* Abdulkadir Abacha in another $23m scam
By Kingsley Omonobi
JEFFERY Tesler, the British pointsman in the distribution of the alleged $190 millionÂ Halliburton bribe to former Nigerian rulers and other officers is said to have shortchanged them to the tune of $30 million.
The British lawyer, Sunday Vanguard gathered, pocketed the money after deceiving his principal that he had distributed the bribe as instructed.
It was also gathered that one Abdulkadir Abacha, said to be on the run over the Halliburton affair, has another case to answer with the police for allegedly swindling the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria of about $18 million.
The five man inter-agency panel set up by President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua is said to have discovered that Tesler paid $30 million of the $190 million he was given for distribution to ex-Nigerian rulers into his own private accounts using secret codes known to him alone.
This he did by padding his list of beneficiaries ofÂ the bribe with fictitious names.
A source privy to the investigation said the figure of $30 million was arrived at after â€œmaking a conservative calculation of what beneficiaries from Nigeria who are prominent Nigerians got from the disbursed bribeâ€. The panel is facing frustration in questioning Tesler who has gone to court to seek an order restraining the British authorities from arresting or extraditing him to any country.
The panelists are set to go to Switzerland and some other European countries in continuation of their investigation of the involvement of the former heads of state cited in the case. The panel has already submitted a preliminary report to President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, who requested it. Vanguard had reported that the order for the submission of the interim report was to ensure that it was not compromised or influenced during the overseas trip.
Vanguard also reported that Alhaji Abdulkadir Abacha who was invited by the panel for interrogation, had bolted out of the country. He was said to have represented the late General Sani Abacha during the disbursement of the Halliburton loot. All attempts to locate his whereabouts within the countryÂ failed leading to the panel directing all border and airports security to be on the lookout for him.Â One security source said he was sighted in Dubai.
On how investigation into the role of Abdulkadir Abacha in the Halliburton scam opened the eyes of the panel to shocking discoveries of looting during the Abacha administration, the source said â€˜our investigations took us to the records of the Central Bank of Nigeria and what was discovered was shockingâ€™.
The panel discovered that the signatures of Abdulkadir Abacha and the late Abachaâ€™s son, were in the Central Bank records and there were many instances where both of them signed for the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars, pounds and Euros to foreign banks.
Abdulkadir, sources said, also has questions to answer over a $23 million contract awarded to his company for the purchase of a brand new aircraft for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria for the training of pilots. It was gathered that rather than buy a brand new aircraft, spares and other support requirements and pay for some specific period of maintenance for which the money was meant, Abdulkadir allegedly connived with some persons in France and came back with a refurbished aircraft that was over 20 years old and dumped it at the aviation college.
Sources saidÂ noted that after about a month of usage of the aircraft in 1996, it packed up. He allegedly spent less than $6 million and pocketed the balance.