Tuesday , 22 October 2019
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Tag Archives: EFCC

Court orders interim forfeiture of Maina’s 23 houses, estates, firms in Abuja, Kaduna, Borno, Nasarawa

The Federal High Court Abuja, on Tuesday, granted an order of interim forfeiture of 23 properties belonging to Abdulrasheed Maina, Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team.

Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo gave the order of interim forfeiture following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).

The court also gave an order directing the publication of the order of interim forfeiture in any national daily newspaper.

The newspaper publication is aimed at inviting any person(s) or body(ies) who may have interest in the assets and properties listed in the schedule to show cause, within 14 days of such publication, why a final order of forfeiture to the Federal Government of the said assets and properties should not be made.

The ex parte motion, which was moved by Mohammed Abubakar alleged that the said properties were suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities traced to Maina and his associates.

It was brought pursuant to Section 17(1) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.

The property include houses, estates, companies among others located in Abuja, Kaduna, Borno and Nasarawa.

P&ID: EFCC arraigns two British nationals for money laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arraigned two British nationals, James Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

They were charged for alleged complicity in the controversial $9.6bn arbitral award to Process and Industrial Development Ltd., by a United Kingdom commercial court.

The defendants, both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution and ICIL Limited, were charged with 16 counts bordering on money laundering.

Count one of the charges read, “That you James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn(at large), sometime in December 2013 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being Directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution aided the said company in failing to comply with the requirement of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments a declaration of the activities as specified under section 5 (1)(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended and punishable under section 16 (2b) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, while Justice Abang struck out count nine of the charge on the grounds that “a court of law has no jurisdiction to entertain a charge against a non-registered person.”

The prosecution, Bala Sanga, asked the court for a trial date and an order to remand the defendants in prison custody.

However, defence counsel, Okwudili Anozie, moved an oral application for the bail of his clients, but Sanga objected to the application.

“We object to the oral application of the defendant. We would be requesting an affidavit showing cause, why the bail should be granted,” he said.

After hearing Anozie’s argument, Abang refused the oral application for the bail of the defendants and adjourned till November 20 and 21, 2019, for the commencement of trial.

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement said the court remanded Nolan in prison custody pending the consideration of his bail application.

Asset seizure: EFCC misled court, says Saraki


Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has said that an order granted by a Federal High Court in Lagos for a temporary forfeiture of his property on 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, following an ex-parte application by the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was made in error.

In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that the Federal  High Court in Lagos must have been misled into granting that order as neither him nor his lawyers were aware of any application by the EFCC for any forfeiture order.

He said there is a subsisting court order issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja, in which the same property was a subject matter and where the EFCC and the Federal Ministry of Justice were parties. The court in that case gave an order restraining the EFCC from taking any further action until the matter is determined.

“We are sure the FHC judge in Lagos was not aware of all these facts and has therefore been misled into giving the temporary forfeiture order.  The affected property, House Number 17 A and 17B, was specifically  listed in the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in which the EFCC was part of the prosecution and the case went up to the Supreme Court where the apex court in its July 6, 2018 judgement ruled in his favour.

“The Supreme Court has ruled that the source of funds for the purchase of the property was not illicit as claimed by the prosecution. On pages 12, 13 and 26 of the judgement of the highest court, this particular property on 17A McDonald Street, Ikoyi, was specifically referred to and the court upheld the no case submission of Dr. Saraki and therefore ruled in his favour.

“We know that any action which tends to mislead the court amounts to misrepresentation and it is a good ground for us to get the Court to throw away the order it issued today. We are sure the order will be reversed.

“We therefore call on all the friends, associates and supporters of Dr. Saraki to remain calm because we know this action will not stand when the court gets to hear the side of the former Senate President”, Saraki stated.


