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Buhari recount jail experience , after jailing many for ‘corruption’

President Muhammadu Buhari has recounted how he was sent to jail during the military regime.

Buhari was in 1985 detained for over two years by then military president Ibrahim Babangida.

Speaking on Wednesday during his visit to Kano, Buhari harped on how he ended up in jail after arresting and jailing others for corruption-related offences.

“When I was the military head of state, I arrested many people and jailed them for alleged corruption. In the end, I also ended in jail,” he said.

Buhari also urged Nigerians to understand the disparities between military and democratic dispensations.

He called for patience with the current economic woes in the country, assuring that “there will be light at the end of the tunnel”.

He said: “It is not easy for us to surmount all the obstacles against us; but knowing that the road to a promised land appeared rough, but all I want from Nigerians is to be patient.”

Buhari also recalled how he spent years in court challenging election results.

The president won the 2015 presidential election on the fourth attempt, having contested in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections.

“As a politician, I really tasted the pains of seeking elective office,” he said.

“Since I joined politics in 2003, I contested for president three times but I could not get it right until the fourth attempt in 2015. I was in court for 30 months, challenging the 2007 election and in 2011, I also spent 16 months in court.”

No Govt. money in ex-FCT Minister’s account – Witness

A prosecution witness, Mr Ishaya Dauda told an FCT High Court Gudu that in the course of investigations, no government money was traced to the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed’s account.

Dauda, a Senior Detective Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday said this during cross examination by the defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche.

Mohammed is being prosecuted by the commission on a six-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets and graft to the tune of N864 million.

The witness admitted that the former minister was arraigned based on an intelligent report by the commission and not on a petition.

He said though the work of the commission was based on petition and intelligence report, the petition against the minister came first, adding that investigation had not been concluded in respect of the petition.

Upon further questioning on the source of the intelligence report, the witness said he would not disclose the source.

Earlier, while the witness was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Prince Ben Ikani said that the defendant received a property at Asokoro as a bribe by Aso Savings and Loans.

Dauda alleged that the former minister on the request of Aso Savings, had relocated Abuja Urban Mass Transit from their plot at Mpape area along Kubwa express.

The witness gave evidence that Aso Savings and Loans Ltd had stood as guarantor to Abuja Urban Mass Transit when they obtained a loan of N1.8 billion from the former Oceanic bank for the acquisition of new buses.

He said Abuja Urban Mass Transit had defaulted in repayment of the loan which led to Aso Savings being made to clear the debt.

“For Aso Savings to be able to recover their money from Abuja Mass Transit, they requested from the then FCT minister to relocate Abuja Urban Mass Transit to another place.

“This was to enable Aso Savings and Loans Ltd take over the land. They now bought the Asokoro property for the defendant in appreciation,’’ the witness said.

He said that to confirm that, they had invited the former Managing Director of Aso Savings, Mr Hassan Usman and the former Executive Director, Marketing, Mr Maimanu Aliyu to make statements.

He said they also invited the seller of the said Asokoro property, Ifeanyi Ihejirike and Mrs Ogechi Nwaduke who also gave statements in their office.

Dauda said that when the defendant was questioned about the property, he initially refused to make statements.

Other properties allegedly belonged to the former minister which he did not declare in the Asset Declaration Form given by the EFCC include a property at the Three Arms Zone, Abuja, and a plot of land in Kaduna.

So far, the prosecution tendered the statements made by the defendant to the EFCC in court which was admitted and marked as exhibit A.

The other exhibit tendered, marked and admitted as exhibit B was the EFCC Asset Declaration Form.

Justice Abubakar Talba adjourned hearing in continuation of the trial to Feb.12, 2018.

We borrow money to eat, soldier writes Buhari

A soldier who refused to disclose his identity has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to complain about the alleged corruption in the army.

The officer on the frontline of the war against insurgency wrote the letter in reaction to the army’s dismissal of the complaints of Abdulrauf Aliyu, a private of the Nigerian army.

Aliyu had complained that he was abandoned after being shot by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

But Sani Usman, spokesman of the army, denied the allegation, saying Aliyu was declared a deserter for leaving the hospital he was receiving treatment without being cleared by the authorities.

Usman said as a deserter, Aliyu should be apprehended and handed over to the nearest military unit or police station,  if seen.

