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David Mark- Nigeria’s Senate President As A Fraudster by japanson(m): 1:11pm On Mar 02, 2011
David Mark- Nigeria’s Senate president as a Fraudster

David Mark- Nigeria’s Senate president is a Belizean citizen

Investigations by saharareporters.com have uncovered questionable deals involving David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark, a retired army general who was on June 5, 2007 chosen as President of the Nigerian Senate. Mark’s election to head the upper legislative chamber made him the third most powerful Nigeria in the current political order.

His election has put him firmly in the spotlight. Apart from his inexplicable accumulation of wealth while holding political positions in General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime, Mark’s apparent renunciation of his Nigerian citizenship has also come to light.

Mark’s elevation as legislative leader was preceded by a swirl of controversy. Given his shady record in public office, many critics within and outside the Senate had questioned his suitability for the exalted office of Senate President. No stranger to controversy, Mark received a boost from former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The ex-president, who shares with Mark a military background as well as corrupt self-enrichment and polygamous marriages, had handpicked the Senate President for the job.

{mosgoogle}As Nigeria’s Minister for Communications in the 1980s, David Mark acquired a reputation for speaking in a gruff manner. His most notorious gaffe was a statement that telephones were not meant for poor Nigerians. The statement was in response to criticism of the scarcity of telephone lines as well as their high cost.

Mark was then at the peak of a flourishing military career that saw him amass an incredible personal wealth that would later define his life as a member of Nigeria’s most corrupt military elite that ran the nation with repressive zeal from the early 1980s till mid-1990s.

Shortly after his swearing in as Senate President, a group of senators led by Smart Adeyemi, a freewheeling ex-president of the Nigerian Union Of Journalist (NUJ), addressed a bizarre press conference ostensibly to defend Mark. The senators claimed that unnamed persons allegedly engaged in a smear campaign against the Senate President were targeting David Mark for impeachment.

Saharareporters was the only publication that had earlier reported that the new Senate President was a fraudster and had amassed huge assets, most of it stashed away in banks and investments outside of Nigeria. Mr. Smart Adeyemi, who was accompanied by former President Obasanjo’s daughter, Iyabo Bello-Obasanjo and three others, did not address a single issue raised in our earlier reports.

Given what Saharareporters.com has been able to uncover since, it seems clear that the senators’ pre-emptive alarm was an attempt to cast doubt on our past and subsequent disclosures. Undeterred, Saharareporters conducted a thorough background check on the Senate President, unearthing a ton of information on his questionable wealth, lies, perjuries, adulterous lifestyle and apparent disregard for the principles of transparency and accountability.

A corrupt Life:

The first of the deals that catapulted David Mark into questionable wealth came from a $77 million “telecommunications deal” which he brokered while he was Communications Minister under General Babangida. Mark procured aircraft for the nation’s telephone company- NITEL- at highly inflated prices. Mark made an instant profit of $70 million which he shared with President Ibrahim Babangida in accounts opened in Jersey and Cayman Islands. From this single deal, David Mark had set aside the sum of £6 million in a “trust” for his children as well as invested in real estate for his numerous wives and children in the UK and Ireland. In a remarkable, if curious, decision, Mark also invested the sum of £5.9 pounds in the 18-hole St. Margaret’s Golf Club near Dublin, just a five- minute drive from the International Airport in Dublin, Ireland.

He also bought a private house worth £2.5 million pounds on Kingston upon the Thames River in London.

In addition, David Mark hired a personal assistant in England to help manage his businesses in London and Ireland. He lived a life of legendary luxury, arranging for most of his kids to be born in the UK, Switzerland and other Western European nations. From kindergarten to college, most of his children also attended schools in Europe or in some of England’s highbrow institutions of learning.
According to records available to Saharareporters, David Mark has married six times, his last marriage being in Ghana in 1995 where he retains a massive investment of funds looted from Nigeria. His sixth wife also lives in London with his children. Apart from Ghana, David Mark also has investments in the Caribbean and the US and maintains hefty bank accounts in Switzerland, Cayman Islands and Jersey.


David Mark has always identified with reactionary elements and causes in Nigeria, thus calling to question his belief in or love for Nigeria. He was one of the key figures who prevailed on Babangida to annul the elections of June 12, 1993. That annulment scuttled Nigeria’s effort to embark on a credible democratic path. Mark and General Dogonyaro were among then serving officers who threatened to kill the president-elect, Chief M. K.O Abiola, if the military head handed over power to him.

In 2006, Mark emerged as an arrowhead of senators who supported a controversial constitutional amendment that would have seen President Obasanjo run for a third-term in office. The campaign was marked by massive corruption. The presidency handed fifty million naira to each senator who agreed to vote for the reprehensible amendment. Though the measure was defeated in the National Assembly, David Mark never gave up. He was quoted as saying that only retired military officers should be voted to power in Nigeria.

{mosgoogle}Nowhere is David Mark’s unpatriotic actions more revealed than in his decision to abandon his Nigerian citizenship. Records available to Saharareporters indicate that, in 1996, Mark took up Belizean citizenship when his investments in that small island nation were threatened. Mark and his now estranged wife, Victoria Preye, as well as two of their younger kids still carry Belizean passports.

Public Officer with personal interest:

Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Bureau forbids public officers maintaining bank accounts abroad. Yet, David Mark has consistently breached this important requirement. Throughout his membership in the Senate, Mark has operated various bank accounts in the UK and elsewhere. His man of business in Ireland has a construction company component which pays him £45,000 per annum. Since he became the senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, official records in the UK show that David Mark traveled to the UK at least once every six weeks to cater to his private business interests. Most times, his trips and expenses were paid from the coffers of the National Assembly where he was a chairman of the Senate Committee for Banking and Commerce and a member of the Committees for Internal Affairs, African Co-operation, and National Security and Police.

