile, Abubakar’s lawyer, Uyi Osagie, was arrested on February 18 by the EFCC, who raided his home in Lagos and found sums of cash, said Boladele Adekoya, a spokesperson for Abubakar’s campaign.
“It is part of an orchestrated campaign to intimidate Atiku Abubakar,” Adekoya charged.
The agency said he was being investigated but did not confirm his detention or give details about any charges.
In a statement posted on his Twitter page, Abubakar said his son-in-law and lawyer were “paying the price for supporting me.”
“I urge those now persecuting them to remember that a government’s mandate is to pursue peace and justice for all, and not just those who support them,” he added.
The arrests come on the heels of a tense election that saw President Muhammadu Buhari re-elected for a second term.
Abubakar refused to concede defeat after the result was announced last Wednesday, denouncing the vote as a “sham election” and vowing to challenge it in court.
His Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of vote-rigging and “widespread manipulation” in the elections.
Nigeria’s electoral body delayed the vote by a week, just hours before polls were to open on February 16.
The Independent National Electoral Commission blamed the delay on logistical challenges, yet both parties criticised the decision, warning of attempts to rig the vote.
The rescheduled election saw Buhari win comfortably, gaining 15.2 million votes (56 percent) to Abubakar’s 11.2 million (41 percent).
Observers said the vote outcome was credible although it was marred by violence, including 53 deaths, according to the Situation Room, an umbrella group of more than 70 civil society groups that monitored polling.
There were also widespread reports of intimidation of voters and election officials.
Voters will be called out again on Saturday, for governorship and state assembly elections.
Dos Santos distances self from daughter’s alleged corruption during his reign as Angolan President
“The (former) President of the Republic… had no direct participation in diamond sales,” ex-president dos Santos stated in a letter to Angola’s parliament and constitutional court.
Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Friday denied links to alleged public company embezzlement during his rule, in his first response to corruption investigators last month freezing his daughter’s assets.
“The (former) President of the Republic… had no direct participation in diamond sales,” ex-president dos Santos stated in a letter to Angola’s parliament and constitutional court dated January 13 and seen by AFP on Friday.
Dos Santos also denied “participation in the sale of crude oil” produced by Sonangol, claiming revenues were monitored by the finance minister and only incorporated into the state budget after parliament’s approval.
“The (former) President of the Republic… has never transferred (money) to himself or to any other state,” he concluded. “(Those) who said he did it lied!”
Isabel dos Santos, the ex-president’s billionaire first-born, has been the target of an anti-corruption campaign led by her father’s successor President Joao Lourenco.
She is accused of using state-owned firms to divert over a billion dollars for her personal enrichment, allegations she denies and calls part of a political vendetta.
The investigation is looking at alleged irregularities involving diamond marketing firm Sodiam and Sonangol — Angola’s national oil company, which was handed over to Isabel dos Santos by her father in 2016.
In the letter to Angola’s parliament and constitutional court, dos Santos distanced himself from investigations into illicit enrichment during his rule.
It is the first time he has responded to allegations surrounding his daughter, who has repeatedly claimed her innocence.
Lourenco forced Isabel dos Santos out of the state oil firm within months of coming to power in 2017. He has since launched a purge of his predecessor’s administration.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos ruled the oil-rich southern African country with an iron fist for 38 years.
During this time, top positions were awarded to the ex-president’s cronies and wealth accumulated in the hands of a select few.
Last month, prosecutors froze the bank accounts and holdings owned by Isabel dos Santos and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo.
Dos Santos’ children claim they have been unfairly targeted by Lourenco’s anti-graft campaign.
His son Jose Filomeno went on trial last month for allegedly embezzling $500 million (around 450 million euros) from Angola’s sovereign fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018.
Nicknamed “Zenu”, he is the first member of the dos Santos family to be prosecuted and faces a maximum of 12 years in jail if found guilty.
