Liberia: From Obi Cubana to Sheik Bassirou – How VP Taylor Gets Involved with Suspected Hard Core Money Launderers?
MONROVIA – While the United States Court’s disclosure that Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor had “very close personal relationship” with Sheik Bassirou Kante who was arrested by the U.S. government for money laundering and wire fraud comes as a surprise to many, FrontPageAfrica has uncovered that Nigerian millionaire Obi Cubana was arrested in Nigeria last November shortly upon his return from Liberia where he reportedly held discussions on possible business partnership with Vice President Taylor.
The discussion between Obi Cubana and the Vice President remains unclear, but the Nigerian millionaire came into the country with a host of wealthy friends including EMoney and Kay Cee, who are also both business tycoons and billionaires in Nigeria.
According to reports, Cubana had been looking forward to building a very large estate in Nigeria and intended to partner with powerful politicians for the venture.
Pictures of Cubnana, his friends and the Vice President surfaced on social media and blogs immediately after the meeting.
However, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes believed that he had been involved in money laundering and tax fraud arrested him on November 1, 2021 and subjected him to interrogation.
Cubana came to prominence in Nigeria after he held a lavish and extravagant funeral for his mother, Ezinne Iyiebu, in Oba, Anambra State last July.
At the funeral, it is reported that Cubana and his friends killed over 200 cows, splashed diamond-encrusted jewelry for the ceremony, and pledged 300 million Naira (US$722,369.37). The funeral lasted a week and brought the state into a lockdown.
In the case involving Sheik Bassirou who was also arrested in the United States on April 20, 2022, for wire fraud amounting to over US$7 million could not secure a bail bond for his release from prison pending trial due to his strong ties with Vice President Jewel Howard and his possession of a Liberian diplomatic passport, among other reasons.
In a written Order, Judge Timothy J. Sullivan found that the weight of the evidence against the Bassirou was strong and that he was subject to a lengthy period of incarceration if convicted. He is also subject to removal from the United States through deportation after serving his full term if convicted.
The Judge at the same time emphasized that Bassirou, alias Royal Gold, possessed multiple passports from various countries as well as fraudulent identification documents. He had unexplained assets and sources of large amounts of money and had close ties to government governments – particularly, the government of Liberia.
“The Defendant’s ties to Liberia, moreover, are especially deep. The email search warrant production revealed that the Defendant has a close personal relationship with the Vice President of Liberia. Moreover, during the execution of the search warrant at the Defendant’s residence on April 20, 2022, agents discovered that the Defendant was in possession of a Diplomatic Liberian passport. That the Defendant, who occupies no formal diplomatic position within the Liberian government (a fact the Defendant admitted at the detention hearing), was nonetheless in possession of a Diplomatic Liberian passport is powerful evidence of the strength of the Defendant’s connections to the highest levels of the Liberian government. The Defendant is, after all, a citizen of Liberia, not the United States. A connection like this, therefore, only enhances the Defendant’s already elevated risk of nonappearance,” Judge Sullivan noted.
It is not clear what the court referred to as “close personal relationship with the Vice President of Liberia” neither was it specified how the Defendant obtained the Liberian diplomatic passport though he does not work or represent the Liberian government in any capacity.
Meanwhile, the Vice President denied involvement in the issuance of a diplomatic passport to Bassirou.
Her office in a press release stated: “The of the Vice President affirms that the Vice President has interacted with Mr. Sheik Bassirou Kante, noting that while it is true that the Vice President has many friends across all sectors of society in her political sojourn, it will be a travesty to logic to suggest that the Vice President is aware of the personal dealings of anyone she may have interacted with at any level.”