Sunday , 18 March 2018
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Tag Archives: EFCC

Alleged N3bn fraud: Court freezes Lagos number plate agency’s account

The Federal High in Lagos today froze an account belonging to the Lagos State Number Plate Production Authority over an alleged N3billion fraud.

Justice Mohammed Idris made the order based on an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

EFCC said the funds were allegedly diverted while Mr. Folorunsho Coker was the agency’s Managing Director.

The court also ordered the freezing of the accounts of a law firm, Rimi and Partners, allegedly owned by Coker’s wife Mrs. Aisha Rimi as the sole proprietor.

An EFCC investigator, Olamide Sadiq, who deposed to a supporting affidavit, said the commission got intelligence last year from Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit on the alleged fraud.

According to him, Rimi and Partners had 10 bank accounts with Guaranty Trust Bank.

“Mr. Folorunsho Coker was as at that time the Managing Director of the first respondent (Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority) and also the husband of Aisha Rimi, one of the signatories to the accounts of the second and third respondents – Rimi and Partners and Ekosina Investment Limited, respectively.

“Mr. Folorunsho Coker was also a signatory to the Zenith Bank account number 1011424889 of the first respondent.

“Investigations revealed that Aisha Rimi is the major partner in Rimi and Partners and she is also in control of Ekosina Investment Limited, a company seen to have received huge transfers from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.

“From preliminary investigations by the commission, the second and third respondents were used to divert funds from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority with the influence of Folorunsho Coker, who was the Managing Director of the Lagos State Agency,” Sadiq said.

Justice Idris said the accounts, including 32 others belonging to companies that were allegedly used to divert the N3billion, would remain frozen until EFCC concludes its investigation.

The accounts of Ekosina Investment Limited, SW Properties Limited, Imira Trade and Global Services Limited, Lofty Investment Nigeria Limited, Pure Technical Services Limited and Cablepoint Limited were also frozen in connection with the alleged fraud.

EFCC said there were suspicious transactions on the account of Rimi and Partners, including heavy inflows in excess of N3billion from the Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority.

EFCC re-arraigns Alao-Akala, two others over alleged N11.5bn fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission on Monday re-arraigned a former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, and two others in an Oyo State High Court sitting in  Ibadan over alleged N11.5bn fraud.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the other defendants are a former Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Senator Hosea Agboola; and an Ibadan-based businessman, Femi Babalola.

The defendants are facing 11 counts bordering on conspiracy, awarding a contract without budgetary provision, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from an illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property, among others.

EFCC’s counsel, Dr. B. Ubi,  told the court that when Alao-Akala was the governor of Oyo State,  he awarded a  road contract worth N8.5bn between 2007 and 2009 to Pentagon Engineering Services

Ubi alleged that the firm, owned by Babalola, handled the contract on behalf of the 33 local governments without budgetary provision.

The counsel further claimed that Alao-Akala ordered the supply of drilling machines on behalf of the 33 local governments in the state to the tune of N3.5bn.

He also alleged that Alao-Akala conspired with Ayoola to withdraw N2.9bn from Oyo State Local Government Joint Account.

The prosecutor told the court that Alao-Akala also illegally acquired some property on Old Bodija road, off Rotimi Williams road,  when he was the governor of the state.

He said the offences contravened Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Section 1 (18) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act.

The defendants, however,  pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr. Hakeem Afolabi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to Alao-Akala and Babaloa prayed the court to exercise its discretion in granting bail to the defendants.

Afolabi said the charge before the court was not a fresh one but a re-arraignment.

He said the matter was first filed on October 11, 2011 before Justice Moshood Abas and bail was granted after the defendants met the conditions.

NAN recalls that the defendants had also appeared before Justice Akintunde Boade and Justice Bayo Taiwo who was recently transferred out of Ibadan Division.

Afolabi said Alao-Akala was granted bail in the sum of N5m with two sureties in like sum; while the other defendants were granted bail in the sum of N3m each with two sureties in like sum.

Afolabi urged the court to allow the defendants to enjoy their earlier bail conditions.

Mr. Richard Ogunwole, another Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to Ayoola, aligned with the submission of Alao-Akala’s counsel.

The EFCC’s  counsel said he would not oppose the bail applications.

Justice Muniru Owolabi granted the defendants’ prayers and adjourned the case till  April 16 for trial.