Meanwhile, Zenu’s half-sister Welwitschia was suspended from Angola’s parliament in October for absenteeism and “unjust enrichment”.
The majority of the dos Santos have moved abroad. Thousands follow Isabel and Welwitschia’s jet-setting lifestyle on Instagram.
New Sudan intelligence chief resumes amidst tension among operatives
The Transitional Council which runs the country also accepted the resignation of General Abu Bakr Dumblab, who previously headed the NISS.
Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council has appointed General Jamal Abdul Majeed as the new head of the General Intelligence Service, formerly known as National Intelligence and Security Service, NISS.
Until his appointment, Majeed had previously headed the country’s military intelligence, a council statement said on Thursday.
The council which runs the country also accepted the resignation of General Abu Bakr Dumblab, who previously headed the NISS.
Dumblab resigned “to open the door for a new leadership to take over the agency at this sensitive and delicate stage,” the intelligence service said in statement.
Dumblab had become head of the service after the removal of Bashir, a Reuters report said.
Majeed’s appointment came days after putting down an armed revolt by former agents linked to toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir, the sovereign council said.
The army said two soldiers were killed and four wounded in fighting late on Tuesday in Khartoum with former members of the country’s once-feared security service before government forces quelled the uprising.
It was the biggest confrontation so far between the old guard and supporters of the transitional authorities, which helped topple Bashir in April after 30 years in power.
Former agents of the intelligence service, who had been protesting against their severance packages, also shut two small oilfields on Tuesday.
The military took control of the two fields, which have an output of around 5,000 barrels a day, and production resumed on Wednesday.
The revolt also forced the authorities to close Sudan’s airspace but it was reopened on Tuesday.
In a speech early on Wednesday, the sovereign council head, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, vowed to stand firm against any coup attempt and added that the army was in control of all buildings used by the intelligence service.
Restructuring the security apparatus, blamed by many Sudanese for suppressing dissent under Bashir, was a key demand of the uprising that had forced his removal. However, once dismissed by the new transitional government, many of the security agents returned to barracks without handing in their weapons.
Nigeria’s opposition demands resignation of Chief Justice Mohammed, wants Imo judgment reversed
Secondus called on the judiciary to be careful not to throw the country into chaos following its judgment on Tuesday that sacked Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State in the east of the country.
Nigeria’s largest opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has passed a vote of no confidence on the country’s Supreme Court and asked Chief Justice Tanko Mohammed to immediately resign for being a stooge of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
It also wants the judgment that sacked Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State in the east of the country to be reviewed and reversed.
“With the verdict, the Supreme Court executed a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo state as well as other Nigerians, and such must not be allowed to have a place in our democracy,” National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus said at a press briefing in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Thursday.
Secondus called on the judiciary to be careful not to throw the country into chaos following its judgment on Tuesday that sacked Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State.
The PDP therefore advises Justice Tanko not to allow himself to be used to push our nation to the path of anarchy and constitutional crisis as any further attempt to subvert justice in the pending petitions on Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Adamawa as well as Kano and Plateau states will be firmly and vehemently resisted.
“In other to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order, the PDP demands that Justice Tanko Mohammed immediately steps down as CJN and chairman of the National Judicial Council as Nigerians have lost confidence in him and a Supreme Court under his leadership,” the opposition party chairman said.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday sacked Ihedioha of the PDP as Imo state governor and announced the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Hope Uzodinma as winner of the governorship election held in March 2019.
Uzodinma was then given a new certificate of return by the electoral commission, INEC and was sworn in late Wednesday.
The opposition party also demanded that Chief Justice Mohammed immediately recuse himself from the remaining governorship election cases before the Supreme Court to avoid him influencing other judges.
Secondus said “Justice Tanko must not head the panel to determine the remaining election petitions before the Supreme Court” which include Kano, Plateau, Benue, Bauchi and Adamawa states which are mostly states governed by the opposition party.
The Supreme Court and Chief Justice Mohammed were not immediately available for comments.
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