Pilfering Diplomats

No Comments » October 15th, 2010 posted by // Categories: Nigerians in the Diaspora

Pilfering Diplomats:

Babakura Babaganna, President’s Protocol Officer and Yusuf Abdulahi, Head of Chancery Involved in contract Scandal

Apparently due to late payment of their salaries, some employees of the Nigerian Embassy in US have developed tactics of pilfering contractors, Femi Soneye reports

By Femi Soneye

It was on the eve of the Nuclear Summit 2010 hosted in Washington, DC by the United States President, one Yousef S. Abdullahi, head of chancery Nigerian embassy, DC, and one BabaKura Babagana, Protocol officer at the Nigerian presidency entered into a contract deal with Executive Limousine Services LLC, an exotic transportation company based in Georgia Avenue, DC.

The contract was signed on April 6th, 2010 by Yusuf Abdullahi, and Babakura Babagana as agents of the Nigerian Embassy, while the CEO of Executive Limousine Services, LLC represented the transport company.  In the contract package the embassy requested for 16 exotic vehicles to convey the Nigerian president’s entourage during the summit.  The summit was the largest gathering of heads of State called by a United States President since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organizations; it had in attendance over 50 heads of State, and thousands of other top government officials, and representatives.

Nigeria like other countries that attended the summit was well represented, with 5 State governors, and many officials accompanying the president, hence the need to have befitting transportation to take them around.  According to the contractual agreement the cost of the services from Executive Limousine Services was for $142,000.00 (One-hundred, and forty-two thousand Dollars).

According to reliable sources the sum of $10,000(ten-thousand) was paid to the transport company as advance payment, with full balance to be paid after the summit.  Days after the completion of the summit, officials of the Nigeria delegation party retained the 16 exotic vehicles, and their chauffeurs.  The vehicles were used for transporting officials to both official assignments, and personal engagements. A source at the DC downtown hotel where most of the officials resided confided that the exotic vehicles were also involve in taking the officials to the malls for shopping, making several runs daily.

A day after the delegation attended a party organized by the South African president Jacob Zuma; officials of Executive Limousine Services approached Babagana Babakura, and Mr. Abdullahi to make some more payments at this time they made additional payments totaling a little above $80,000 (eighty thousand).

When the officials began to request trips to the Airport to depart to Nigeria without paying the balance, Executive Limousine was able to reach head of Chancery at the Nigerian Embassy Mr. Yusuf Abdullahi who at this time feign ignorant of the remaining balance, according to sources he bluntly refuse to pay the balance.  The CEO of Executive Limousine reached out to Babagana Babakura who happens to be the protocol officer in the presidency and after consultation with Mr. Abdullahi another payment was made which brings the total payment to $120,000.00 (one-hundred, and twenty thousand) leaving a balance of $22,600.00(twenty-two thousand), at this time the services from Executive Limousine Services was reviewed and was given a pass mark, and according to them the remaining balance will be given to Mr. Abdullahi of the Nigerian Embassy to pay the Transportation company.

Six months after the summit the remaining balance of $22,600 has since not been paid to Executive Limousine Services, the company has since written to the embassy on several occasion to abide by their contractual terms, and settle the balance of the deal.   It was learnt that letters were written in May, July, and recently August 8th, 2010 to remind the embassy of its indebtedness to Executive Limousine Services.

When men are caught in wrongdoing, or are overwhelmed with troubles, they often lay the blame at the door of the devil.  Protocol Officer at the presidency Babagana Babakura, who has since gone back to Abuja, claimed Mr. Abdullahi of the Nigerian Embassy in DC has the remaining balance, while Abdullahi also claims he was not given the remaining balance.

The disposition of Mr. Abdullahi towards paying the balance is not encouraging according to someone in the know of the whole arrangement, “He once threatened to blacklist Executive Limousine Services from getting any more contracts at the embassy if it continues to request for its balance. At another time he also claimed the balance has been settled”.  Efforts to reach Mr. Abdullahi at the embassy was unsuccessful as it was gathered that his stay at the embassy ends at the end of October, and he is scheduled to resume in Abuja for new postings.  An official of the embassy speaking on condition of anonymity asked if Executive Limousine Services gave gratuity tips to the embassy official who gave them the contract. “They will have problems in getting their balance if they don’t settle, point blank”.

A visit to the offices of Executive Limousine Services to meet the CEO was also not successful, as he was out of town, but the secretary confirmed that they are being owed by the Nigerian Embassy in DC.

A reliable source said the Transportation firm is in the process of taking the embassy to court, especially as Mr. Abdullahi is about to abscond to Nigeria soon. Executive Limousine Services hope to get a speedy court date, in a bid to obtain lien judgment against the embassy and its properties in DC.

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