Senate rejected me because I’m doing my job well, says Magu

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu  says the refusal of the senate to confirm him is an indication that he is carrying out his duties judiciously.

On two occasions, the senate refused to confirm Magu as the substantive chairman of the commission, citing a report of the Department of State Services (DSS) which indicted him.

Speaking on Question Time, a programme on Channels Television, the anti-graft czar said he is not deterred by the delay in his confirmation, adding that he is rather encouraged, and would not compromise his duties.

“I don’t think it (non-confirmation) has given the public a cause for concern. I think it is a lot of encouragement. The fact that I am not confirmed shows I am working. Really,” Magu said.

“In the anti-corruption environment, if they rush to confirm you, it means you are not doing your work properly.”

Asked why he is the first to have his confirmation delayed for so long, Magu said, “No problem. Maybe the others are happy. Because a number of the people we are investigating are also in the national assembly.

“I am not completely distracted. It is not an issue. Rather, it gives me courage. You wake up in the morning and see some terrible publications about you. Despite all these, we are determined to go ahead.

“I cannot be distracted with those things. Nobody can purchase me, I cannot compromise what I am doing.”

Magu also said he was not in support of the separation of the  Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from the EFCC.

He said the suspension of the NFIU from Ergmont group is being politicised.

“The best financial intelligent units in the world are the ones that are domiciled in law enforcement agencies,” he said.

“Do you think if they put financial intelligence that is totally independent, do you think the banks will listen to it?

“They listen to it because of its affinity to the EFCC.”

Magu is going nowhere, says Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is “going nowhere”.

The senate has demanded the replacement of the anti-graft czar who failed its screening on two separate occasions but the presidency has allowed Magu to carry on with his job.

To protest the refusal to sack Magu, the upper legislative chamber suspended the screening of nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari – an action which had effect on some key government decisions.

The monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could not meet in January as members of the apex bank who ought to make MPC form quorum are yet to be cleared by the senate.

But speaking when he hosted select media organisations, including TheCable, at the presidential villa in Abuja, on Thursday, Osinbajo said Magu has not committed any offence

“Magu is going nowhere. Seriously, what offence has this man committed?” he asked.

“I have known him personally right from the time of the very first chairman of the commission till now, he is a very dedicated, trustworthy gentleman. Don’t forget he is also the most senior official of the EFCC.”

Osibanjo said the executive would not be stampeded over the matter of the EFCC chairman.

This is not the first time that the vice-president would defend Magu publicly.

Last year, he told reporters that Magu could carry on as head of the anti-graft agency without being confirmed by the senate.

We found $1m cash in wardrobe of Nigeria’s former Air Force chief – Witness

Anna Akuson, a witness in the N3.9 billion fraud trial involving Alex Badeh, former Chief of Air Staff, on Wednesday told Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja how a search conducted on a property allegedly belonging to defendant led to the recovery of $1 million suspected to be proceeds of illicit deals.

Akuson, an operative of the EFCC, who testified as PW20, said that the money was found in a wardrobe at the upper apartment of the building located at No. 6 Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.

Led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Akuson said:

“I am a cameraman working with the EFCC. On February 24, 2016, I was assigned to go on a search with some operatives. The team leader told me the properties (we were to search) belong to Alex Badeh.

“On reaching the place, I started my recording from outside. In the master bedroom (upstairs), we found a travelling bag covered with a pillow-case in the wardrobe. We opened the travelling bag and found US dollars inside. We brought the bag down and the money was counted.

“After the search, we returned to the office and I copied the visual from my camera to a hard drive, after which I burned it to a DVD disc”.

Thereafter, the prosecution sought to tender the certificate of identification and the DVD disc of the recording, but its admissibility was strongly objected to by Mr. Badeh’s counsel, Akin Olujimi.

While relying on Section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Mr. Olujimi argued, “I am for the first time seeing these documents in court now that the Registrar handed them over to me.

“There is no doubt that the prosecutor did not include these two documents in the information he filed before this court. That means we have been deprived of the rights of an accused person by the law. These two documents ought to have accompanied the information which the court has”.

Responding, Mr. Jacobs argued that the documents had been made available to the defence when the EFCC’s investigating officer (who testified as PW19) gave his evidence. However, he offered to avail the defence counsel copies of the documents.