“This is a clear case of a deserter from the Nigerian army trying to run a campaign of calumny against the Nigerian army on Social Media,” Usman had said.

But the soldier who wrote the letter spoke in defence of Aliyu and also drew attention to the plight of his colleagues.

A picture of the rice served to soldiers. Not a single meat in it

He said knowing what they signed for, soldiers “expect to die in the hands of the enemy, not in the hands of the Nigerian Army”.

The letter in full:

Having read the online correspondence between Dr. Idris Ahmed of CUPS and our Army spokesman, Brigadier General S.K. Usman, I have decided to take a major risk and write to your Excellency directly over this issue.

Sir, I am a course-mate of Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu, who Oga S.K. claimed that he has gone AWOL. We trained at the same company, Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State. We are presently posted to Operation LAFIYA DOLE. On behalf of all the colleagues of Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu, I categorically refute the allegation that Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu deserted the Army. The Sections 59 – 63 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, as quoted by Oga S.K., has always been mentioned by our superiors, to protect themselves and antagonise us, whenever they have done mischief.

Your Excellency, the case of Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu is actually not an isolated one. There are many such cases of soldiers who got wounded on the battlefront. It is true, some are well looked after, as mentioned by Oga S.K. Usman in his press release. Unfortunately, due to corruption in the system, some unfortunate soldiers, mostly from less privileged backgrounds, are left to fend for themselves. Like myself, Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu comes from a humble family. He sustained life-threatening injuries in the abdomen during a routine operation. The initial first aid treatment and medical care that he received was very inadequate. With full Army permission, Pvt Abdulrauf Aliyu and his family paid for his transfer to University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. Unfortunately, the care he received in Maiduguri Teaching Hospital too was inadequate. Eventually, his family had to pay for his transfer to a specialist facility in Sokoto.

Your Excellency, corruption in the Army is REAL, and it is killing us. Every man and woman who decided to join the Army knows the risks. While we expect to die in the hands of the enemy, we don’t expect to die in the hands of the Nigerian Army, due to corruption and criminal negligence.

Just the other week, about 14 (I am not sure of the exact numbers) of our colleagues died in the hands of BokoHaram, who attacked the Army camp. The circumstances surrounding their unnecessary death warrants a full investigation by his Excellency. Sir, you will be shocked of the outcome. The bodies of the slain heroes are still lying here in Damaturu, Yobe State. The story of this incidence has hardly been officially published by the Army or Nigerian media. Attached is the picture of the commander of the camp. He too died in the attack.

Your Excellency, this is the third month in a row that we have been denied of our operations allowance. We have to rely ONLY on our meagre salary for everything. From battalion commanders, to Company and Sectors leaders, we are all in debt, because our salaries are not enough to sustain us at the battlefront while feeding our families back at home. It is a big shame that we have joined the Army to defend the civilians, yet we have to go to the civilians in town to borrow money to fend for ourselves at the battlefront.

Take for instance the food that we are fed. Most of the times it is not fit for human consumption. I attach for your perusal, your Excellency, the lunch that was fed to us this afternoon (3/11/2017). As you can clearly see, there is not a single piece of meat or fish in it. The taste of the food is so bad that we have to add surplus salt to be able to eat it. This is also dangerous for our health. A plate of our food per soldier is probably about two hundred Naira (N200).

It is said that the Federal Government spends about fourteen thousand Naira (N14,000) on each prisoner in Nigeria. Here, at the battlefront in Operation LAFIYA DOLE, the Army spends about six hundred Naira (N600) per day per soldier on feeding us, while in reality billions of Naira is appropriated per year for this purpose. Your Excellency, we are treated like animals. Most of us are afraid to talk because of the dire consequence.

As the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, your Excellency, kindly investigate. There is corruption in the Army. Brave soldiers are needlessly dying.

Osinbajo blames church for condoning corruption

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Kingdom Summit 2017 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), blamed the churches for not speaking against corruption.

Osinbajo, who was at the Kings Court Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday, remarked that corruption in the country still existed because the church had failed to speak against.

They failed to speak against graft simply because those involved in graft had relationships with them.

Osinbajo also urged Christians against putting tribe above other things.

He said that at creation, there was no difference in the nature of man and everyone related in an atmosphere devoid of tribe or other differences.