Federal High Court orders seizure of Saraki”s properties in Ikoyi


A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, on Monday ordered the interim forfeiture of two high value properties located at Ikoyi area of Lagos State belonging to the immediate past Senate President, Dr  Bukola Saraki to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) in an exparte application filed by the Commission’s lawyer, Nnaemeka Omewa, approached the court seeking an order of interim forfeiture of the properties,  alleging that  they were acquired through proceeds of unlawful activities.

Delivering his ruling on the application,  Justice Mohammed Liman, who ordered  the interim  forfeiture of the two properties, said the EFCC should publish the order in a national daily within 14 days and further the matter for report of compliance with the order of Court.

The Commission had sought for four orders before Justice Liman in respect of the controversial property.

Part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC include:

“An order of this honourable Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as No. 17A McDonald Road,  Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity.

An Interim Order of this honourable Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the Landed Property with its appurtenances situate,  lying and known as  No 17 McDonald Road,  Ikoyi in Eti Osa Local Government Area , Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity.

Justice Liman relying on the documents attached to the matter resolved all the issues raised in favour of the EFCC.

The Commission in an affidavit alleged that the former President of the Senate acquired the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activity.

Part of the affidavit reads, “Trend of cash lodgments into Saraki’s account became suspicious and in order to further  disguise the source  and origin of this money, the respondent changed the pattern of payment and started making  payments into Exhibit EFCC 3 using  fictitious names.

The EFCC further alleged that the former number three citizen while serving as the Executive Governor of Kwara State withdrew over N12bn cash from the account of the Kwara Government and paid directly into his account domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama at different intervals.

Magu says EFCC considering rehabilitating ‘Yahoo boys’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is considering rehabilitating internet fraudsters, better known as Yahoo Yahoo boys.

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the agency, made this known while delivering a paper entitled, ‘Strategic change administration and innovation to curb corruption in Nigeria’, at the third all administrators national conference of the Chartered Institute of Administration, in Lagos, on Thursday.

He said internet fraudsters can be useful to the agency in the future, adding that they will be rehabilitated.

Magu said the EFCC is collaborating with ECOWAS member-states to ensure that cross-border criminals are prosecuted.

“So if you carry money from Nigeria and escape to Ghana, we will just call the men in Ghana and say, ‘arrange this man and keep him for me’,” he said.

“This is what the Yahoo-Yahoo boys like to do. But we are planning to rehabilitate them because they can be useful to us in future.”

The acting chairman said increase in the agency’s zonal offices from seven in 2009 to eighteen in 2018, made the EFCC secure 614 convictions between January and September.

He also said the agency invested in its human capital by training more personnel in a bid to fight corruption across the country.

On Monday, operatives of the EFCC arrested 94 alleged internet fraudsters in a raid at a nightclub in Osogbo, Osun state capital.

Ex EFCC boss urges govts to honour 5% whistle-blower commission

Prof. Abdullahi Shehu, former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called on governments and anti-graft agencies to honour the five per cent whistle-blower commission to motivate people to give information.

Shehu made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the African Centre for Media and Information (AFRICMIL) Corruption Anonymous (CORA) second year report.

According to him, corruption is on the concurrent legislative list so it needs to be tackled with all hands on deck, thus the introduction of the whistle-blowing policy.

He said that it was unfortunate that whistle-blowers were not being motivated as promised.

“The whistle -blowing though is a policy, is as effective as a law. Just recently, I read that someone sued the Federal Government to court for refusing to pay the five per cent promised on account of blowing the whistle.

“I think this is where the main challenge is with respect to enforcing this policy, when you make a commitment that if you do this, I will do this, I think it should be honoured.

“Therefore, I will like to call on the governor and whosoever is involved that if the five per cent was promised as a motivation for people to report, then government agencies should honour it.

“This is in order to make the policy more effective and by having the masses contribute.’’

Shehu also expressed worry over the management of recovered funds, adding that over the years, millions had been recovered even though there was no concrete statistics on the actual recovery.