Mr. Olujimi further applied that the next date of hearing, which is March 1 be vacated to enable the defence study the documents and prepare their defence.

Consequently, Justice Abang adjourned to March 14 for continuation of trial.

Mr. Badeh is facing trial alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on a 10-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N3.9billion.

He, among other things, allegedly between January and December, 2013, used dollar equivalent of N1.4 billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.

Housing fraud: EFCC quizzes NAWOJ president, contractor again

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday referred the President, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Omowole, for further interrogation on allegations of misappropriation of housing funds contributed by members of the association.

Also recommended for further interrogation was the contractor, Prime Water View Holdings, which claimed to have spent N73m on road clearing and logistics at the proposed estate site.

The duo had earlier been quizzed by the commission over the money, which was meant for financing low cost housing for the members.

Saturday PUNCH had in a report, titled ‘NAWOJ President, Omowole, faces fire over multimillion-naira journalists’ housing scandal’ revealed the scam surrounding how the money was spent.

But a statement on Wednesday said Omowole and the contractor could not give satisfactory responses to questions on how the money was spent, when cross-examined by the EFCC’s Head of Operations in Lagos, Mr. Akan Esima.

The statement read, “Former NAWOJ National Treasurer admitted collecting a cash of $227,000, which she claimed to have given to Omowole. The money is yet to be accounted for as Omowole also claimed to have given it to Deji Elumoye, a former Lagos NUJ Chairman, without any documentation.

“Also, the $227,000, which Omowole unilaterally converted to naira, came under scrutiny. She said she changed $24,000 out of the $227,000 at the rate of N150 to a dollar in April 2016. The amount earlier reported was said to have been changed at the rate of N309 on March 1, 2016, realising N73m.

“Omowole had no evidence to show for her expenditure, other than mentioning Elumoye’s name repeatedly. Elumoye has therefore been recommended for invitation.

“Omowole and Tosin Odusola (the then treasurer of NAWOJ), who were later joined by Abimbola Oyetunde, a General Manager with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, were also at the EFCC’s office.”

Stella Oduah quizzed by EFCC over N9.4bn ‘fraud’

Stella Oduah, former minister of aviation, has been quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an N9.4bn alleged fraud during her tenure.

TheCable learnt that she arrived at the EFCC headquarters at 11am to honour a longstanding invitation.

The senator representing Anambra north was still being grilled as at 6pm, but it is not clear if she will spend the night at the anti-graft agency.

“She was invited over allegations ordering on abuse of office and money laundering. One of the allegations concerns fraud in the N9.4bn ISEC contract for security installations in some airports,” the source said.

Earlier in the month, Oduah issued a statement to deny the alleged diversion of funds under her watch as minister.

Oduah who was in charge of the aviation ministry from July 2011 to February 2014, maintained that all contracts awarded during her tenure followed due process.

“As minister of aviation, I committed myself to the service of my country to the very best of my ability and as it is widely acknowledged, my record and performance as the minister of aviation remain laudable and unbeatable,” he said.

“What we did in aviation was so far reaching that it had never been done before, it was so unprecedented.”

She said the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was in such a bad shape, that even the restrooms were not usable.

“Most of the airports were worse than motor parks,” she said.

“We took them on and efficiently and in a very timely manner changed every single one of them: and we did not just change that, we changed the safety of the Nigerian airspace.

In 2013, Oduah was embroiled in car purchase allegations, when reports emerged that she had compelled the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to procure the vehicles for her.

The purchase drew nationwide controversy, and activists like Femi Falana urged EFCC to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to prosecuting the former minister.

In response to a query by former President Goodluck Jonathan she said the procurement was duly provided for in the NCAA budget that year, which also adopted lease payments in installments over 36 months.


Court freezes accounts of Navy Admiral who received billions controversially

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday granted permission to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to freeze the accounts of Tahir Yusuf, a retired naval officer.

The judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, made the order following an ex parte order filed by Elizabeth Alabi on behalf of the EFCC chairman.

“An order is hereby made granting the chairman of the EFCC or any officer of the commission, powers to instruct the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc or the Chief Compliance officer of Zenith Bank to issue a freezing order.

“The freezing order is in respect to the accounts shown in the application until investigation into the matter is concluded.”

