Nigerian socialite, Terry Waya, was on Wednesday arrested by the British Police on alleged money laundering offences.
An official of the Scotland Yard, Alan Crockford, confirmed the arrest to The Guardian last night. He said: \”Officers from Serious Crime Directorate arrested a man aged 44 on November 23 at his home address in North London icw (in connection with) a money laundering enquiry.\”
The British Police Department disclosed further: \”Items were recovered from the property,\” adding: \”He has been bailed to return on a date in June 2006.\”
Waya, a Benue State-born businessman, had on October 19 issued paid advertisements in newspapers claiming to have been one of the sureties of the Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who at the weekend jumped bail while on trial also for money laundering and returned to Nigeria.
In the advertisement, he accused President Olusegun Obasanjo of masterminding the Bayelsa governor\’s arrest and declared that the British Police accepted his offer to stand surety for the governor after finding him blameless in business and personal conducts.
But the Governor\’s camp immediately denied the claim by Waya that he stood surety for Alamieyeseigha\’s bail to the tune of ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£500,000 (about N114.4 million).
The governor\’s aides were reported to have said that Waya\’s \”false claims were capable of dampening the moral of the real people who put up the money for the bail\”.
An Alamieyeseigha aide was quoted to have said: \”The governor is quite disturbed by the claims of Mr. Waya. Even if it were true that he put up the money, and he did not, would he go about shouting on rooftops that this is what he has just done?\”
The aide added: \”His Excellency is also not at all pleased with the name calling that he (Waya) embarked upon, referring to some people as the \”anti-Christ.\”
I can tell you that he (governor) is extremely embarrassed to have been associated with this whole Waya affair. In fact, we believe Mr. Waya may be acting out a script which has very little to do with recent travails of the governor.\”
Alamieyeseigha, who was arrested on September 15 at Heathrow Airport, London, on his way from Germany where he had gone for medical attention and was charged with money laundering having been found with ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£1.8 million in cash, returned to Nigeria in mysterious circumstances at the weekend.
Former Minister of Industry and chairman of the African Business Round Table, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur yesterday asked Alamieyeseigha to return to the United Kingdom (UK) to clear his name over money laundering charges levelled against him.
Tukur told reporters in Lagos yesterday that the return of the governor to Nigeria was criminal.
He said: \”It is very wrong for the governor to jump bail. It is a crime, you do not jump bail anywhere in the world\”.
He added: \”He should go back and face trial in the UK, this is the only option for him.\”
On President Obasanjo\’s alleged third term bid, Tukur said such speculations were normal in a democracy.
His words: \”What so many people have been saying about third term bid of Mr. President is the privilege we all have in democracy. Do not be afraid about it.\”
He added people are free to talk about the third term bid. People are free to express their opinion about it. But at the end of the day, the voice of the majority of the people would prevail.\”
On whether he supports the third term bid, Tukur said: \”That is personal.\”