He said that it was important that the recovery process was transparent for Nigerians to know how much was recovered in order to strengthen their confidence to contribute to the anticorruption fight.

He commended the courage of AFRICMIL for putting the whistle blowing policy on the front burner of the ant-corruption fight and urged other stakeholders’ key into it.

Also speaking, Mr Oludare Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of Whistle Blowing, Federal Ministry of Finance, said whistle blowing policy order came through the Federal Executive Council and its three years now.

Oludare said that the concern still remained the absence of the legal framework for the protection of the whistle-blowers and this was hampering the anti-corruption fight.

He said that presently, the Ministry of Finance was working with other stakeholders under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Justice to work on the bill.

This, he said would give it a robust bill that would guide the policy implementation because there had not been law backing the whistle-blowing policy and it had been a challenge for the past three years.

Earlier, Mr Chido Onumah, Coordinator AFRICMIL said that as part of its good governance initiative, the centre inaugurated the Corruption Anonymous (CORA) project in early 2017, especially to track the achievement of the policy.

Onumah said that though the path had not been an easy one due to victimisation of whistle blowers but AFRICMIL had in the last two years helped in getting three whistleblowers back to work.

“Going forward, the CORA project plans to transform its website (www.corruptionanonymous.org) into a platform to investigate and report on tips by whistleblowers that fall through the cracks.

“The aim is to put as many tips as possible by whistleblowers out in the public to reassure potential whistleblowers of the importance of their role, and provide tools for anti-corruption agencies.’’

Mr Kole Shettima, African Director Mc Arthur Foundation, said the organisation supported AFRICMIL to carry out the CORA project because it wanted to support Nigeria by contributing toward uplifting the poor people. (NAN)

N2.1bn fraud: EFCC secures order to extend Maina, son’s detention

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has secured an order of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Bwari, to detain former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina and his son, Faisal, in its custody pending the conclusion of ongoing investigation.

The order, which was given on October 7, 2019, following an exparte application by the anti-graft agency, empowered the commission to remand the defendants in its custody for an initial period of 14 days.

The court, however, noted that the order was subject to review if necessary, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

Maina and his son were arrested at an Abuja hotel by the Department of State Services and were subsequently handed to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N2.1 billion.

Before he was handed over to the commission last Wednesday, Maina had been evading arrest for over four years.

The former director, Human Resources Department, Ministry of Interior, had been charged alongside a former head of service, Steve Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe, Fredrick Hamilton and Global Services Ltd. before a Federal High Court on 24 counts bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence, in July 2015, but he absconded from the country.

Our correspondent reported that Maina had been visiting the country regularly from his base in the United Arab Emirates, despite being under surveillance and on the watchlists of security agencies

He had been hibernating in UAE until he met with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in Dubai in 2016, during which he was reportedly assured of his safety in Nigeria.

Following the assurances, Maina resumed at the Ministry of Interior where he was promoted as director, Human Resources Department, without sitting for the mandatory promotion examination.

Malami had in November 2017, admitted before a Senate ad hoc panel probing Maina’s reinstatement into the civil service that he met with the former PRTT boss in Dubai.


Fear of EFCC stopping govs from organising extravagant parties —Magu

Mr Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission has alleged that some state governors are afraid of organising flamboyant parties because of the commission.

Magu, said on Monday during his working visit to the commission’s zonal office in Makurdi that some of the governors were now maintaining a low profile.

He said that the development was due to the fact that whenever the governors contravened the law, EFCC would come after them, as they were always on the commission’s radar, both within and outside the country.

“EFCC is all eyes and ears, wherever and whenever they organise such ostentatious parties, they will be fished out and prosecuted, be it within or outside the country.

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The acting EFCC chairman stressed that the commission would not relent in its efforts at curbing their excesses, stressing that necessary strategic plans had been put in place and were expected to yield results in the fight against corruption.

According to Magu, even though corruption is deep-rooted in the country, the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government is yielding results.

