Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indicted the Nigerian subsidiary of a Chinese construction firm for allegedly aiding the fraudulent cash transactions of a Nigerian senator amounting to roughly $13 million in 2014, the nation’s Premium Times reported Tuesday.
The Nigerian subsidiary of the state-run China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) firm allegedly helped Nigerian senator Stella Oduah launder millions of dollars during a five-month period, the Premium Times revealed.
Nigeria’s EFCC filed a 25-count charge against Oduah, CCECC Nigeria Ltd., and seven other people involved in the cash transactions on December 17, 2020. The allegations include “conspiracy to commit money laundering, transferring, taking control and taking possession of proceeds of fraud, aiding and abetting money laundering and opening anonymous bank accounts.”
Oduah, who currently represents Anambra North district in the Nigerian Senate, is connected to all 25 charges. She has denied all of the EFCC’s allegations against her. One of the defendants in the case, Gloria Oditah, served as an aide to Oduah during her tenure as Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation (2011-2014). Oditah currently works as a secretary for Sea Petroleum & Gas Company (SPGC) Ltd., a Nigerian firm Oduah established.
“In seven of the counts where CCECC is indicted singly and along with Ms Oduah and Ms Oditah, the company was accused of conspiring with the women to commit money laundering, and directly transferring to [a] Private Banking Nominee account various sums of money [sic],” according to the Premium Times.
The newspaper said it had reviewed some of the charges and found that “CCECC Nigeria Limited allegedly transferred over N2.5billion [about $6,443,300] into the naira [Nigerian currency] account of [a] Private Banking Nominee between March 31 and June 6, 2014.”
The Chinese government established CCECC Nigeria Ltd. to execute international contracts and economic cooperation in the West African country, which is a signatory of Beijing’s infrastructure-building Belt and Road Initiative. CCEC Nigeria Ltd. has enjoyed decades of patronage from the Nigerian government, according to the Premium Times, and is currently “handling major infrastructural projects, such as the construction of railways and major roads” in the country under the administration of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
CCEC Nigeria Ltd. signed contracts with the Nigerian government for the construction of airport terminal projects during Oduah’s tenure as Nigerian aviation minister. Oduah was relieved of her duties as Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation on February 12, 2014, by then-president Goodluck Jonathan after she pressured the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to purchase bullet-proof BMW cars for her at highly inflated prices.