Nigerian lawmaker threatens legal action over alleged $140m Binance bribe

Rep Okafor

Nigerian Rep Dominic Okafor

By EricJames Ochigbo

A member of the House of Representatives, Dominic Okafor, has vowed to drag the owners of an online media platform to court for over publication that he received 140 million dollars in bribes from Mr Nadeem Anjarwalla, the Binance Executive, who escaped from detention.

The lawmaker who was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA said this while denying the allegation at a press conference in Abuja on Friday.

Okafor, who represents the Aguta Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, said the claim by the online media that he received 140 million dollars bribe from Anjarwalla who was being investigated over suspected involvement in tax invasion and terrorism sponsorship was totally false.

Okafor denied knowledge of such transaction with the company, describing the report as an attempt to tarnish that image and integrity I had built over the years.

Okafor said that he moved a motion in the House to call for an investigation into the escape.

“Shortly after I moved that motion which was well received and a lot of people were calling to commend me; I started getting calls from my friends all over the world saying I collected bribe from this very company.

“I did a letter to them which I copied the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Clerk, Inspector General of Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of Security Service (DSS)

“I asked them to retrieve the information within 24 hours if not I will take legal action against them. I am here to exonerate myself from such accusations aimed at tarnishing my image which I have earned over the years,” he said.

Okafor said that he joined politics from the private sector and had been a member of Rotary International Club for over 25 years.

He said that the motion which prayed for investigation and a rearrest of the executives was for the interest of the country and nothing more.

“For the the online media man that accused me of collecting $140 million I do not think that it is something we would sweep under the carpet. I am discussing with my legal team to know the right action to take,” he said.

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Binance had earlier claimed that some Nigerian Government officials who it did not identify demanded 150 million dollar in cryptocurrency payments to resolve the ongoing criminal investigation against the company in the country.

But the Nigerian Government described the bribery allegation as a diversionary strategy and attempts by Binance to launder its impaired image as an organisation that does not play by the rules and laws guiding business conduct in sovereign nations.

Nigeria’s Minister of of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji-Mohammed Idris in a statement issued by his media aide, Mr Rabiu Ibrahim on Wednesday in Abuja said the claim by Binance lacks any iota of substance.

“While this lawful investigation was going on, an executive of Binance, who was in court-sanctioned protective custody, escaped from Nigeria, and he is now a fugitive from the law.

“Working with the security agencies in Nigeria, Interpol is currently executing an international arrest warrant on the said fugitive.

“The phantom bribe claim is part of an orchestrated international campaign by this company that is facing criminal prosecution in many countries including the United States, to undermine the Nigerian Government,” Idris said.

The Minister recalled that, a week back, the founder and former CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, was sentenced to prison in the United States, after pleading guilty to charges very similar to what Binance was being investigated for in Nigeria.

He added that Zhao agreed to pay a fine of 50 million dollar, while Binance is liable for 4.3 billion dollar in fines and forfeitures to the US Government.

“We would like to remind Binance that it will not clear its name in Nigeria by resorting to fictional claims and mudslinging media campaigns.

“The only way to resolve its issues will be by submitting itself to unobstructed investigation and judicial due process.

“The Federal Government will continue to act within its laws and international norms, and will not succumb to any form of blackmail from any entity, local or foreign,” Idris stressed.


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