He said that the task of fighting corruption was very complex and sophisticated, as organised criminal gangs were daily devising new high-tech means of perpetrating fraud and other criminal activities.

Magu said that the agency, in its quest for success, was always ahead of the fraudsters and criminals in their activities.


$11m cyber fraud: Lagos court orders Invictus Obi’s N280m forfeited

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the forfeiture of N280,555,010.65 “warehoused” in the bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told the court that the two firms were owned by Obinwanne Okeke, “a strong leader of a cyber crime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.”

Okeke, popularly known as Invictus, is currently standing trial in the United States of America over an alleged $11m cyber fraud.

The 31-year-old Nigerian was, in 2016, celebrated by Forbes as one of Africa’s “most outstanding 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.”

He was described by the magazine as “proof that there is hope for Africa.”

Obi was, however, arrested last August by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, implicated as the ringleader of a cyber crime syndicate that had defrauded a number of American citizens to the tune of $11m “through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive, coordinated, business e-mail compromise scheme.”

Following an ex parte application by the EFCC on Monday, Justice Rilwan Aikawa made an order for the temporary forfeiture of the sums of N240,250,904.46 and N40,304,106.19, which the anti-graft agency said it found warehoused in the Nigerian bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited, respectively.

EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the funds were “reasonably suspected” to be proceeds of cyber crime and urged the judge to order its forfeiture to the Federal Government to prevent Okeke from dissipating same.

In an affidavit filed in support of the application, EFCC investigator, Ariyo Muritala, said the Commission assigned him and others to investigate a request for information on Okeke and three others by the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Legal Attache, US Consulate-General.

“I know as a fact and verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following ear-aching and mind-boggling findings:

(a) That the Obinwanne George Okeke is a strong leader of a cyber crime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.

(b) That the said syndicate has defrauded many innocent and unsuspecting victims.

(c) That the said Obiwanne George Okeke has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America for cyber crime-related offences.

(d) That if these funds are not forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Obiwanne George Okeke and his cronies will dissipate same,” Muritala said in the affidavit.

Oyedepo argued that Justice Aikawa had the power to make the interim forfeiture order by virtue of Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related Fraud Offence Act No. 14, 2006.

The judge agreed with him and ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

JAMB official who claimed snake swallowed money tried to bribe auditor – Witness

Fresh details have emerged as to how the duo of Samuel Umoru, chief accounting officer of the Makurdi Zonal Office of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, and Philomina Chieshe, a clerical officer in the same office, conspired to stop the board’s auditor, Ibrahim Oba, from carrying out a financial audit of the zonal office with a bribe of N50,000.

This was revealed by the first prosecution witness, Patrick Obilo, who is also an auditor with the board, as he appeared before Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court, Maitama, Abuja on September 30, 2019.

Mr Umoru and Ms Chieshe are first and second defendants respectively in a charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over the disappearance of JAMB’s N35 million in its Makurdi Zonal Office, where both work.

During Mr Obilo’s cross-examination by prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, he disclosed that Mr Oba was sent to the Makurdi Office of JAMB in 2016 for a routine examination of the account books and consignment notes, which show quantities of items supplied such as e-facility cards-used to check and print results, change of course card, scratch cards, question and answer cards, receipts or tellers.

He revealed that during this procedure, Ms Chieshe visited Mr Oba’s hotel room with an envelope containing a sum of N50,000 as “gift” from her boss, Mr Umoru, and urged him to return to Abuja.

The auditor according to Mr Obilo, sensed danger and returned to Abuja and reported the situation to the head of JAMB’s Audit Unit, James Ochijele, who ordered that the N50,000 “gift” be paid into the board’s account.

Mr Ochijele had to replace Mr Oba with the witness (Obilo) for the same assignment in the Makurdi office. While examining the books of accounts in the Makurdi Office, Mr Obilo said he discovered a shortfall in the proceeds from the sales of e-facility cards and change of course forms to the tune of N35,480,000, which were not remitted to the board’s account.