“The canal nature of man is that he places his tribe above others but the only basis for the power and unity of the church is that there is no Jew or Gentile.’’

He also advised the faithful to avoid divisive issues as much as they did to foolish disputes.

Osinbajo added that it was wrong to seek vengeance as the gospel did not give Christians the power to habour hatred.

According to him, when the disciple, Stephen, was killed, if the Apostles had retaliated, there would not have been the gospel.

“The gospel of the Lord says you must overcome evil with good.’’

He said God had a purpose for the Nigeria with the kind of persons in authority.

But he warned that the strategic position God had placed the leaders would be meaningless if they failed to live by the gospel.

“I am so pleased and happy and I believe that the Almighty God has a plan for our nation by putting us in strategic positions in politics, business and everywhere.

“But, the strategic positions He has placed us will have no effect unless we are prepared to live by the gospel.

“There is no wisdom of man that can change men or change nations; it is the power and wisdom of God that can,’’ he stated.

The vice president, who titled his remark “Neither Jew, nor Gentile’’ noted that the gospel of the Lord was transformational, meant to turn the market place around by uniting God’s people.

According to him, the only way to transform the nation is to obey the gospel and to do so that citizens must free themselves from the canal and simply return to the gospel in their practices.

Osinbajo noted that sometimes people thought that God did not achieve His purpose in man because God’s gospel contradicted the purpose of man.

He said that many times, Christians interpreted the gospel to suit their purposes, which explained why it was easy for them to pray against their enemies that prayed for them.

“This carnal nature cannot save us; we are completely different from God because the gospel is not a canal word,’’ he stated.

The vice president pointed out that the Bible was not just a book but the wisdom of God, which could not be trampled upon.

He noted that the power of the church lay in its unity.

He traced the history of creation where God made man in His own image, and that man fell apart because of sin, but salvation still came when Christ was born.

Osinbajo prayed for the country and the people and asked God to grant Nigerians faithfulness to Him and give everyone the grace to avoid every form of disunity.

Fayose says Buhari running government of double standards

Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of running a double standard government where he treats “corruption involving his men as family affair”.

In a statement issued by Lere Olayinka, his spokesman, Fayose said, “No nation can achieve greatness with such a partial leadership”.

He described the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government as the most corrupt in Nigeria’s history, having earlier tagged former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure as same.

Fayose further said the allegations made against Maikanti Baru, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), by Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, is “messy and an embarrassment to the country”.

The statement read: “As far as I am concerned, President Buhari is not fighting any corruption. He is fighting his political foes and God is not a God of double-standard. This Buhari’s government is a government of double-standard.

“When miscreants write petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against perceived opponents of President Buhari, EFCC will act immediately, but when known Nigerians, including members of Buhari’s government raise allegation of corruption against close allies of the President, the EFCC will look the other way.

“As posited by APC Senator, Shehu Sani, we are in a situation where perfume is being sprayed on corruption when it affects Buhari’s men while insecticide is being sprayed on corruption when it involves perceived political opponents of the President.

“When allegation of corruption is made against Buhari’s men, EFCC acts like pet dog, but when it is against those whose faces the President does not like, the anti-graft agency acts like lion.

“While Nigerians are still asking questions as to what has happened to the report of the committee that investigated the $43 million discovered in an apartment at Osbourne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, allegation of $25 billion was made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and as usual, the allegation like others before it, is being treated as family affairs.

“Before now, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu was indicted of corruption by the Department of State Service (DSS) and all that was done by President Buhari was to ask the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to investigate the DSS report. Up till today, nothing has been heard about it and Magu, despite his rejection by the senate, is still acting as the EFCC chairman.

“Up till today, Nigerians are yet to be told the owner of the Legico Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos inside which the EFCC claimed that it found N448.8 million cash.

“Despite the presence of CCTV cameras, we have not been told the identities of those who brought the five sacks in which the EFCC claimed that it found N49 million cash to the Kaduna Airport.”

Sagay says APC leadership condoning corruption, should be removed

 

The leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC will find it difficult to convince Nigerians that it is fighting corruption and should be removed given the fact that the party’s officials are promoters of corruption, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, has said.

Sagay spoke on a TV programme last night even as he praised the appointment of Justice Ayo Salami as chairman of the committee to monitor the corruption cases in courts.

