UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed accused of impropriety in timber export

Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General
Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General

The second highest ranking official of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, is at the centre of a bribery and illicit trade scandal, having allegedly authorised export of endangered timber, rosewood, to China in her last days as Nigeria’s minister for environment.

Mrs. Mohammed is well-regarded globally for her record as a champion of the poor and the environment. But a report on Thursday by the Washington-based Environment Investigation Agency that the top diplomat allowed export of roseword from Nigeria, despite an existing ban, is causing outrage in the environment and international development circles.

According to EIA, documents signed by Mrs. Mohammed in January of this year were used by Chinese importers to clear more than $300 million worth of rosewood logs now confiscated by Chinese border authorities.

Logs from rosewood feed the booming luxury furniture market in China, and the timber, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes, is “the world’s most trafficked wild product” accounting for a third of all seizures by value, more than elephant ivory, pangolins, rhino horn, lions and tigers put together.

The timber, also called kosso, was then marked, last year, an endangered specie and placed under trade restriction by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – to which Nigeria is a signatory.

Environmentalists say export of rosewood from Africa has decimated the region’s forests, raising fear the deforestation, if left unchecked, could power soil erosion and make the Sahara Desert spread to productive areas quickly.

But despite the restrictions, Mrs. Mohammed allegedly signed thousands of permits, allowing the export of 1.4 million rosewood logs in one of her 11th hour actions in Abuja, before inauguration in New York in February.

EIA said its investigation revealed “Nigerian officials were paid over $1 million” to help facilitate the export of the rosewood, but Mrs. Mohammed was not categorically accused of receiving bribe.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said Mrs. Mohammed “categorically rejects any allegations of fraud.”

“She says that she signed the export certificates requested before the ban only after due process was followed and better security watermarked certificates became available,” Mr. Haq said on Friday in his briefing, text of which was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES.

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy magazine reports that John Scanlon, CITES’s secretary-general, had written Nigeria’s authorities since August, expressing concerns over the illicit trade.

The Nigerian government is yet to react to the matter.


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  • Frank Bassey

    That is how God will be exposing them one after the other. PMB administration is now exporting Corruption. Congratulations.

    • Dazmillion

      Thats a new one, exporting corruption. We will still see many many things before 2019

      • princegab

        Na so ooo, oga don yeye.

    • emmanuel

      Are you not happy that we have diversified from mono-product Oil to include Yam and corruption? After killing the few industries that had taken off before now.
      Unfortunately, even the Local peasant Agriculture said to have received so much funding and diversifying effort is already in crises, as most investors have lost out from several fronts in their farming efforts.
      Which way Nigeria?

    • princegab

      That was how pmb rob ptf. Used other’s hands to dip.

  • JasV

    GEEEEEEEET LOST EVERYBODY. As far as I am concerned all the forests in the north should be cleared so that there is no Sambisa forest for any hopeless boko haram to hide. shikena.

    • Really

      It is not about your personal concern. It is about international laws and treaties your Nigeria is signatory to.
      Vandalism and lawlessness for self satisfaction has no room in international Law.

    • thusspokez

      …all the forests in the north

      You think that the timber is coming only from the north? Chineke! your level of ignorance is truly amazing. Besides the north which you hate, illicit logging is affecting many communities in the South-South, South-East and South-West. What a first-class múmú you are.

  • thusspokez

    The second highest ranking official of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, is at the centre of a bribery and illicit scandal, having allegedly authorised export of endangered timber, rosewood, to China in her last days as Nigeria’s minister for environment.

    Some people believe that the reason one sees very few Nigerians occupying senior positions in international organisations is due to suspicion that they might bring to the job, their corrupt ways.

    Mrs. Amina Mohammed would be damaged by this allegations — and it will go to confirm other people’s suspicion about Nigerians. She will also realise that, unlike the Nigerian docile press, the world press (particularly, the environmentalists) will raise this issue with her at every press meeting and make her job difficult for her.

  • Höly Wähala

    Prof. Joy Ugwu was there at the UN and was highly respected, in fact, she cleared the way for this Fulani woman to become Dep. Sec. General. Less than 6months and Nigeria’s name is in the mud globally, speaks volumes about who messes up our image abroad, same incompetent yoro-aboki coalition of criminals. Madam did not address the allegations with her claim that signing the export papers followed Due Process, did her actions follow international laws/treaties that Nigeria is signatory to? That is the question and scandal. Resignation may seem a long shot but, she may be forced out because the US is not Nigeria where things are swept under the carpet and laws bent to please the Fulani. Nonsense!

    • thusspokez

      Prof. Joy Ugwu…

      Your tribeswoman, is she?

      US is not Nigeria where things are swept under the carpet and laws bent to please the Fulani.

      Don’t confuse the UN with US.

      • Otile

        Bigot. What is your point? Just seeing the name Ugwu triggers you to ethnic attack. Bigot, go hug the transformer.

      • Höly Wähala

        Asshole,
        The scandal was reported by the Washington Post and the US press is what I meant by your quoted lines. Yes! Prof. Joy Ugwu is an Igbo every Igbo is proud of, do you have her type in your region mention such or go jump into two lakes. Punk!