Asked for an explanation, Ms Chieshe began to cry as she gave all manners of justifications for the disappearance of the money, including a tale that a mystery snake had been swallowing the money in Umoru’s office, even as it was kept in a safe.

In another incredible story, she claimed that a mermaid appeared to her in her bedroom to attack her at various times and that her housemaid is a witch.

The real trouble started for Mr Umoru and Ms Chieshe with the coming on board of Ishaq Oloyede as JAMB’s registrar, who set up a reconciliation committee to look into the accounts of all the state offices. This committee unearthed monumental stealing.

With no objections from counsel to the defendants, the prosecution tendered the report of the reconciliation committee and its summary, which Justice Affen admitted in evidence.

Under cross-examination by Mark Fees, counsel to Ms Chieshe, Mr Obilo said each of the e-facility cards, change of course forms and other cards are sold at N1000 per unit, disclosing that Mr Umoru was the coordinator of the sales at that time in his capacity as the chief accounting officer of the Board’s Makurdi Office and had the record of all cards that were delivered to the office and the proceeds realised from the sales.

Responding to Ms Chieshe’s claim that she made some payments into the board’s account but has lost the tellers, the witness revealed that the bank statements which were traced for confirmation of the said payments did not establish any of such payments as claimed by the second defendant.

The trial judge adjourned the matter to January 21, 2020, for continuation trial.

Arrested Maina likely for trial over N2bn contract

After a four-year manhunt, fugitive former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, AbdulRasheed Maina, has been arrested.

He was picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) at a hotel in Abuja after he sneaked into the country from his Dubai, United Arab Emirates base, it was learnt last night.

Sources hinted that the DSS might hand him over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for trial over a questionable N2billion biometrics contract.

Explaining how he was arrested, they said the DSS acted on intelligence alert which led to Maina’s arrest.

“Following inter-agency collaboration, intelligence report indicated that Maina had sneaked into the country from Dubai.

“He was trailed to an Abuja hotel where he was arrested after operatives outwitted those who tried to ferry him away in a bullet-proof vehicle.

“He is currently being quizzed. He is likely to be handed over to the EFCC for trial. He has a pending case since 2015.”

Maina was on July 21, 2015 charged alongside Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited before a Federal High Court on a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretense.

Although some godfathers tried to smuggle him into the country and attempted to reinstate him to office, the process backfired.

The EFCC in 2017, declared Maina wanted, following his refusal to honour the commission’s invitations.

But in his bid to evade the long arm of the law, Maina, on September 5, 2018, in a suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/957/2918, asked the court to decide whether the Commission can lawfully exercise powers of declaring him wanted, either on its official website or any other media platform, or “harass him.”

Justice Folasade Giwa Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court restrained the anti- graft commission from declaring Maina wanted.

She also gave an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the EFCC and its affiliates or related bodies from further declaring Maina wanted in relation to the issue of the pension scam.

The EFCC said the judgment must not be allowed to stand and filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

Spokesman for DSS, Dr. Peter Afunaya, did not respond to a message sent to him by our correspondent.

EFCC re-arraigns Suswam for N3.1bn fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday re-arraigned a former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, and the then Commissioner for Finance in his administration, Omadachi Oklobi, on N3.1bn money laundering charges.

Suswam, who is now the Senator representing Benue North East, and his co-defendant, pleaded not guilty when the nine counts were read to them again before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.

They were initially arraigned before Justice Ahmed Mohammed in the same Abuja division of the court in November 2015.

But Justice Mohammed withdrew from the case in July this year following a SaharaReporter’s story accusing him of unethical practices in respect of the case.

The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Abang.

Before the arraignment on Monday, Justice Abang dismissed an objection raised by the defendants against the transfer of the case.

Suswam, through his counsel, Chinelo Ogbozor, had urged the judge to return the case file to Justice Mohammed.