The law professor who has recently had brushes with the APC leadership and the National Assembly over his criticisms of the officials of the two bodies, however, stepped back from mentioning names yesterday.

But asked by the programme anchor on the faceoff with the APC leadership, he said: “If you have a big party which has a specific mandate to fight corruption or at least reduce it drastically to a level that it will not stop the nation’s development, then the members of such party must be seen also fighting corruption”.

“If you have such mandate as a party and you have people in that party who are actively promoting corruption or they are subject of corruption and promoters of corruption, what they are doing is denying the party (the opportunity) of truly fighting corruption, then it is better to totally remove people of that nature from the party and form a smaller party in which everybody would have confidence in themselves rather than have a big party in which people are doing things contrary to what the party stands for” he stated.

He said further, “My view is that the party hierarchy and party leadership and not the government, the party are condoning corruption and they are hobnobbing with those corrupt party members and therefore setting a stage for the government to have serious problem when there is need to convince that is entitled to have another term in government.”

Diezani’s lawyer blocked us from interrogating her in UK –EFCC

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says its investigative team has not been allowed to meet with the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the United Kingdom, where she has been staying since 2015 when investigation into her tenure began.

The commission stated in a counter-affidavit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja, that it had been investigating the ex-minister for various allegations of corrupt practices, including abuse of office, money laundering, stealing of public funds and illegal acquisition of properties within and outside Nigeria.

But EFCC stated that its efforts to interrogate her over the allegations had been abortive as her lawyer, John Binns of BCL Solicitors, refused to allow the commission’s team of investigators, led by Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, to meet with her in the UK earlier in March this year.

The EFCC’s counter-affidavit was in response to a motion filed by the former minister, seeking an amendment to the heading of the charges filed against a businessman, Mr. Olajide Omokore, and five others by adding her name to the list of defendants so that she could defend herself in respect of allegations against her in one of the nine counts.

A detective with the commission, Mr. Rufai Zaki, who deposed to the EFCC’s counter-affidavit, added that it was not yet possible to bring the former minister back to Nigeria as she was being investigated by the UK’s Metropolitan Police for several other financial crimes, saying the probe had reached an advanced stage.

The EFCC had preferred nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6bn, alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government, against Omokore and the other five defendants.

In one of the nine counts, the anti-graft agency alleged that Alison-Madueke and other officials aided and abetted Omokore in committing money laundering offences in relation to the diversion of the crude oil money.

Zaki, the deponent to the EFCC’s counter-affidavit, stated that Alison-Madueke had absconded to the UK after leaving office in 2015 upon realising that the EFCC had commenced investigation into her activities.

He stated in the counter-affidavit, “That sometime in 2015, the commission received an intelligence report bordering on abuse of office, criminal breach of trust, stealing, conversion and receiving stolen properties.

“That the commission further assessed the intelligence report and found that there was merit in same. Investigation was conducted in respect of this case before a charge was preferred against the defendants (Omokore and others).

“That at the tail end of the tenure of the applicant as Minister of Petroleum Resources, the commission received a lot of complaints and intelligence reports against the applicant, alleging that she was involved in various corrupt practices, money laundering, stealing of public funds and illegal acquisition of properties within and outside Nigeria.

“That immediately the applicant (Alison-Madueke) got to know that investigations had commenced in respect of her various nefarious illegal financial activities while she was the Minister of Petroleum Resources, she absconded from Nigeria in order to escape the investigation and prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“That upon realising that the applicant is in the United Kingdom, we made efforts to schedule a meeting with the applicant in order to interview her in respect of her involvement in the activities leading to this charge and many other alleged financial crimes linked to her but up till now, she had always avoided having any meeting with members of our team.

“That the applicant’s lawyer in the United Kingdom, one John Binns of BCL Solicitors, informed the members of the team of investigators headed by Abdulrasheed Bawa, when they visited the United Kingdom in March, 2017, that the team would not be permitted to meet the applicant for any interview in view of the fact that she is not within the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“That while in the United Kingdom, the applicant had been invited by the Metropolitan Police, who are investigating her for several other financial crimes. She has been released on bail in the United Kingdom but could not leave the United Kingdom as their investigations have reached advanced stages.”

Alison-Madueke had, in her motion, filed on August 18, sought an order mandating her to appear in court on the next adjourned date on October 5, 2017, to plead to the charge and in particular Count 8 of the charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/121/2016.

