CIP Unit confirms that it issued passports to Nigerian couple, but there were no red flags raised during due diligence
The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) is confirming that the reportedly fugitive Nigerians, Bamise and Elizabeth Ajetunmobi, were, in fact, granted Antigua and Barbuda citizenship through the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) in April 2021.
However, the CIU says no red flags were raised against the couple during its intense diligence checks.
Media reports out of Nigeria appearing in the Peoples Gazette, dated October 19, 2021, made reference to the involvement of the two in alleged fraudulent activity through their company, Imagine Global Solutions Ltd.
The article also indicated that the duo were in possession of Antigua and Barbuda passports, along with their minor children, and had absconded from Nigeria.
The CIU says, “As is customary, the application was subjected to intense internal examination by the Unit’s team of certified Compliance specialists.”
It says a leading global due diligence firm conducted open source and in-country investigations on the couple, as well as on their company.
According to the CIU, at the end of the probe, “nothing disparaging was identified with respect to the applicants (or) their affiliate business interests.”
The CIU says the company was also duly registered and active.
Additionally, the Unit says that reports from international law-enforcement agencies did not reveal any indication of involvement in fraudulent or illegal activity on the part of the couple.
“No Interpol Red Notice had been issued for either Mr. Bamise Ajetunmobi or Elizabeth Ajetunmobi,” the CIU says in a press statement.
Therefore, the Unit says the couple were issued with travel documents, since at the issuance of citizenship, there was no adverse media, criminal or civil litigation, nor were there regulatory concerns associated with the applicants and their businesses.
Since the article last week, the CIU says it has undertaken a review of the media reports and is awaiting the issuance of an official statement by the authorities in Nigeria.
The agency says that based on information it has received there have been no arrest warrants issued for the couple nor have there been any official proceedings initiated against them.
It says, along with its international partners, it continues to monitor “this emerging issue” and will provide further details should additional information be received.
Meanwhile, some of these excuses were proffered after it was discovered that now Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi had acquired a passport through the CIP and was wanted in his native country on fraud-related charges.
The CIU continues to swear by its due diligence processes, although this is not the first or second such incident in which persons receiving Antigua and Barbuda passports through the CIP have ended up on the wrong side of the law.