Ruling Justice Abang sustained the arguments put forward by the prosecuting counsel lawyer, Leke Atolagbe, who urged the judge to assume jurisdiction and order the defendants to be arraigned.

The judge said Justice Mohammed had in a letter of July 5, 2019, detailed the reasons he withdrew from the case, adding that he could not reverse the administrative decision of the Chief Judge, who re-assigned the case to him.

The defendants were originally arraigned before Justice Mohammed in November 2015.

The prosecution had called four witnesses before the recent withdrawal of the judge from the case.

Justice Abang, on Monday, adjourned till October 29 for the commencement of trial.

Court orders forfeiture of funds ‘linked’ to Oyo-Ita

The federal high court sitting in Abuja has ordered the permanent forfeiture of funds allegedly linked to Winifred Oyo-Ita, former head of service.

According to the PUNCH, the particulars of the case were not read out in the open court when Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, the judge, gave the order.

Oyo-Ita is embroiled in a N3 billion fraud allegation, which Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

At the court on Thursday, M.S Abubakar, counsel to the EFCC, said the funds were voluntarily returned to the commission as proceeds of crime.

The counsel said no one has challenged the order of the court when it made a ruling for the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

According to him, the funds have been paid into an account domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as soon as it was returned by the suspect.

Oyo-Ita has since resigned her appointment as head of service, and was replaced by Folashade Yemi-Esan.

EFCC arrests prison’s staff, 5 others for ATM fraud

Operatives of the Kaduna Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC have arrested six fraudsters who specialize in defrauding innocent Nigerians by using bank details obtained through sim swaps and Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

The suspects include Urulo Ikenna Henry, an Inspector with the Enugu Command of Nigerian Correctional Service. Others are Ugonna Nelson Owete, Ugonna Samuel Okafor Obinna, Chigbo Paschal Chidiebere, Oha Chukwujekwu Kingsley, Ahamefula Francis Izuchukwu

The suspects were arrested in separate operations, sequel to a petition by a customer of Access Bank, alleging that monies were illegally transferred from his account without his authorisation. According to the petitioner, sometime in February, 2019, he opened an account with Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) which he funded to the tune of N5m and instructed the bank to open a fixed deposit account, with the sum of N1m from the earlier account, as opening balance.

The culprits
The culprits

The complainant said he was receiving regular alerts until the end of March, 2019 when the alerts stopped coming, prompting him to demand his statement of account from the bank. Upon receipt of his bank statement, he discovered to his chagrin that the sum of N2.9 million had fraudulently been transferred to several accounts between April 5 -9, 2019 without his authorisation.

Upon the receipt of the petition, the zonal office of the Commission immediately swung into action and traced some of the funds to three of the suspects, Samuel Okafor Obinna – N1,500.000; Chigbo Paschal Chidiebere -N210,000 and Oha Chukwujekwu Kingsley N300 000. All three were promptly arrested.

Further investigation revealed that Ikenna Henry, Nelson Owete (a known criminal who was earlier arrested and paraded by the Enugu State Police Command for crimes bordering on conspiracy and armed robbery) and Ahamefula Francis Izuchukwu were equally complicit in the fraud.

They were arrested. Upon arrest, items recovered from Urulo Ikenna Henry included a Toyota Camry, documents of 2 plots of land, 2 Nigeria Housing Fund Passbook (one belonging to him and the other bearing Ani Wilfred Ochechukwu), 17 ATM cards of different banks bearing different names, 2 Nigerian Correctional Service Identity Cards, 2 smart phones and 2 Nokia phones, 1 NHIS card, 1 voter card, 26 Starter Packs and 15 SIM cards of various networks.

Two sachets of Cannabis Sativa, 8 ATM cards bearing different names and banks, 6 Starter Packs, and 4 SIM cards of various networks, One empty ECOWAS Passport, 1 NDA dependant ID card and a voter card were also recovered from Francis Izuchukwu

The suspects will soon be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.

