The above Yoruba adage appropriately fits the current circumstances concerning Kase Lawal, a very influential Nigerian in the United States of America.
His influence in the USA has seen him befriending politicians in both Democratic and Republican parties, and this has earned him recognition, as reflected in his appointment by President Barack Obama into the White House Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Though he was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, as Kase Lukman Lawal, his journey to the USA dates back to the time he spent to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Texas Southern University, in 1976, after which he had his MBA from Prairie View A&M University, also in Texas, in 1978. He then founded the CAMAC International Corporation, of which he still remains the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He’s also the Chairman of Allied Energy Corporation in Houston, Texas; and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), CAMAC HOLDINGS.
He is currently serving a seventh term as Commissioner to the Port of Houston Authority and as Vice-Chairman of the Houston Airport Development System Corporation. He is also a member of the National Urban League’s Board of Directors and the Fisk University Board of Trustees, and a significant shareholder in Unity National Bank, the only federally insured and licensed African-American-owned bank in Texas.
Over the years, he’s been known to be a strong supporter of Mrs Hillary Clinton. He was said to have, in 2000, single-handedly organised a fundraiser for the former American First Lady which generated more than $100,000. Clinton’s campaign lists Lawal among about 250 “Hillraisers” who pledged to collect at least $100,000 in donations for her then, and she attended a fund raising luncheon at Lawal’s home in Houston that generated more than $100,000, and she spoke to about 250 guests gathered around Lawal’s indoor swimming pool, including two former Houston mayors and Shell Oil President, John Hofmeister.
His mention in the past in some fraudulent activities may cost whoever he’s supporting, going by the way and manner Donald Trump is going about his campaign, as Lawal was at a time mentioned in a spectacular fraud-related matter in the oil industry in Nigeria. He and others allegedly conspired to “steal” an oil block and pump millions of barrels of oil from it. Despite protracted legal proceedings (though he was never prosecuted and he has consistently denied the allegations), information revealed he was at a time on the list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wanted Nigerians and this much was confirmed by the then Attorney-General, Mr. Michael Andoakaa, at a function back then.
In 2003 the Mail & Guardian revealed how Lawal, after becoming close to former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, benefited from “what appears to be a fraud on the Nigerian and South African public”. It was reported that CAMAC, a company owned by Kase Lawal, had in that deal set up a subsidiary in South Africa, with the name“South African Oil Company”. This he was said to have done in association with a group of individuals connected to the ANC, South Africa’s leading and ruling political party.
According to the report, Mbeki was said to have written to his then-counterpart in Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, chipping in good words about the company and supporting the company’s request for “a long-term crude oil contract on behalf of the Republic of South Africa”. This it was said helped the company get substantial oil allocations at discounted “government-to-government” rates from Nigeria. The report explained further that the oil was however diverted as it was never taken to South Africa, with the proceed paid into an account opened in the name of South African Oil Company at a bank in the Cayman Islands, where a mystery co-owner shared the proceeds with Kase Lawal-owned CAMAC.
Kase and his CAMAC were also in the news over illegal transaction, this time in gold. In December 2010, Dikembe Mutombo, a Congolese basketball hero formerly with the Houston Rockets, was said to have introduced Lawal to the opportunity to buy 475kg of gold supposedly held in Kenya, and Lawal, we gathered, involved diamond trader Carlos St. Mary to help execute the gold deal with an agreement that Kase, Mutombo and St. Mary would split the estimated $10-million profit after the deal had been finalised.
It however turned out later that the gold was actually being bought from a DRC Congo warlord who had been banned by the UN. The deal, it was gathered, cost Kase Lawal a sum to the tune of about $30 million which he could not recover as the deal was stopped by the ban decreed by President Joseph Kabila on all precious mineral exports from the eastern DRC, in an attempt to stop the financing of arms smuggling and destabilisation in the country.
The intensity of the current electioneering campaign in America, which has seen the actors employing all sorts of measures to outdo one another, has seen some, especially Hilary Clinton, receiving backlash for her relationship with people like Kase Lawal. And it is only a matter of time before the Texas oilman’s name comes up for mention in the whole issue, especially if he raises any fund for the former Secretary of State in his capacity as a Hillraiser.
Source: Society Gazette