The US government has seized a Rockville home belonging to former Bayelsa governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release last week Friday May 31.
Feds said they seized the home because the former governor bought the house using stolen state money. Alamieyeseigha was ordered to relinquish the $700,000 home on May 24, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Fedederal prosecutors claim Alamieyeseigha bought the Rockville property during his first term as governor “with funds obtained through corruption, abuse of office, money laundering and other violations of Nigerian and U.S. law.”
According to ICE, the title to the property was transferred to a shell corporation controlled by Alamieyeseigha.
Citing federal prosecutors, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Alamieyeseigha bought $8 million in properties around the globe with bribes he received while he was governor.
Alamieyeseigha, WSJ reported, denied the charges and offered a very different account than the Justice Department of how the house came into his possession. The article cites a 2011 affidavit in which Alamieyeseigha stated:
“I am not unaware of the monkey politics that is played in third world countries like Nigeria with the active connivance of over zealous individuals, agencies and government parastals (sic) touting themselves as global ethics compliance monitors. The civil forfeiture action which was brought against the defendant property in a quest to score cheap points as the global watchdog should be dismissed.”
Read The Wall Street Journal’s story here.
In a news release, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said the seizure was made possible through DOJ’s Kleptocracy Initiative.
“Foreign officials who think they can use the United States as a stash-house are sorely mistaken,” Raman said in the news release.
Alamieyeseigha pleaded guilty to money laundering and other charges in 2007 – two years after he was impeached – and was sentenced to two years in prison, The Gazette reported. He was pardoned by Nigeria’s president in March.