She also sought another order mandating the Attorney General of the Federation, being the agent of the complainant, to facilitate her prompt appearance in court on October 5, 2017, to take her plea and to defend herself over the allegation made against her in Court 8 of the charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/121/2016.

But the trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, on September 20, dismissed the motion after hearing the former minister’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), and EFCC’s counsel, Mr. M. S. Abubakar.

The judge, in his ruling, struck out the count in which Alison-Madueke’s name was mentioned but held that he could not grant any of the three prayers sought by the minister.

The judge ruled that he could not grant the prayers because amending the charges to include her name as a defendant would imply starting the trial afresh, a development which would amount to waste of time and resources already expended on the case.

The six, named as defendants in the case in which Alison-Madueke had sought to be joined as a defendant, include Omokore; his two companies, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.

The other defendants are a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Victor Briggs; a former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Abiye Membere; and a former Manager, Planning and Commercial of the NNPC, David Mbanefo.

EFCC moves to seize Kola Aluko’s luxury yacht, private jet, other assets

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives are searching for a Bombardier jet believed to have been bought with cash from the $1.5 billion oil slush funds by some business associates of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

It was learnt that the jet was flown out of the country a few days before President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration in 2015.

The anti-graft agency has intensified efforts to secure the permanent forfeiture of 19 choice assets traced to Mr. Kola Aluko, one of the four business associates of the ex-minister.

The 19 assets have been located by the EFCC in Canada, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (U.S.) and Switzerland.

Top on the list of the assets is a Euro63m Galactica Star yacht with the value now put at about Euro82 million.

The EFCC detectives are believed to be probing whether the aircraft has been sold or its ownership changed to make it difficult to trace it.

The EFCC uncovered how the jet was paid for by Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s associates through the $1.5 billion slush oil account in Switzerland.

A top EFCC source said: “So far, investigation confirmed that a bombardier jet was bought with part of the $1.5 billion oil cash by one of the business associates of the ex-minister.

“We have been unable to locate the whereabouts of the aircraft. We have the initial identity of the aircraft, but it has been difficult to trace.

“Our detectives are suspecting a likely change of the identity of the jet or possible sale of the plane.

“We are trying to track down the movement log of the plane, including the possibility of deceptive entry of its last destination.”

The source added: “We are networking with all relevant international agencies to locate the aircraft wherever it is in any part of the globe.”

Asked if the ‘missing bombardier jet’ has any link with the controversial N1.5 billion used to hire Challenger 850(bombardier) C-G jet during the tenure of the ex-minister, the source added: “We will probe this clue after locating the aircraft and interacting with some of the business associates.”

The ex-minister was implicated in 2014 for allegedly engaging a private Challenger jet to cope with her “tight schedule”.

The monthly cost of the hired bombardier jet was put at N130 million but the total expenditure was put at about N10 billion.

Kola Aluko and Naomi Campbell

The attempt to probe the deal by the House of Representatives was stopped by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed said the House did not follow due process in summoning the ex-minister.

The EFCC source said plans were at an advanced stage to secure permanent forfeiture of 19 assets traced to Aluko.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had on June 24, 2016 invoked the Interim Forfeiture Order allowing the EFCC Establishment Act to seize the properties.

The affected assets are mostly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland and the United States (U.S.).

They are a plot of land in Mont Tremblant (Canada) and some houses in the United Arab Emirates, including 4100 Le Reve Dubai Maria, Dubai; Unit 1402, PS 14th Floor located at Metro TECOM near Internet City Metro Station, Dubai; Unit 712, ES 7th Floor located at First Central, Off Sheikh Zayed, TECOM, Al-Barsha 3 Dubai; and Unit 512, 5th Floor located at First Group Marina Hotels, Al-Seba Street, Plot 394-426, Dubai AE-AJ.

