Ex-Banker Indicted For Bribery in a Case With Links to Ex-Congresman William Jefferson

Ex-Rep. Jefferson
Ex-Rep. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — An ex-official of the Export-Import Bank of the United States in Washington was indicted on charges of taking a $100,000 bribe from Nigerian businessmen in connection with a Kentucky high-tech firm linked to Rep. William Jefferson and his public corruption case.

According to an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Maureen Njideka Edu, 42, of Potomac, Md., worked as a business development specialist covering Africa and was a contact person for Congressman Jefferson.

The indictment, which refers to Jefferson as Representative A, said Jefferson introduced Edu to the Nigerian businessmen who were seeking financing to buy products and services from iGate Inc.,  a  Kentucky firm that offered broadband and cable tv technology . The owner of iGate, Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty in 2006 to giving  bribes to Congressman Jefferson to land business in Africa.

According to the indictment, the Nigerian businessmen offered to pay Edu $173,500, with an initial installment of $100,000 to secure money from the bank.

On Feb. 27, 2004, a wire transfer was sent to Edu’s personal bank account in Washington, the indictment said. The business deal eventually fell through as a result of disputes between the Nigerian businessmen and the Kentucky firm.

The indictment does not accuse Jefferson of any crimes. Jefferson lost a bid for re-election last year and is awaiting a May trial on public corruption charges in Alexandria, Va.. Judy Smith, spokeswoman for Jefferson, declined to comment last night on the Edu indictment.

Read Indictment

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