Nigerian politician indicted in US and UK could become governor
Andy uba, a controversial Nigerian politician, indicted a few years ago for smuggling dollars to the United States and pounds sterling to the United Kingdom, is close to becoming the next governor of State of Anambra.
Mr Uba has been the subject of a US investigation into an advance fee fraud scheme known as 419 in Nigeria, according to the US government.
In the UK, where he was banned from entering, authorities said the Nigerian politician was associated with “fraud and other criminal activity”, and that “his presence in the UK would not be not conducive to the public good â.
Mr. Uba is the candidate of one of the main political parties, the Congress of All Progressives (APC), for the election of the governor on November 6 in Anambra State, in south-eastern Nigeria.
He had already been sworn in as state governor in 2007, but his election was overturned by the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the grounds that Peter Obi, the man who was state governor at the time, did not had not yet completed his four-year term. mandate.
Mr. Uba was then a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
As the home affairs assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo, he was at the time one of the most influential politicians in the country.
Charged in the United States
Mr. Uba, also known as Emmanuel Uba, got into trouble with the US government in 2003 for smuggling $ 170,000 into the United States, using the Nigerian presidential plane that flew to New York for a United Nations meeting.
He hid the bulk money, did not report it to John F. Kennedy International Airport and then handed it over to his girlfriend, contrary to US law that he knew as a regular traveler and as someone who has lived in the United States before, according to court documents released by the US government.
The US government seized the $ 170,000 after going through legal proceedings in which Mr. Uba and his girlfriend, Loretta Mabinton, were represented by lawyers.
Ms Mabinton said the money was intended for Mr Uba’s “personal businesses” in the United States
The US government also seized a luxury car, a 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500, which Ms Mabinton bought in the US for $ 91,262.50 and wanted to ship it to Nigeria for Mr Uba, whose address in Nigeria was in court documents at 772 Ibrahim Taiwo Street. , Asokoro, in Abuja.
Ms Mabinton told a Mercedes Benz representative that it was a birthday present for her boyfriend, Mr Uba. She wanted the car to arrive in Nigeria before December 14, 2003.
Ms Mabinton, among her many financial transactions, also paid $ 45,487.28 to purchase farm equipment that was shipped to President Obasanjo’s farm, Obasanjo Farms Nig Ltd, in Nigeria.
A few days before the interception of the Mercedes Benz SL500, Ms. Mabinton made deposits totaling $ 200,000 in a US bank, in addition to numerous other deposits classified by the US government as âsuspectâ.
Twenty-six thousand dollars ($ 26,000) was also seized from Ms. Mabinton by the US government.
Mr. Uba brought the bulk money to the United States in “a purple plastic bag,” according to an affidavit from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement special agent Guy Gino.
âThe change consisted of 1,600 new 100 FRNs of $ 100 stamped with the phrase ‘AL GULAM’,â the agent said.
AL GULAM is a bureau de change operator in Abuja, as verified by PREMIUM TIMES.
The arguments of Mr. Uba’s girlfriend that he had diplomatic immunity as an assistant to the Nigerian president and also that the United States should look away from the incident since the money was transported in a presidential plane, were rejected by the US government.
âUba has no official diplomatic status in the United States and has no right to act in an official capacity for the government of Nigeria while in the United States.
“Even if the money had been transported to the United States via a diplomatic bag, the money could only be used for official Nigerian government purposes,” said US law enforcement officer Mr. Gino in his affidavit.
The United States has also rejected Mr. Uba’s claims that the money seized came from his personal savings and money from his family. They said the Nigerian politician “had not provided any documentation showing that the source of the $ 170,000 was legitimate.”
US officials say Mr Uba could have transferred the money to the US through a Nigerian bank, but chose not to do so to avoid drawing attention to it. .
Uba: Not welcome in UK
Mr Uba has also had problems with the British government and has been barred from entering the European country.
‘Based on your character, conduct and association with fraud and other criminal activity, your presence in the UK would not be conducive to the public good and the Home Secretary has therefore decided that you should be excluded from all UK territories. UK authorities told Uba in a December 2, 2008 letter advising him of a decision to revoke his UK multiple visit visa, a document from a London court revealed.
Despite his ban, Mr Uba attempted to enter the UK on December 24, 2008 aboard a private jet.
British authorities turned him back to London Luton Airport, after having confiscated a large sum of money from him, approximately â¬ 135,000.
British authorities said he also had “a large amount of gold jewelry in his possession.”
The UK government said it suspected the money was “from crime or would be used for criminal purposes”.
Surprisingly, â¬ 100,000 of the money found on Mr. Uba, “was subsequently reported missing and subsequently investigated.”
The remaining sum, according to the court document, was seized by the UK government under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and subsequently confiscated by order of the Court.
Mr Uba, since then, has made some unsuccessful attempts in court to challenge his exclusion from the UK.
In one case, in 2011, he presented to British authorities his status as a newly elected senator in Nigeria. He said the Nigerian constitution would have prohibited him from running for and holding political office if he was actually involved in criminal activity.
But that didn’t help him as the UK government refused to revoke his exclusion.
Uba: APC beautiful bride
PREMIUM TIME could not immediately get Mr. Uba’s comment for this report as he did not respond to calls and text messages from our reporter.
APC chairman in Anambra, Basil Ejidike, said he was unaware that his party’s candidate for governor was in trouble with the US and UK authorities.
âAndy (Uba) is not running for office for the first time. The fact remains that he has already been elected governor, âhe told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday.
The newspaper also spoke to Mr Uba’s media assistant, Arinze Igboeli, who said Mr Uba remains a “regular visitor” to the US and UK.
He said the former senator made “very recent” trips to the two countries.
When told about the court document as proof that Mr Uba was not allowed to enter the UK, Mr Igboeli retorted: “I have not seen such a report, I cannot speak of what I don’t know. “
Anambra’s APC appears to be doing quite well since Mr. Uba became its candidate for governor, albeit under controversial circumstances. Six states lawmakers have defected from the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Grande Alliance (APGA), to the APC.
State Senator Stella Oduah also defected from PDP to APC.
However, it is still unclear how Mr Uba’s indictments in the UK and US will affect him in the next election.
“This is the best opportunity for Senator Uba,” said his assistant, Mr Igboeli. âHe has this appeal to the grassroots and to the political class. “
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