Those in Switzerland are at Colina D’Oro Montagnola, Switzerland; Via Magio 6 Montagnola 6926 Switzerland; and Vila Floridiana via Cantonale 17, 6948 Porza Lugano, Switzerland

Others located in the United States and the United Kingdom are: 755 Sarbonne Road, Los Angeles, California 90077USA; 952 North Alpine Drive Beverly Hills, California 80210 USA; 157 West 57th Street New York 10028, USA; 1049 Fifth Avenue New York 10028, USA; 815 Cimal Del Mundo Road Santa Barbara, California 93108, USA; 1948 Tollis Avenue Santa Barbara California 93108; 1952 Tollis Avenue Santa Barbara California 93108, USA; 807 Cimal Del Mundo Road Santa Barbara, California 93108, USA; 32 Grove End Road, London NW8 9LI UK; and Flat D.03.01 One Hyde Park 100 Knight Bridge SW1X 7U, UK.

Capping the list is the €63 million Galactica Star, which the U.S. Department of Justice claimed that the ex-minister had warned Aluko against buying.

Giving the extent of the process of the application for the final forfeiture order of Aluko’s 19 assets, an EFCC source said: “The EFCC has intensified efforts to secure the permanent forfeiture of properties and other assets linked to Aluko, an accomplice to former petroleum resources minister in the mega scam that rocked the Nigeria oil industry during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“A Nigerian court had on June 24, 2016 ordered the temporary forfeiture of most of the assets, which are located in the U.S. and Switzerland.

“The Nigerian anti-graft agency has opened communication with the United States and Swiss authorities with a view to getting the interim forfeiture order given in Suit No. FHN/ABJ/CS/228/16 registered for enforcement.

“I think Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) letters will be sent as soon as the office of the Attorney General of the Federation gives the approval.

“An EFCC team is due in the United States and Switzerland to harmonise the details of the MLAT letter.”

 

Again, court confiscates N7.6bn Diezani loot

The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6billion allegedly stolen and hidden by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the money’s final forfeiture to the Federal Government.

 

Ruling, the judge said: “I’ve read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7,646,700,000 reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

 

“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application.

 

“In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”

 

Moving the application, EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo said the money was part of “huge sums” allegedly diverted by Mrs Alison-Madueke from various subsidiaries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

 

According to him, it was “fraudulently converted from NNPC by Mrs Alison-Madueke”.

 

He said the commission published an advertorial after the court ordered the money’s temporary forfeiture, but no one came forward to claim its ownership.

 

In an affidavit to support the application, an investigating officer, Usman Zakari, said he was part of a team of operatives who investigated an intelligence report that huge sums were laundered.

 

He said it was looted through former Managing Director, Crude Oil Marketing Department, Gbenga Olu Komolafe; former Managing Director, Petroleum Products Management Company (PPMC) Prince Haruna Momoh; Group Managing Director, Nigerian Products Marketing Company (NPMC) Umar Farouk Ahmed, Stanley Lawson, Babajide Sonoiki and some bank chiefs on behalf of Mrs Alison-Madueke.

 

The deponent said Mrs Alison-Madueke called a bank chief to her office for a meeting where she informed him that some officials of her ministry would be bringing funds to his bank.

 

She allegedly directed that the “funds must neither be credited into any known account nor captured in any transactional platforms of the bank”.

 

The investigator added: “In carrying out this alleged scheme of fraud, the sum of $153,310,000 was moved from NNPC through B.O.N Otti and Stanley Lawson, both former Group Executive Directors, Finance and Account of the NNPC” to the bank.

 

He said using the same fraudulent scheme, another $45 million was also conveyed to the bank.

 

He said the money was conveyed in cash from Abuja to the bank’s headquarters in Lagos; $113,310,000 was taken out of it and moved to another bank in a bid to conceal its illicit source.

 

The investigator said the remaining $40 million was conveyed in cash to a bank chief, Dauda Lawal.

 

Zakari said $108,310,000 was taken from the $113,310,000 and was disguised and invested in an off balance sheet investment using an asset management company owned by the bank as a special purpose vehicle.

 

He said the remaining $5 million was conveyed in cash to another bank’s managing director “for safe keeping”.

 

The sum in the asset management company was allegedly converted to N23,446,300,000, which EFCC said it recovered in drafts from the bank.

 

It also recovered the $5 million held by the bank MD.

 

The operative said the $40million conveyed in cash to Lawal was subsequently converted to N9,080,000,000 and retained by him.

 

Zakari said the N23,446,300,000, $5million and N9,080,000,000 were forfeited to the Federal Government on February 16, following an order by Justice Muslim Hassan of the same court.

