Why John Fashanu Is After Me: Bob Minton
"City People" Vol 7, NO 26, Lagos, Nigeria July 12, 2000
His name may not ring a bell to most Nigerians. But Bob Minton is the Babangida administration's principal partner in the $6 billion debt buy-back scheme which former English footballer John Fashanu alleged was fraudulently done. He recently explained that there was no scam as Fashanu claims and lays bare how the transaction was done.
"The buy-back of Central Bank of Nigeria promissory notes began in March 1998 and in August 1988 we started buying restructured bank debt. We agreed with CBN that when we first started doing this we would make profits of approximately 1% at face value of the Nigerian debt that we repurchased.
By the end of the whole operation in February 1993 we had acquired 1.1 billion dollars in CBN promissory notes and approximately $3 billion of Nigerian bank debt. There were external debts of foreign currency of banks all over the world, such as Barclay's Standard Charter Bank, etc.
There is also a list of all the transactions, which amount to about 325 different transactions, over the five-year period. In addition to the $1.1 and $3 billion of bank debts, there is also an additional $450 million of multilateral debts between Nigeria government and USA, ECGE in England, Norway and Hungary).
During the course of this, a sub-total of about $4.5 billion of debt was repurchased for Nigeria. The average price for that debt was 34 cents on the dollar. Nigeria paid roughly $1.5 billion in cash to re-purchase this debt. This happened in 325 different transactions over that five-year period.
It was a very good business for Nigeria. We made a good profit at 1% of $4.5 billion, which is perfectly normal.
During the course of this whole operation, the CBN was receiving monthly reports from us and we were talking on the phone everyday to CBN. Governor Ahmed, Ishmael Usman, Sanaki, and Masanwa were dealing with the whole matter.
We were mainly discussing with the Governor on a daily basis to bring him up to date on what was going on, what we had done that day, constantly keeping him informed. Then writing a monthly report sending it to CBN and then writing a yearly detailed report to summarize everything that we have done for the year.
The $1.5 billion the CBN paid to us over this period of time was not given to us upfront. It was given in installments such as $20 million, $75 million and so on. However, constant flow of cash was coming in over this period because it was of great benefit to Nigeria. They continued to provide the resources.
During 1990, the CBN was running a little short of money and they did a deal with NNPC. The CBN sold NNPC $500 million worth of promissory notes. CBN wanted NNPC to hold the notes and NNPC will get the return on the investments and it will free up cash for CBN and they did it under a re-purchase agreement, so NNPC could sell back the notes to CBN which they did in 1992.
We were just collecting the interest from NNCP. The key thing with regards to the bank's debt is that in March 1992 we tendered all of the bank debt into an official buy-back of the Nigerian government debt, under the so-called plan. We sold back to the CBN $3 billion worth of bank debt and received back for that on 40 cents on the dollar, 1 billion and 200 million dollars. The same day we received that amount we gave it to the CBN.
We gave the debt, and there was an agent - Citi Bank. We gave all the debt to City Bank and the debt was cancelled and CBN through Citi Bank gave us $1.2 billion that was the CBN money, the debt that we held was owned by the CBN money, the debt that we held was owned by the CBN but we were nominee, that fiduciary holding the debt for CBN, so we get $1.2 billion and gave it right back to the CBN the same day.
That was a large transaction but it was just part of the whole buy-back operation. There was resources /uses of fund statement in which there was $1 billion, 205 million that was one transaction that happened on one day, where all the bank debt were verified by the agent Citi Bank. - Standard Charter also an agent and was all checked between CBN and Citi Bank. A lot of banks all over the world sold this buy-back, it was all gone, and CBN got their money back for it.
Later in 1992, probably in June or July, all the promissory notes were sent to Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, which were the agents. We received an instruction from CBN to cancel all the promissory notes (about 1000 notes) totaling $1.1 billion. Chase Manhattan Bank sent a message to CBN confirming that the promissory notes were cancelled.
From the CBN's standpoint, $3 billion was finished, wiped-off the books and $1.1 billion debt was finished and wiped-off the books.
The next amount was the multilateral debt, the 450 million. These were done in 10 or 12 transactions and all of those debt notes were given to the CBN who in turn went to the Ministry of Finance because this were owned by the Ministry of France. These debts were then cancelled and those were also finished.
Those were the 3 types of debts. At the end of the day CBN's bought back $4.5 billion and it cost $1.5 billion approximately.
Greenland Holdings and the CBN were there with Sanaki wanting to supervise how things were done. The market price was always available; it was not a hidden price. We were mainly dealing with other banks and financial institutions that were used to trading in this of debts. You negotiate the price with these institutions over the phone, say how much you are willing to sell for and then you simply strike a deal within the price range on screen. The price has gone up from 22 cents to 40 cents over the five-year period. The average price being 34 cents.
The present problem is that John Fashanu came with this report talking about this big debt scam, money laundering, etc. That the debt scheme was part of a money-laundering scheme for General Babangida. He mentioned Abacha, but we had finished in February 1993. Abacha came in to power in August 1993. There was a daily account. There is no possibility that anything more than that amount went through those accounts.
John Fashanu has been used by the Church of Scientology, an organization that considers me to be their greatest enemy in the world. There is no chance that Fashanu investigated it on his own. His investigator is a full time worker for Scientology. He has been given this report so that I can be discredited as an effective critic of Scientology in USA, Europe- France and Germany.
This is a vendetta on Scientology's part against me and they are using Fashanu and Nigeria as a tool to beat me on the head with the clock and that is the bottom line. The fraudulent transaction, money-laundering claim for IBB is not true. The investigator, Robert Clark for Fashanu goes by two different names i.e. David Lee and David Laubach.
I have spent over $4 million of my own money fighting Scientology in the last five years, helping people who have been hurt by Scientology. One person, a female was killed by Scientology and I helped her family prosecute a lawsuit against Scientology who stands over $100 million. They have tried to come to me and pay me off to force the family into settlement.
I am exposing Scientology for the type of Totalitarian organization they are. They like to hide behind religion; they are not a religion but a political movement that disguises itself as a religion. They are not willing to accept or receive any criticism. They say that anybody that speaks against them is a criminal.
They have people prosecuting me for criminal actions. I have been to court twice on this account. They have used different mechanisms to get me arrested and to stop being a critic of Scientology. That is really what it is all about."