Whistleblower docked for allegedly giving false information to EFCC

A whistleblower, Umoh Edem, on Tuesday appeared at an Ikeja High Court for allegedly giving false information about a company for a N700 million pension and tax evasion fraud.

The EFCC charged Mr Edem with making false statement to a public officer.

Counsel of the EFCC, S.O. Daji, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on August 7 in Lagos.

Mr Daji said that the defendant provided false information to the EFCC about the involvement of a company, Starsonic/Sacvin Group of Nigeria, where he was an employee.

“The defendant, claimed that the management staff of the company was involved in a massive pension fraud, tax evasion and other fraudulent activities in the tune of N700 million,” he said.

He said that the defendant with an intent to embarrass the company gave information he knew was false to the EFCC and Patience Kalu, a public officer.

Mr Deji said that the offence contravened Section 96 (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The vacation judge, Hakeem Oshodi, ordered that the defendant be defendant be remanded in a correctional facility.

Mr Oshodi also ordered the EFCC to return the case file to the registry for reassignment.



Okorocha, wife, daughter to forfeit assets to EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it has obtained orders for the interim forfeiture of assets traced to a former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; his wife, Nneoma Nkechi, and their daughter.

The Head, Enugu Zonal Office of the commission, Mr. Usman Imam, disclosed this on Wednesday in Enugu while briefing newsmen on the activities of the commission in the last eight months.

Imam said the EFCC also obtained similar order on a property traced to a former aide to Okorocha, Mr. Paschal Obi, and the former governor’s daughter.

He said that the commission had established prima facie cases against the suspects, which they would answer to.

Imam said that the commission would like to know how the Rochas Foundation and “other accomplices” acquired and or converted some of the property for personal use.

He listed some of the property to include a 16-block 96-flat structure and an eight-bungalow multimillion naira estate, hotel, two schools, shopping plaza, supermarket, hospital and four vehicles.

The EFCC chief said that while the hospital was traced to Obi, the remaining property were traced to the former governor and his family, including his wife and daughter.

“We hope to get permanent forfeiture orders on the property in order to return them to the people of the state,” he said.

Imam said that all the facilities, including the schools, would remain functional as the commission would not like to shut them down for the sake of the students and other users.


Buhari vows not to interfere with EFCC operations

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged not to interfere with the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as it strives to uncover and prosecute corrupt public officials in the country.

The president made the pledge on Saturday at the graduation of 328 cadets of the Detective Superintendent Course 8 of the EFCC.

The colourful passing out parade took place at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) parade ground, Ribadu Campus, Kaduna.

The parade climaxed 13 months of rigorous training to avail the officers with the necessary skills of law enforcement.

Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, congratulated the cadets and urged them to contribute their quota to the fight against corruption in the country.

The President gave assurance that his administration would offer the EFCC all the necessary support to ensure effective discharge of its responsibilities.

He also assured them that the government would improve their working condition to enhance their efficiency.

Buhari stressed that the fight against corruption remains a cardinal objective of his government.

He noted that significant progress has been made in the last four years in fighting corruption and blocking financial leakages especially with the introduction of the Single Treasury Account and whistleblower policy.

“This progress has facilitate the recovery of looted funds in the country”, Buhari said, and commended the EFCC for being part of the success story.

He, however, urged them to continue with the good work in order to have a well developed country.

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, stressed that all Nigerians have a responsibility of fighting against corruption, so as to have a well developed nation.

Five of the cadets were given awards for outstanding performance, while the overall best cadet, Nuriddeen Sani, got a presidential award.

EFCC arrests two suspected FBI-linked internet linked fraudsters

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt Zonal Office have arrested two suspected internet fraudsters linked to the on- going collaborative investigations between the EFCC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

The suspects were separately arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Owerri, Imo State. One of them, Ogbonnah Atoukaritou, a leader of a loose syndicate of fraudsters allegedly engaged in Business Email Compromise, BEC, was arrested in Port Harcourt while the other suspect, Alpha Chidi Egbeonu, suspected to be involved in defrauding a US- based victim, Goldberg Segalla LLP and other yet to be identified victims, was arrested in Owerri.

