By Ise-Oluwa Ige
The last is definitely yet to be heard on the controversy touching on whether or not the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had actually cleared three ex-governorsâ€”Chief James Ibori (Delta), Obong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (Lagos), on alleged involvement in money-laundering in the sale of their statesâ€™ shares in V-Mobile worthÂ millions of dollars.
The brokerage firm, African Development Fund Incorporation (ADFI), which is at the centre of the controversy for the alleged questionable roles it played in the sales of the V-mobile shares, yesterday dismissed the London Metropolitan Police of pursuing a hidden agenda against the government of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua and Ibori.
The firm specifically accused the London Police of aiming to bring down the Yarâ€™Adua government and its client (Ibori) whose name, in the thinking of the London Police, is synonymous with corruption.
The firm yesterday also denied local media reports that it handled the sales of Lagos State’s share in the telecommunication firm (V-Mobile).
In a statement released yesterday by ADFI from London and signed by Charles Hewitt to newsmen, it said: ”In light of the recent events, the directors of the company wish to record the following: ADF, has, at all times acted properly and responsibly and vehemently denies the charges made against its directors, Lambertus de Boer and Daniel McCaan in the transaction. The charges are without foundation, malicious and reckless and will be strenuously defended.”
â€ADF and its directors will be immediately seeking to dismiss the unfounded charges.
â€The recent actions are an affront to all forms of justice but more so the truth.
â€œThe agenda is purely political and intended to serve the short-term purposes of a few, in particular the Metropolitan Police.
â€The Metropolitan Police fully understands the transaction, but for reasons which are becoming clearer, they have presented a less than truthful position in alleging these charges.
â€œThey have a preconceived notion that any transaction involving certain Nigerians are automatically corrupt. These are very dangerous precedents and cannot exist in a trusted and evolved judicial system.
â€ADFâ€™s role in the V-mobile transaction is beyond reproach. It is in compliance with all international and Nigerian domestic law and regulations.
â€œIts brokerage fee was based purely on success, together with a pre-determined ratchet uplift for securing the highest price at pre agreed milestones on a Nigerian private company transaction is well within all international and domestic standards. â€œThe overall value of the V-Mobile transaction was in excess of $1.65billion. The value on return to Delta State and Akwa Ibom was in excess of $250m each. A 5% fee was the only money paid out to ADFI for having successful pushed the faltering deal to closure and protected the States interest.
â€œHad no deal been concluded, no fee was payable. The investments by both the States were well rewarded and ADF played its role in achieving this.
â€Contrary to the media reports, ADF did not represent Lagos State .
â€ADF co-operated fully in the EFCC investigations, which were satisfactorily concluded in November 2008.
â€œThe V-mobile matter was fully investigated and the findings were clear and unambiguous – there was no case to answer. It is believed that the ADF attack is in response to the recent successful abuse of process arguments launched by Iboriâ€™s legal team in London .
â€œIt has spearheaded the arguments in London , which have been adopted by all the other legal teams. The legal team challenges the veracity of the allegations and their lawfulness.
â€œIt is this that has upset the London Police, which if they lose it will be highly damming.Â The UK teams say there is simply no case to answer and there never was one. Even a blind man can see that this entire Ibori sagaÂ is politically motivated matter and one with a sinister goal; designed to bring down the current Nigerian government.
The London PoliceÂ have merely created mischief and mayhem, distorted the true facts and turned a genuine commercial transaction into criminality.
A senior spokesperson for Arlingtons Sharmas has commented â€œ We have complied with all requirements in respect of the money-laundering regulations.
It is an unfortunate political witch hunt against one of the firmâ€™s clients. We continue to remain firmly behind and support Mr Gohil, we will continue to fight for what is right without fear and favourâ€ the statement added.