[This is mostly a repeat of other news articles but is posted because I hadn't noticed previously that Fashanu himself has ties to the same dictator Scientology has accused Minton of having ties to.
It also describes Fashanu's image as "battered" and someone with a "battered image" is often prime cult-bait. He is precisely the sort of celebrity the cult likes to use.]
Nigerian News Du Jour (NNDJ)
April 4, 2000
A Compendium of Private and Public News on Nigeria from Various Sources
Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD
Burtonsville, MD, USA
FASHANU STARTS WAR AGAINST IBB
Millionaire businessman John Fashanu has launched a corruption war against General Ibrahim Babangida, the Abacha family and several government officials over a dubious debt buy back scheme perpetrated by Nigeria's former ruling elite in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Fashanu, 37, now Nigeria's official sports ambassador told London based Sunday Times that he has been investigating the fraud against Babangida since 1998. ''I and one other person have personally financed this investigation. I consider it a duty. Nigeria's reputation reflects badly on all of us and it is time it was cleaned up. As a Nigerian, I want this sorted out'' Fashanu was quoted as saying in the Sunday Times. But the former Wimbledon and Aston Villa striker's critics are unsure of his real motives following his close links with the Abachas when they were in power. ''Was it not the same Fashanu that was virtually residing in Aso Rock when Abacha was there?'' querried Olufela Adegboyega a Lagos based human rights activist. ''It is public knowledge that Fashanu was among those who organised General Abacha's so called one million man march in 1998. So what is he up to now. Is he trying to redeem his battered image or is he lobbying for more government contract or sports minister'' Adegboyega added.
Fashanu says he was influenced by national pride. But sources say he wants to redeem himself of the Abacha tag. He has made no secret of his political ambitions and has been mooted as a future sports minister. Fashanu said he met Nigeria's High Commissioner to the UK, Prince Bola Ajibola and handed over to him a dossier which has led to the freezing of five bank accounts starched with £125 million in Switzerland and Austria. ''There are a lot of prominent names among the beneficiaries'' Fashanu said without giving further details. However the period of the alleged fraud shows he is taking on former dictator Ibrahim Babangida who ruled Nigeria during the period that was investigated. Fashanu said he stunbled into the information three years ago when he ran checks on some potential business partners in Nigeria. ''A lot of information began to come out. I was even called anonymously and offered £500,000 if I stopped making my enquiries. I had to hire private investigators. It got bigger and bigger, until we were looking at a fraud of at least $6 billion, involving 200 separate bank accounts. I have all the data and information on the people who have stolen this money''. Fashanu says he has been warned off the investigation several times and had received two anonymous threatening phone calls last week.
The Sunday Times reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria had already established that up to £7.75 billion of government payments made between 1988 and 1993 are unaccounted for. The sum was part of the windfall from higher oil prices after the Gulf war. ''Some of this had been earmarked for currency stabilisation and debt buy-back, but these schemes cost only £1.5 billion and there are no records of other payments during the period. Nigeria's decision to buy back its debt in 1988 was kept secret because it was technically illegal. With official government backing, two Americans, Jeffrey Schmidt and Robert Minton, with close links to Babangida were brought in to set up front companies and offshore companies''. Minton had admitted to the newsletter Africa Confidential that he made a lot of money through the transactions but not in the region being reported. ''We made tens of millions of dollars, not hundreds of millions and certainly not billions'' Minton told Africa Confidential. The two Americans reportedly used a London based company, Growth Management to buy back the debt with funds from Nigeria channelled through a leading Austrian bank.
Fashanu's latest project will almost certainly bring him into confrontation with Babangida, the self styled evil genius, who, apart from the Abacha family, is one person Nigerians want indicted. The issue of the unaccounted for Gulf War oil windfall estimated at $12.4 billion is still an albatross hanging around the neck of the former dictator.