Africa Monitor Declares Reckless, the Pardon Granted to the Convicted Felon and Former Governor of Bayelsa State – Nigeria, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha by President Goodluck Jonathan
Posted by Africa Monitor USA, Inc.
As a matter of public record, in September of 2005, Mr. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was arrested in London on charges of money laundering. He was arraigned and awaiting trial when he suddenly fled in a mysterious manner to Nigeria where as a governor, he had immunity from prosecution. This led to an international arrest warrant (still pending) that was placed on him by the UK authorities.
While he escaped to Nigeria, due to the mounting international pressures, the Bayelsa State Assembly courageously impeached Mr. Alamieyeseigha for the crimes of corruption, which paved the way for his prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for which he pled guilty and served a short jail term in Nigeria.
In its Press Release of June 28, 2012, the US Department of Justice (Office of Public Affairs) declared it had “forfeited $401,931 in assets traceable to Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha…in a Massachusetts brokerage fund.”
It further stated: “In a separate pending civil forfeiture case filed in the District of Maryland, the Justice Department is seeking forfeiture of additional property traceable to Alamieyeseigha, a private residence worth more than $600,000 in Rockville, MD. The complaint alleges that the property was involved in money laundering.”
It is noteworthy that when Mr. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was governor of Bayelsa State, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was his deputy governor. And when Mr. Alamieyeseigha was impeached as governor - for financial crimes by his State Assembly, Goodluck Jonathan who was then his Deputy Governor became the Governor, and later the president of Nigeria.
Whereas Africa Monitor does not question the powers of a President to grant pardons to deserving felons under the Nigerian constitution, it believes that this particular pardon was given (in quid pro quo) as a personal favor by President Jonathan to a one-time benefactor, which is detrimental to the nascent democracy and rule of law in Nigeria.
The ill-conceived pardon has drawn international criticism, especially from wide segments of Nigerians who feel that the President has betrayed them by setting back the fight against corruption in their country.
By international statistics, Nigeria is one quarter of the entire continent of Africa and has the highest number of its citizens currently residing in the United States than any other African nation. Thus, if Nigeria fails as a nation, the impact would be unbearable for the world, hence the reason to hold the government of Nigeria to a much higher standard of probity and accountability for Africa’s sake in particular, and for the world in general.
In the coming weeks, Africa Monitor will deliver a petition to the US Congress for a review of the Nigerian government‘s obligations under various international treaties, especially as related to transparency in government and money laundering laws with a recommendation to sanction the government and its officials for breaching international laws and democratic principles.
Africa Monitor USA, inc. is a non-profit organization seeking to facilitate democracy; civic engagement and responsibility; good governance; and the rule of law in Africa. It was established in New York - USA on September 3, 1996, and granted a tax-exempt status under the IRS Code 501(C) (3) by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
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