wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01ABUJA2665 2001-10-18 15:56:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: LAW ENFORCEMENT MEETING WITH ATTORNEY

Tags:   SNAR CJAN KCRM NI 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 002665 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INL AND AF
DEAHQ FOR OFE
DOJ FOR OIA--JASON CARTER AND OPDAT--J. SILVERWOOD


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2011
TAGS: SNAR CJAN KCRM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: LAW ENFORCEMENT MEETING WITH ATTORNEY
GENERAL


REF: ABUJA 1234


1.(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter. Reasons
1.5 (b) and (d).


2.(C) Summary: An October 16 meeting with Nigeria's Attorney
General
gave the Ambassador a chance to review and update progress on
numerous law enforcement issues. The
Attorney General was positive in responding on all topics,
though his personal
involvement in these bilateral issues seems to be ebbing
beacause of
growing demands placed on his schedule in the run-up to the
2002 and 2003 elections. Under
the caretaker leadership of the Minister of State for
Justice, however, some valuable work has been done on
designing a new Financial Crimes Commission to tackle money
laundering more effectively. As reported reftel, we will
work increasingly with the Minister of State in the AG's
absence. End Summary


3.(C) Ambassador, accompanied by RNLEO and DEA Attache, met
with Attorney General and Minister of Justice Chief Bola
Ige at the Minister's office October 16. The AG, joined by
Minister of State Musa Elayo Abdullahi and Permanent
Secretary Solicitor

SIPDIS
General Mrs. T.A.A. Osinuga, began by extending condolences
to the U.S. Government over the tragic terrorist attacks of
September 11. He then stated briefly to a media
representative that he and the Ambassador would be discussing
plans for a meeting of a US-Nigeria Law Enforcement
"Commission" to address the serious mutual crime issues of
drug trafficking, financial fraud, money laundering, and
extradition.


Staging the Bilateral LE Committee Meeting


--------------------------




4.(C) After the reporter's departure, discussion turned to
the Bilateral Committee in earnest. The Ambassador noted
the tentative plans of President Obasanjo to travel to
Washington on November 2 and suggested that a meeting of the
LE Committee be held the day after the visit. This might be
advantageous since some of the GON officials
to attend the Committee meeting may also be in the
President's party. Alternatively, we could
propose to Washington a meeting in mid- or late-November.


5.(C) The AG disclosed that he would be in New York November
3-9 to attend UN meetings on the International Law
Commission and the election of Law Commission members, of
which he is a candidate. Ige suggested
the LE Committee meeting be held in Washington on Friday,
November 9. The Ambassador agreed to forward this
suggestion to the Department and further suggested that
November 8 be used for working-level pre-meeting
discussions. Ige concurred.


6.(C) RNLEO then briefed the AG on the Post's nominal agenda
(sent to Department/INL via septel) for the
Committee meeting: discussion of GON progress made; USG
concerns; GON concerns; and benchmarks/roadmaps for future
progress in eight areas. These are: counter-narcotics,
financial fraud, money laundering, corruption, police
reform, trafficking in persons, extradition, and immigration
crimes.




Great Drug Enforcement Vigor


--------------------------




7.(C) Offering compliments on the NDLEA's record seizure of
60 kilograms of cocaine at a Lagos sea port on August 27,
the Ambassador Jeter noted that under Chairman Lafiaji's
leadership, the agency appears to be showing greater
commitment and
effectiveness. Most recently, NDLEA units seized two modest
shipments of cocaine at the Kano airport (arriving
by a KLM passenger from Curacao). Last week the NDLEA
recorded it's first-ever
seizure of narcotics boarding the South African
Airways/Nigeria Airways (SAA/NA) flight to New York. The
AG concurred, noting he had personally intervened to deny
bail to the three suspects (two Nigerians and one
Brazilian) arrested in connection with the 60 kilogram
seizure, and he would participate in their prosecution.
He also praised Lafiaji's work, characterizing him as "a
serious man committed to his cause."


