Forex deal: AA Rano has no business relationship with Buhari’s aide  -Source

The Personal Assistant to ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, popularly known as Tunde Sabiu, has case files with anti-corruption agencies regarding alleged financial malfeasance between 2016 and 2023.

A highly placed source made the clarification during the weekend.

The source in an anti-graft agency told Economic Confidential on the condition of anonymity that they received several petitions on the activities of the former presidential aide.

It added that the allegations against him border on round-tripping and forex manipulations in cahoots with the former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele.

While the source could not put a figure on the exact amount involved in the allegations, some of the petitions accused Sabiu of influence peddling and living above his legitimate means.

Asked to explain how neck-deep billionaire businessman Alhaji Auwalu Abdullahi Rano, aka AA Rano, is, in the alleged fraudulent business activities of Sabiu, the operative said: “As I said earlier, we received several petitions on the activities of the young man and from our preliminary findings, his legitimate earnings could not explain his luxurious lifestyle.

“On the AA Rano man, we have yet to find any credible link to business dealings of former President Buhari’s PA. Of the series of petitions received on Sabiu, none mentioned AA Rano as an accomplice, even though the former allegedly invested some questionable sums of money using fronts for Maritime, Real Estate, and Oil and Gas businesses.

“While we couldn’t find evidence of AA Rano’s involvement in Sabiu’s scandals, we are still investigating the allegations to check all the leads. We are not leaving anything out.”

A $400 million fraud allegation posted on social media claims that Sabiu and AA Rano had an altercation over a business deal. According to the claims, Sabiu was alleged to have used one of the companies of AA Rano to acquire some businesses, including a property in Abuja, which cost billions of Naira.

Meanwhile, a source close to the oil magnate told Economic Confidential that there had been no business relationship besides a couple of casual meetings in which AA Rano and Sabiu exchanged warm pleasantries.

“The allegation that Sabiu used AA Rano as a front to acquire businesses and that there were altercations between the duo due to a deal that went awry are all false.

“The only property being talked about is Sigma Apartment, located in Wuse II in the heart of the capital city. The property was bought by Mr Sabiu Mahuta, the Business Development Director of AA Rano, on behalf of the company. The rumour mongers could have mistaken the director’s identity with that of the former presidential aide for sharing the first name “Sabiu.”

“The SIGMA property, which was acquired through successful bidding from AMCON at the sum of N1.9 billion in 2020, was sold a few years later at the rate of N3.4 billion to another billionaire investor and the owner of AY Maikifi Oil and Gas, who demolished the structure for a massive shopping mall on the land.

“A lot of waivers and favours that big corporations and groups benefitted from the CBN in the last administration – some of which might be questionable – were not extended to AA Rano in any way. Go and check the records.

“So all the speculations about business relationships are deliberate attempts to demarket the legitimate business interests of Alhaji AA Rano, which include airline, property, and oil and gas businesses,” the sources, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed.

Meanwhile, Economic Confidential gathered that the management of AA Rano has met with operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and another investigative panel a couple of times, where they provided relevant documents on their legitimate business and thumped their chests that their hands were clean.

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