The United States’ Department of Justice on Thursday executed a forfeiture order on $401,931 in Massachusetts brokerage fund, belonging to former Bayelsa state governor and ex-convict, Diepreye Peter Solomon Alamieyeseigha.
It is a first for the Justice Department, who last year started an initiative to track down assets in the United States “linked to foreign corruption”, the Wall Street Journal reported.
DPS Alamieyeseigha, governor of Nigeria’s oil-producing state from 1999 to 2005, has long been under international scrutiny, amassing property and funds to the tune of millions of dollars using proceeds of corruption.
US prosecutors filed court papers in April 2011 targeting a $600,000 Maryland home and a Massachusetts brokerage account belonging to the former governor, but Alamieyeseigha denied allegations that the assets were ill-gotten.
The WSJ reports that the federal district judge in MA “granted a motion for default judgment and civil forfeiture on the brokerage account. Prosecutors executed the forfeiture order Thursday.”
“With a declared income of less than $250,000, Mr. Alamieyeseigha accumulated millions of dollars worth of property over a six-year period,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a news release. “Today’s announcement – the first forfeiture judgment obtained under our Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative – sends a powerful message about the United States’ commitment to rooting out corruption far and wide.”
The infamous Alams has long been investigated by law enforcement bodies in the United States, the UK and in Nigeria.
While he was still Bayelsa state’s governor, in 2003, Alams allegedly used funds he got from looting resources of the oil-rich state to purchase a $600,000 home in the Potomac area of Maryland, United States.
It was bought in the name of Solomon & Peters Ltd, a front company used by the ex-convict to purchase properties.
In 2005, his daughter, Oyindounbra, allegedly purchased a home in Whittier, California where she was attending a community college. She later sold the same home for $1.7 million before returning home to Nigeria, according to Sahara Reporters.
In 2006, he was arrested in the UK after the High Court of Justice in London found three properties and accounts held by Santolina, a faux company used by the corrupt politician to launder monies traceable to bribes.
Alamieyeseigha had attempted to jump bail dressed as a grandmother.
It is not clear where the over $400,000 in assets claimed in the forfeiture will be directed. The Justice Department says “where appropriate the Justice department will return the proceeds to benefit those harmed”.
Meanwhile the forfeiture on his $600,000 Maryland home in the United States is still pending, according to the WSJ.