The judge made a similar order directing the managing director of Skye Bank to also issue a freezing order in respect to the same accounts in his bank.

She further ordered that should investigations reveal a prima facie case against the respondent, the EFCC should take steps to prosecute appropriately as stipulated by law.

Earlier, Mr. Alabi informed the court that the commission received intelligence report with regards to some unusual transactions between the account of the Nigerian Navy and those of Mr. Yusuf.

She said that upon investigation, it was discovered that huge sums of money were transferred from the navy’s account to the account of Mr. Yusuf and Babajide Oguntade, both retired officers of the navy.

“We discovered an inflow of about N2 billion into a joint account they had opened. On further investigation, we realised that the money had been spent.

“We also uncovered about seven accounts belonging to Yusuf with the bank and these are the accounts we want the court to freeze so we can conclude our investigation, “she said.

The counsel said that investigations were still on to unravel why monies were moved from the Nigerian Navy’s account into the individual accounts.

Justice Ojukwu adjourned the matter until April 20, for counsel to report back.


Court dismisses corruption charges against Nnamani, ex-Enugu gov

A federal high court sitting in Lagos has dismissed the corruption charges against Chimaroke Nnamani, a former governor of Enugu state.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused Nnamani of laundering N4.5 billion while in office between 1999 and 2007.

He was to be re-arraigned before the court on Tuesday after he was first arraigned in 2007.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Rickey Tarfa, Nnamani’s counsel, informed the court of an application he had filed disclosing the result of the plea agreement, which according to him, led to the institution and determination of the charges against the defendants in July 2015

The lawyer said in view of the plea bargain agreement entered into by parties, there is no longer any valid charge pending before the court as Chuka Obiozor, the judge could not seat on an appeal of the previous one.

The EFCC prosecutor, Kelvin Uzozie, said after looking at the affidavits filed by the defendant, he is of the view that the entire proceedings should be expunged to enable the prosecution file fresh charges against the defendant.

In his ruling, Obiozor held that “in view of the plea bargain judgement of this court delivered on the 7th of July, 2015, there is no valid charge before his court”.


FG queries Magu, Keyamo over charges filed against CCT chairma

The federal government has queried Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Festus Keyamo, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), over the corruption charges filed against Danladi Umar, chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

On behalf of the EFCC, Keymao filed a two-count corruption charge against Umar at a federal high court in Abuja, three weeks ago.

Umar was accused of demanding a bribe of N10 million from one Rasheed Taiwo, a former customs official who was facing false assets declaration charges before the CCT.

The anti-graft agency had cleared the CCT chairman of the same allegation in 2016.

The query dated February 16, 2018, was signed by Dayo Apata, solicitor-general of the federation.

Magu was asked to explain what informed the filing of corruption charges against the tribunal chairman having being cleared of corruption allegations on two occasions.

Like Magu, the senior Lawyer was given till February 20, 2018, to furnish the office of the AGF in writing the etail of who engaged or issued him with authority to file the corruption charges.

“The attention of the honourable attorney-general of the federation was drawn to news report that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed charges of corruption against the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Danladi Umar, before the FCT high court,” the letter read.

“I am directed by the honourable attorney-general of the federation to seek clarification from you as to whether the charges were filed on your instruction or directive and if in the affirmative, what is the compelling basis for doing so. This clarification becomes imperative in view of the following background facts.

“The commission’s investigation report dated 5th March 2015 addressed to the Secretary to the government of the Federation stated as follows: ‘the facts as they are now against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the defence.

“Kindly accord this letter top priority while your prompt response within 48 hours from the receipt of same is required in the circumstances.”

In an interview with TheCable, Umar had wondered the choice of Keyamo in the fresh charges filed against him.

The lawyer was the one who represented Taiwo, who allegedly bribed the CCT chairman.

“Festus Keyamo is the legal representative of the man that the chairman allegedly collected money from. He is the one standing on his behalf before CCT chairman,” Ibraheem Al-Hassan, spokesman of the CCT chairman, had said.

“We begin to get confused though maybe because we are not learned people but we felt that morally how can you be defending case here and prosecuting the person the that you are defending case before him. We felt morally that is not right.

“It is left for the system to prove you right or wrong. The procedure and the power that play that exists between Keyamo defence in our court and filing case against the chairman is causing us a lot of concern.”