Alleged Bribery: US Court Orders Buhari’s Appointee To Produce Vital Documents Within 20 Days

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A United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ruled on the case of alleged bribery against the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Kesiyi Simbi Wabote in the build-up to the launch of the $4 billion Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7.

The Court, in the suit, numbered No.5:21-cv-2214, ordered the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, to produce in court, within 20 days, documents relating to the dealings during the build-up to the launch of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Bonny Train 7.





Wabote, who is the Plaintiff had sued Mr. Ude Jackson (Defendant), an international award-winning journalist famed for investigative journalism in a US court for defamation of character. 

He claimed that Ude through his online publication, Pointblanknews.com, defamed his character vide a story in which it was inferred that he financially compromised his position and abused the privileges of his office as Executive Secretary of the NCDMB in the build-up to the launch of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7.

However, the case had also taken a twist as a lawyer for Mr. Ude from Amadi Law Office at 204 Blossom Street Extension, Suite A. Lynn MA 01901, Barr. Benneth O. Amadi, in entering appearance for the journalist convinced the court to subpoena President Muhammadu Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources and also subpoena Wabote to produce vital documents expected to point out alleged cases of bribery, non-disclosure of hidden foreign accounts and money laundering activities purportedly engaged in by the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Wabote.

Defendant, Jackson, through his counsel had last week asked the court to subpoena Wabote to produce vital documents relating to the case in accordance with the instructions and definitions contained herein and in accordance with Rules 34 and 45 of the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A request the Court granted and issued an order that such documents be produced within 20 days.

The order of the US Court, which was handed on the 21st day of December 2021, upon consideration of the parties’ letter briefs, see ECF Nos. 69, 70, and 71, and after a telephone conference held on this day, 1 during which both parties presented arguments. Attorney Michael D. Cilento, Esq. participated on behalf of Plaintiff and attorneys Benneth Onyema Amadi, Esq. and Obinna I. Abara, Esq. participated on behalf of Defendant.

In the order of the Court, made available to newsmen via electronic mail, “IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT Within twenty days from this Order, Plaintiff shall provide full and complete responses to Defendant’s interrogatories 1–5, which are attached as Exhibit F to Defendant’s letter and dated November 30, 2021, see ECF No. 69-1, and all objections to same are overruled.

“That Within twenty days from this Order, Plaintiff shall provide Defendant with all of the requested documents to Defendant’s Second Request for Production of Documents numbered 1–9, which are attached as Exhibit G to Defendant’s letter and dated November 30, 2021, see ECF No. 69–12, and all objections thereto are overruled. 

“Within twenty days from this Order, Plaintiff shall provide Defendant with fully underacted versions of the bank statements he has already provided, and all objections thereto are overruled. The only exception is that Plaintiff is not required to disclose his paystubs because that information is superfluous considering that Plaintiff has disclosed his bank statements. Plaintiff’s objections to providing records from Bank of America and HSBC are sustained.

“In other words, Plaintiff need not provide bank records from Bank of America or HSBC. The currently scheduled deposition of Plaintiff is postponed but must be rescheduled for a date that falls within the next thirty days. Plaintiff’s remaining objections to Defendant’s discovery requests are sustained. 6. The Clerk Court is directed to file Exhibit B of Defendant’s letter, ECF No. 69-2.”

12-21-21 Order, Jackson Ude (1) by Sahara Reporters on Scribd

According to the Court, Wabote is warned that “If any part of any documents called for by these Requests is withheld under a claim of privilege, please produce the non-privileged portions of such documents and, as to the privileged portions of such document; Any and All Documents relating to, containing and representing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Employee Handbook and policies that have ever been in use from January 1, 2018, to the present.

“Any and All documents relating to, containing and representing the Employee Handbook and policies of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (“NCDMB”) from January 1, 2018, to the present. All documents relating to every and all the back accounts information of the NCDMB, from January 2018 to the present, through which the salaries and/or any form of remuneration have ever been paid to the Plaintiff, Simbi Kesiyi Wabote.

“Any and Every document containing and/or granting exemptions and/or allowing or permitting Plaintiff, Simbi Kesiyi Wabote, to open and feely operate foreign bank accounts, while the other Nigerian civil servants and/or public exams are prevented and/or forbidden from opening foreign bank accounts. Copies of Simbi Kesiyi Wabote’s pay stubs and/or any document(s) containing the entire earnings/salaries of Plaintiff Simbi Kesiyi Wabote as the Secretary of NCDMB, from January 1, 2018, to the present.

“Any, every and all Documents Relating to every business and/or commercial transactions and all the communications, including, but not limited to letters, emails and other tangible methods of communications, between the NNPC and Kelvion from January 1, 2018, to the present. Any, every and all the Documents Relating to every business and/or commercial transaction and all the communications, including but not limited to letters, emails and every other tangible method of communication between the NCDMB and Kelvion from January 1, 2018, to the present.

“Any, every, and all the Documents Relating to every business and/or commercial transaction and all communications, including, but not limited text, letters, emails and other methods of tangible communications between the NNPC and Saipem, from January 1, 2018, to the present. Any, every and all the Documents Relating to every business and/or transaction and all the communications, including, but nor limited io, letters, emails and other forms and methods of tangible communications, between the NCDMB and Saipem from January 1, 2018, to the present.”

Meanwhile, A civil society and accountability group, Nigerians for Accountability & Good Governance (NAGG) has written to President Buhari over alleged non-disclosure of Wabote’s two existing foreign accounts, Bank of America and HSBC, allegedly being operated by Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) without declaring it in the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) form.

According to the Group, President Buhari should immediately suspend Keisyi Simbi Wabote as the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) pending the outcome of the investigations into the allegation of non-disclosure of his foreign bank accounts and bribery in the United States Court.

The group accused Keisyi Simbi Wabote (Plaintiff) of the allegation of intentionally bringing to disrepute the $4 billion USD NLNG’s Bonny Train 7 deal, and for initiating a frivolous lawsuit in the United States which he can’t win nor provide the requested government documents to substantiate his claim; and for costing taxpayers millions in resources and time wasted. Worst of all, Wabote through his attorney allegedly begged the U.S. Court from exposing his Bank of America and HSBC bank accounts which he allegedly failed to declare in his Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) form.

They reminded President Buhari that no one is above the law, and that he ,President Buhari suspended Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen of the Nigerian Supreme Court for similar reasons in January 2019. Chief Justice Onnoghen faced charges for allegedly failing to declare his personal accounts and assets before taking office in 2017. 
The group asked the President to immediately suspend Keisyi Simbi Wabote from overseeing the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), an agency with over $2 billion portfolio, pending the outcome of a thorough investigation by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).



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