        • thusspokez

          Repeat after me:

          ”I am proud of my personal achievements and success. Consequently, I feel no need to claim other people’s achievements”.

          • Höly Wähala

            IGNOORED without reading!

          • thusspokez

            Repeat after me again:

            ”I am proud of my personal achievements and success. Consequently, I feel no need to claim other people’s achievements”.

    • princegab

      Pass mark for you, oga unholy Wahala. Would’ve been better without tribal sentiments. How are the integrity failing?

  • Liberty

    Another scandal again?

  • Liberty

    I think Nnamdi Kanu is exerting some juju power over our progress nd development, wherever he is hiding is coconut head.
    Too many scandals over so short period of time.

    But, we’ll break loose; nd Nigeria shall be great again, whatever their envy and anger!

    • PREITY

      lol. You dey craze oh.

    • Really

      As you make your bed so you lie on it.

      If Nnamdi Kanu is in reality behind the exposure of all these your cover up scandals, may his days be long if he is still alive.

      Maybe you will finally brake loose in living without Vandalism and lawlessness to become scandals free one day.

      Vandals in Governance.

    • kaydutch

      lol

    • newday

      cowards can’t bell the cat

  • Abdu

    Nothing will happen! She is one of the untouchables!

    • Gary

      So you think.. Her days at the UN are numbered.

  • Gary

    Madam Amina, as you fine reach so, you had to mess yourself up with corruption in your last days as a Minister?
    Taking bribes from the Chinese to plunder our forests and you thought you would get away with it and not face scrutiny with a higher-profile international position?
    And you did not think that even if it was never exposed by Western rivals, you would be open to Chinese blackmail for the rest of your public life? That is how most people are compromised into becoming foreign agents. Even against their own better judgment. Your rising global image now ruined over a lousy million dollar bribe from amoral Chinese businessmen plundering their way across Nigeria and the rest of Africa with local abettors willing to sell their own people into 21st neocolonialism.

    PS We now have Amina-gate to growing list of scandals rocking the Buhari government.
    Premium Times is yet to report another scandal at the Defence Ministry involving the reawarding of a million-dollar contract to build a field hospital for UN Peacekeepers in West Africa. Defense Minister Dan Mansur and some senior Army Officers are embroiled in that scandal.
    All by a regime that was voted into office to fight corruption under the leadership of Mr. Integrity in Aso Rock.
    By their fruit shall you know them.

  • Moneyz N Horseyz

    Last minute deal before leaving naija has come back to haunt you and possibly tarnish your reputation for life.Every week, there’s a fresh scandal of corruption against this government. Rather than look within to plug the holes of corruption, they are fully focused on the rear view mirror. Hypocrisy and fake integrity posturing can only last for awhile.

  • bruce uba

    I have followed Mrs. Mohammed since her days at the PTF. Unfortunately, nothing has changed with this woman! At the PTF she and Dr. Aminu Safana (late) perpetrated nepotism, fraud and illegal award of contracts that made the vision of the PTF to be completely defeated. Guess what? PMB was her boss then and also during the period of this recent sleaze! I am aware that many people rate this woman highly, but sadly, her antecedents speak the opposite!

    • princegab

      That is pmb for you. Thanks .
      And thank God their secrets now in market square. They are corrupt things. Integrity of house of cards.

      • newday

        Amina doesn’t care as long as she has oil & forex blocks

        • princegab

          For now, na so ooo.
          May god preserve Magu.

    • kaydutch

      I remember her company was one of the prominent names that featured in the PTF scandal.

    • Gary

      Thanks for the revelation even if belated. For us to move Nigeria forward people must share what they know about those presenting themselves for public office. So that we do not have scoundrels posing as saints.

    • Moneyz N Horseyz

      This is from the EIA site :

      It appears that Mrs. Amina J. Mohammed, former Nigerian Minister of Environment, signed the CITES documents during her last days in office, just before she became the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General. The retrospective issuance of thousands of CITES permits is reportedly the result of a grand corruption scheme that involves over a million dollars paid by influential Chinese and Nigerian businessmen to senior Nigerian officials, some of the transaction facilitated by Chinese diplomats.

      • Mufu Ola

        If d transactions were facilitated by Chinese diplomats,why did Chinese authorities seize the goods at their border? We can safely say your comment is nothing but fantasy,total nonsense.

        • Moneyz N Horseyz

          This is not my comment but a quote from the EIA website.

        • Otile

          Is Buhari bewitched or what? Whatever made him fail School Certificate and commit perjury misled him for life. He would love to be seen as Mr Integrity, but he is corrupt by nature.

        • MilitaryPolice01 [Joint Chief]

          But he got the comment from the EIA website, how can it then be total nonsense.

  • Pluti

    I just hope 2019 we as a nation can be more sensible and meticulous in voting for the right human being as our leader cos the last two administrations has been puppets voted into power #bewiseNigerians

  • felicia jones

    Mrs Mohammed promised HYPREP STAFFthat they will be paid their salaries and allowances owed for 5 years and till date nothing has happened.It is important that the lives of those Staff are saved. Please call on MR BUHARI to immediately pay them their salaries and allowances owed for 5 years and restore their positions in NNPC as they were originally employed by the Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum.

  • Otile

    Buhari will never appoint a clean person to high position. It is like a curse.