Seyi, son of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been linked to the purchase of a London mansion under fraud investigation by the federal government.
Seyi reportedly bought the house in 2017 for $10.8m through his firm, Bloomberg reported.
Citing previously unreported UK company documents, the report said the property, acquired by Seyi’s firm was part of the biggest corruption scandals the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was seeking to probe.
The documents seen by Bloomberg show the President-elect’s 37-year-old son is “the main shareholder of Aranda Overseas Corp., an offshore company that paid £9million ($10.8 million) to Deutsche Bank for the property in north London in late 2017.”
“The private three-floor residence in St. John’s Wood — a district favored by American bankers — is equipped with an eight-car driveway, two gardens, electric gates and a gym,” the report said.
It said at the time of the purchase, Nigerian government was seeking to arrest the house’s former owner, accusing him of going on the run while owing the country an oil-trading debt worth more than $1.5 billion.
“The state was also attempting to confiscate the upscale real estate and other assets it suspected had been acquired by the businessman, Kolawole Aluko, with the profits of crime,” the foreign newspaper said.
Daily Trust reports that Tinubu, 71, won the presidential election in February as the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and is scheduled to succeed Buhari on May 29.
“There’s no suggestion that President-elect Bola Tinubu was personally involved in the acquisition of the UK property in 2017. Current President Muhammadu Buhari visited him there in August 2021, nearly four years after the purchase took place. Tinubu, who will take over as head of state this month, has long been questioned about the source of his family’s wealth, including throughout the recent election campaign, when he and his representatives were pressed about it by local and international media.
“He and his campaign have said he made his fortune before going into politics by inheriting real estate, investing well and working as an accountant at Deloitte LLP and an executive at the Nigerian subsidiary of Mobil Oil in the 1980s and early 1990s. In an interview with the BBC in the run-up to the election, Tinubu cited Warren Buffett as an example he followed to become rich,” the report added.
Bloomberg said Tinubu’s spokesman and Seyi did not respond to emails, phone calls and text messages seeking comment. It also said a British lawyer listed as Aranda’s agent in the UK declined to comment citing confidentiality rules.
The report recalled that Buhari’s administration had initiated legal cases against former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and two businessmen — Aluko and Olajide Omokore — who won lucrative contracts during her tenure.
The US government said in a 2017 forfeiture lawsuit filed in Texas that the pair bribed the minister by funding her “lavish” lifestyle and failed to pay the state energy company for most of the crude they received.
The report further stated, “Alison-Madueke, who is based in London, has denied the allegations. She is challenging multiple forfeiture orders issued by Nigerian courts and has accused the anti-corruption agency of blocking her efforts to defend herself in criminal proceedings.
“In June 2016, a federal judge in the capital, Abuja, granted a request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to seize more than a dozen properties that Aluko had acquired in Nigeria and abroad, including the one in St. John’s Wood. That forfeiture order was still in force when Tinubu’s son bought the house out of receivership 16 months later.
The ruling was made on an interim basis pending the conclusion of an investigation into Aluko that was still ongoing as of at least the end of 2018, according to court filings. Aluko can’t comment on the forfeiture case because it is still “sub-judice,” his lawyer Tokunbo Jaiye-Agoro said by email.”
*Text, except the headline, courtesy of DAILY TRUST