An interesting item appeared in the December 14, 2021, issue of The Saint Lucia Gazette that has again highlighted questions about the sufficiency of the due diligence process undertaken by those in charge at the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) under the previous Allen Chastanet administration.
The issue came to the fore with the Citizenship by Investment (Boniface Amandianeze Odenigbo) (Revocation) Order made under Statutory Instrument No. 206 [14th December, 2021], which canceled the citizenship of a Nigerian, Boniface Amandianeze Odenigbo, secured under the CIP.
The said document revealed that the Minister responsible for the CIP, Dr. Ernest Hilaire, “in exercise of the power conferred under Sections 38(1) and 39 of the Citizenship by Investment Act, Cap. 1.20” had issued a “Citation” and a “Revocation Order” regarding the Saint Lucian Citizenship granted to one Boniface Amandianeze Odenigbo.
The order stated: “The grant of citizenship to Boniface Amandianeze Odenigbo is revoked, as in the opinion of the Minister, Boniface Amandianeze Odenigbo has committed an act which may bring Saint Lucia into disrepute.” The order was signed by the minister on December 3.
Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) discovered that the Nigerian, Odenigbo, had been arrested and charged in Nigeria for “fraud and money laundering,” something the last administration had failed to uncover.
As far back as July 5, 2021 – when the then United Workers Party (UWP) and the then administration were too busy preparing for the snap July 26 General Elections – a Nigerian news agency PM News, had published an item headlined: EFCC arrests Lagos nightclub owners for fraud.
According to the story by reporter Nimot Sulaimon,
Boniface Odenigbo Amandianeze and Olasunmbo Olawale Winfunke in EFCC net, charged with “Alleged com puter fraud and money laundering.”
“operatives of the Lagos Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had arrested two suspects for alleged internet fraud and money laundering.
The suspects, Boniface Odenigbo Amandianeze and Olasunmbo Olawale Winfunke, owners of Buzz Bar, a nightclub located on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, were arrested recently at No 2A and 2B Oniru Estate, Lagos.
Their arrest followed credible intelligence received by the Commission about their alleged involvement in romance scam, business email compromise, benefit scam, credit card fraud and money laundering.
Upon their arrest, four exotic cars, mobile devices, laptop computers, jewelry and wristwatches worth hundreds of millions were recovered from them.
Further investigations had also established a nexus with other associates, suspected to be into computer-related fraud. They will soon be charged...”
The Revocation Order came four months after the above news items had been published, and 21 days after Saint Lucians had been to the polls on July 26