 

According to him, the $45 million was converted to naira by the bank in a bid to conceal and disguise its illicit origin.

 

He said EFCC received N7,646,700,000 in draft from the bank.#

He recalled that the court on August 9 granted an interim order of forfeiture of the money and directed EFCC to publish the order in national newspapers to enable any person interested in it to appear in court and show cause why it should not be forfeited permanently to the Federal Government.

 

“The applicant has complied with the order of this court by publishing the said order on the 16th of August. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application,” Zakari said.

 

Justice Anka “granted the application as prayed”.

 

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has seized London properties valued at £10 million allegedly bought for the former minister.

 

The two properties located at Regents Park in London, along with one in Buckinghamshire, have now been seized based on the request of Nigerian authorities.

 

According to online news medium, Premium Times, a London court gave the freeze order in September 2016 but details of the rulings have only recently become public.

 

But the agency was too late in preventing a further two properties worth £8 million from being sold.

 

In July, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had revealed four properties it alleged were bought for the former petroleum minister by individuals and firms seeking her influence in obtaining lucrative oil assets and crude oil lifting contracts.

 

Some of the oil assets were assigned to people believed to be her cronies through Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs).

 

The DoJ’s affidavit stated that businessmen, Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko were involved in the purchase of two of the properties allegedly bought for Alison-Madueke.

 

The UK order obtained by Africa Confidential, a newsletter specialising in politics and business in Africa, has revealed that three of the properties have been frozen under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Sure-P funds: Perm. Sec. forfeits N660m, $137,000, two buildings to FG

The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday ordered the temporary forfeiture of N664,475,246 and $137,680 allegedly diverted from the previous administration’s Sure-P funds to the Nigerian government.

The suspect, Clement Onubuogo, a serving Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, was also ordered to temporarily forfeit two buildings, which he allegedly acquired with funds diverted from the youth empowerment scheme.

One of the properties is his house, known as Clement Illoh’s Mansion, located at Ikom Quarters, Issala-Azegba, Delta State, while the other, a hotel, is said to be located at No. 19, Madue Nwofor Street, off Achala Ibuzo Road, Asaba, Delta State.

Justice Abdulaziz Anka ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds and the asset following an ex-parte application by counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo.

In the ex-parte application, the EFCC said the funds and the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of theft and bribery.

In an eight-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the application, an investigator of the EFCC, Huleji Tukura, said the anti-graft agency uncovered how Mr. Onubuogo diverted N876.9 million out of the over N10 billion released by the Goodluck Jonathan administration for the scheme.

Mr. Tukura said the EFCC also discovered that Mr. Onubuogo, who was saddled with the responsibility of supervising the Sure-P Technical and Vocational Educational Training, Community Service, Women and Youth Empowerment Programmes, abused his office by collecting kickbacks from contractors.

The suspect was also accused of fraudulently awarding contracts to himself using front companies and some workers serving under him.

 

According to the EFCC investigator, “Through a fictitious contract, the respondent (Onubuogo) along with Mr. John Tsokwa and Mr. Salisu Kura conspired and procured the sum of N29,168,654 out of which the sum of N10,500,000 was retained by the respondent.”

“The respondent (Onubuogo) received the sum of N37,802,000, which was diverted through Agoha Joseph Emeka, a member of staff of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment for his personal gain.

“Through Ojeagu Global Service Limited, a company owned by his family, with an account domiciled in Zenith Bank, the respondent converted the sum of N159,770,383, which he subsequently laundered.”

Mr. Onubuogo was also accused of laundering N182,529,000, which, according to the EFCC, was found in his Access Bank and First Bank accounts that he failed to declare.

The EFCC told Justice Anka that it had already recovered a total of N129,826,452 from Mr. Onubuogo’s co-conspirators, namely “Salisu Kura, Rabiu Said, Tonye Isokeiri, Buhari Dahiru, John Kanku, Ahmed Muazu, Muktar Sufian, Udoh Nnamdi, Umar Mashi, Salogu Karo, Usman Bello and Ahmed Makki.”

After granting the interim forfeiture of the funds and asset on Thursday, Justice Anka directed the EFCC to publish he forfeiture orders in a national newspaper.

He adjourned till September 6 for anyone interested in the funds and the asset to appear before him to convince the court why the temporary forfeiture orders should not be made permanent.