Extradition


--------------------------




8.(C) Noting the postponement of the earlier planned October
15-18 DOJ/OPDAT extradition workshop because of Washington
commitments and
security concerns following the September 11 terrorist
attacks, Ambassador Jeter stated that the USG hopes to
reschedule this valuable exchange as soon as possible.
Despite this delay, he urged the Ministry of Justice to
move ahead with plans to establish a dedicated unit of
extradition prosecutors. Ige replied that he had been
"working on this issue the previous day" and we would soon
see results. Ige then acknowledged receiving a letter from
RNLEO, written on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice,
withdrawing USG extradition requests of five Nigerian
citizens wanted to stand trial for fraud and money
laundering.


9.(C) The Ambassador reviewed our concerns over malafide
passengers boarding the SAA/NA flight to New York and the
recent incident at the Lagos airport in which an INS agent
was assaulted by an irate passenger attempting to board the
New York flight with fraudulent documents. Noting that he
has raised these concerns with Aviation Minister Kema
Chikwe, following Washington consultations with the
commisioner of the INS,
the Ambassador stated that security at the Lagos airport must
be improved to prevent criminals from
operating with impunity. In this regard, Minister Chikwe's
claim of the imminent creation of a Magistrate's Court
within the Lagos airport was most welcome news. Once
operating, this court could prosecute
expeditiously people arrested for using counterfeit documents
and creating security problems within the
airport.


Judicial Reform and Corruption


--------------------------




10.(C) Ambassador Jeter briefed the AG on the status of
USAID's Judicial Reform Project, an $2.5 million effort now
starting its second year and focusing on strengthening
judicial performance in three pilot jurisdictions (the
Kaduna, Lagos, and Abuja/Federal Capital Terrority High
Courts). Similar assistance would be provided to the GON's
two year-old Anti-Corruption Commission in the coming year.
$414,000 in ESF funds provided through INL and the
Department of Justice's Overseas Prosecution Development and
Training (OPDAT) program would assist the new Commission
in building its capacity, training it staff, and providing
modest recording equipment to transcribe more efficiently
court proceedings (currently taken by the judge in
long-hand).


Money Laundering


--------------------------




11.(C) Drawing on President Bush's September 23 Executive
Order seeking a worldwide freez of terrorists' assets,
the Ambassador described the deficiencies in Nigeria's money
laundering regime, as identified by the Financial
Action Task Force (FATF). Most crucial is the need for
legislative reform to criminalize all forms of money
laundering and establish a strong, unambiguous central point
of authority for all anti-money laundering efforts in
Nigeria. A high level of cash liquidity and inadequate
financial controls, make Nigeria's economy conducive
to money laundering, stressed Jeter. The Attorney General
agreed with this assessment and claimed that the
GON is working to correct these weaknesses through
legislative changes to the existing 1995 money laundering
law and the creation of a "Financial Crimes Commission" (FCC)
capable of fighting all forms of
financial crime including money laundering. Ige agreed with
the Ambassador's assertion that this FCC could serve
as a central coordinating body for handling money laundering
issues. Minister of State Abdullahi
interjected that, during the AG's recent absence, he had
supervised the drafting of the new legislation
to create the FCC, which has been sent to the President for
approval. Abullahi agreed to provide the Mission a copy of
the draft bill.




Comment


--------------------------




12.(C) This was the Mission's first substantive meeting with
the AG in several months. With the approach of the
2002 and 2003 elections, the AG is becoming increasingly
consumed with political responsibilities (Ige is a senior
leader of the AD Party and the quasi-political Yoruba
socio-cultural organization "Afenifere"). His extended
absences from the Justice Ministry were evident in his lack
of currency on several issues. That said, however, Ige
remains capable of intervening directly with the President, a
long-time friend, to achieve results on a particular law
enforcement or judicial issue. We expect to see tangible
responses on some, but not all of the concerns presented to
Ige. Given his Ministry's role as architect of the new
Financial Crimes Commission, we particularly hope that he
absorbs and relays our concerns on money laundering to the
President -- a message the Ambassador has presented
consistently to senior GON officials during the past few
weeks.
Jeter