Atoukaritou Ogbonah
Atoukaritou Ogbonah

Items recovered from the suspects include laptops, android phones, land documents, hard disks, Central Processing Unit, warehouse and a recently built house, now attached by the EFCC.

The suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.

N1.6bn Fraud: EFCC appeals acquittal of Dudafa, Iwejuo

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos which on August 29, 2019 discharged and acquitted Dudafa Warripamo-Owei, a former Special Adviser to a former president, Goodluck Jonathan, and Joseph Iwejuo, a banker, who were both being prosecuted by the EFCC for money laundering charges to the tube of N1.6billion.

The were alleged to have conspired to launder the fund through the accounts of A.B. Wise Resources Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Rotato Interlink Service Limited, Pluto Property and Services Limited and De-jakes fast food and Restaurant Limited.

However, despite tendering several documents and presenting several witnesses the trial judge dismissed the charges ruling that the EFCC did not prove the charges against them.

But the in the notice of appeal, filed by counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, the anti-graft agency is challenging the decision to discharge the defendants of the 22-count charge brought against them, on nine grounds, arguing that the trial judge erred in his decision to absolve them of the charges

The EFCC citing Mumuni Vs State (1975) argued that the judge “failed to take to account that in proving conspiracy, evidence of the mere agreement of the parties expressed or implied is sufficient for conviction”.

Furthermore, the EFCC argued that the “trial court did not consider the admission of Dudafa in his extrajudicial statement to the effects that the money was proceeds of gifts he received from former president Goodluck Jonathan and his friend who came to visit him”, arguing further that “the documentary evidence, the admission of the respondents in their extrajudicial statements and the evidence elicited by the appellant from the respondents under cross-examination, the prosecution needs not call Sompre Omiebi, Col. Sambo Dasuki, CBN governor, Director of Finance as held by the learned trial judge “.

The EFCC noting the grave miscarriage of justice, held strongly that the trial judge “erred in law and occasioned serious miscarriage of justice by discharging and acquitting the 2nd defendant on counts 14-15” and “failed to evaluate the evidence presented by the Appellant before the Court”.

The Commission equally described as a miscarriage of justice the failure of the trial court to properly evaluate the evidence brought before the Court against Dudafa convict the defendants as charged and overrule the decision of the lower court.

Invariably, the EFCC asked the Court of Appeal to convict the defendants as charged as prescribed by the Money Laundering Act 2011 (as amended) and to overrule the lower court.

Court frees ex-presidential aide as EFCC fails to call Jonathan, Dasuki as witnesses

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has discharged and acquitted Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, a former senior special assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and Joseph Iwuejo, a banker, who were charged with N1.6bn fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Dufada and Iwejuo before the court on 23 counts of conspiracy and concealment of crime proceeds.

The agency alleged that between June 1 and June 4, 2015, Dudafa procured Nna and Ebiwise Resources to conceal N150 million being the proceeds of crime.

Delivering judgement on Thursday, Mohammed Idris, the judge, said he found it difficult to convict the ex-presidential aide and the banker because the EFCC failed to prove the charges against them “beyond reasonable doubts”.

The judge held that the EFCC failed to call witnesses including Jonathan, one Somprei Omeibi, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser, who were essential to the prosecution.

“Why did the prosecution fail to call Sompre Omiebi to testify?” the judge asked.

He held that failure to call the witnesses to testify contributed to the commission’s inability to prove its case.

He said the case was “based on suspicions”, adding that it “cannot take the place of legal evidence”.

The judge also held that the prosecution tried “its best to prove the case”, but failed to carry out thorough investigation against the defendants.

Idris, therefore, dismissed the 22-count charge against Dudafa and Iwuejo.