The last might not have been heard about the alleged purchase of Le Meridien Hotel in Port Harcourt by the former Executive Director of First Bank of Nigeria in charge of Public Sector and current Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal. According to available facts, Mr Lawal’s ties with the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Madam Diezani Alison – Madueke, allegedly paved the way for her purchase of the luxurious hotel in Port Harcourt in cash, using the embattled Zamfara Governor as her conduit.
Mr. Dauda, sources confirm, was said to have provided the $25 million cash that was paid for the purchase of the Port Harcourt hotel.
This $25m is said to be part of the over $150m allegedly mapped out for the 2015 elections by the former minister using a coterie of bank Chief Executives then, of which Mr Lawal was said to be part of. In fact, a first prosecution witness during the trial of the corruption case against Dauda told Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, how he delivered 12 padlocked bags containing $70m to an Abuja-based banker on the instruction of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The Zamfara State Governor who had recently declared to have had over $5 billion in bank accounts in his Code of Conduct Asset Declaration Form is said to have been the go-to-guy between Diezani and a number of deals she made during the latter’s reign as the henchwoman in the ministry of petroleum. Trillions of Naira have been rumored to have passed through Diezani, of which some were used to acquire choice properties across the world, while others were channeled to purchase shares in major multinational corporations and others remained in hard currencies.
Investigators and anti-corruption campaigners have questioned Mr Dauda Lawal’s uncanny wealth and claims to have billions of dollars with no known credible source of income. Anti-corruption agencies have also been called upon to probe into Dauda’s asset declaration.