In a document obtained by Saharareporters, David Mark was quoted admitting to breaching Nigeria’s code of conduct ethics. “I do come to England as often as I can, either on official business as a senator or on private visits to see my family, the majority of whom are studying here,” he said.

Further, he disclosed an earned income abroad of £45,000 a year, whilst his Nigerian income as a senator was put at £1,636 per year, clearly a lie to British authorities. His disclosure demonstrated that he operated his English bank accounts throughout the period. His sixth wife and their children lived exclusively in a house provided by him in London. Although David Mark had only spent 47 days in totality within the relevant 12 months he had made nine trips to the UK in 2004 alone In 2004, David Mark spent a total of 47 days in the UK, making nine trips in all. That indicated that his affairs and interests within the UK necessitated a visit approximately every six weeks, most of the trips paid for by the National Assembly.

Nasty Divorce from Victoria Preye, his 5th wife:

The story of David Mark’s divorce has become a popular case study of sorts amongst students of immigration law in the UK and elsewhere because of the volume of lies, concoctions and hideousness with which he tried to con his estranged wife away from her entitlements, Court documents indicate that David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark and Victoria Preye solemnized their polygamous marriage according to native law and custom in 1979. Mark was at the time married to three other women.

Victoria Preye came to London in 1990 and has not returned to Nigeria since 1993. During the regime of General Sani Abacha, David Mark was forced into exile between 1993 to 1998. During this time, he obtained a work permit enabling him to reside in the UK as an employee of a construction company owned by him which paid him £40,000 per annum. His wife was subsequently included on the permit, giving her leave to remain in England until April 1998. Mark was granted indefinite leave to remain after the expiry of the work permit in 1998, but his wife did not apply as she was in Florida for a bible course, and her husband did not tell her about the application for indefinite leave to remain.

As a result, she became what UK immigration calls “an overstayer.” It was not until March 2002 Victoria Preye obtained her own indefinite leave to remain. In her application, she argued that she had been continuously present in the UK since 1995 and that her only nationality and passport was Nigerian. These were lies since she and her husband as well their two youngest children had, in November 1996, acquired Belizean citizenship.

In July 2000, Victoria Preye petitioned for divorce in England. David Mark challenged the English court’s jurisdiction (even though it was he who earlier invited her to petition for divorce in the UK) on the basis that his wife was staying illegally in the UK. David Mark later fraudulently obtained two customary court judgments in Nigeria claiming that he had divorced his wife through customary law, the UK judges wouldn’t buy that!

The case went to the Court of Appeal to determine whether someone staying illegally could assert a domicile of choice or rely on habitual residence in the UK for the purposes of establishing jurisdiction under s 5(2) of the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973. The court ruled in favor of Victoria Preye, granting her a right to pursue divorce in the UK. The court found that Mark’s wife was not originally an illegal immigrant but became an “overstayer” partly due to her husband’s conduct. The court also determined that London had been Victoria Preye’s only home since 1998-99. The judge went on to say that although the wife had access to the customary courts in Nigeria, her future financial independence could only be assured through the English courts as the customary courts in Nigeria have no jurisdiction to make ancillary relief orders. In those circumstances he concluded that the wife’s Article 6 rights might be breached if she did not have access to the English court.

The court concluded that Victoria Preye, despite her illegal residence, should be held to have been habitually resident for a period of 12 months prior to the presentation of her divorce petition. Prior to the appeal court’s decision on her immigration rights, Victoria Preye Mark had successfully sued to have £6 million of Mark’s funds frozen.

Ruling in an application by the wife for permission to appeal the order allowing an offshore bank to transfer the funds to another bank, the Court of Appeal stated as follows: “The freezing order was not only in general terms but attached to specific assets including sums held in four bank accounts, namely three accounts at the Northern Bank, Isle of Man, and one account at the Allied Irish Bank, Jersey. A total fund of about £6 million in those four accounts was frozen by an order dated 4 October 2000. That order was duly served not only on the husband (David Mark) but also on the company (Lincoln Trust Company (Jersey Ltd.) as being ostensibly or nominally or arguably in control of the four accounts and also on the two banks; and mirror orders were obtained by the wife in the Isle of Man and in Jersey.”

In all, our investigations paint the portrait of Senator David Mark as a man who uses Nigeria as a cash cow while investing his loot in Europe, England and elsewhere. Mark’s frequent travels abroad to attend to his businesses also raise questions about his ability to concentrate on Nigeria’s legislative business. For more than three decades, David Mark has played one role or another in Nigeria’s governance. His longevity in this regard is matched by the paltriness of his achievements in public office. Considering David Mark’s many opportunities to help build Nigeria, why did he find it necessary to have almost all his children born abroad and also attend foreign schools? Does that not bespeak a lack of faith and confidence in a country he has tried his best to ruin?

One thing is clear: Mark has reaped millions from Nigeria, but his heart seems to be elsewhere.
Re: David Mark- Nigeria’s Senate President As A Fraudster by sonety2k(m): 1:24pm On Mar 02, 2011
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Re: David Mark- Nigeria’s Senate President As A Fraudster by japanson(m): 1:32pm On Mar 02, 2011
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Re: David Mark- Nigeria’s Senate President As A Fraudster by sonety2k(m): 4:44am On Mar 03, 2011

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Re: David Mark- Nigeria’s Senate President As A Fraudster by japanson(m): 9:43pm On Jul 15, 2011
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