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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.

(NAN)

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.

 

$9bn judgment: Buhari asks EFCC, NIA to probe 2010 contract

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the

National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into Process and Industrial Developments Ltd which was recently asked by a UK court to seize $9.6 bn dollars in Nigerian assets.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mohammed said the decision was based on the fact that the Federal Government suspected foul play in the contract which was negotiated and signed in 2010.

He said, “We want to place on record that the Federal Government views with serious concerns the underhanded manner in which the contract was negotiated and signed.

“Indications are that the whole process was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration, which apparently colluded with their local and international conspirators to inflict grave economic injury on Nigeria and its people.

“In view of the above, and in an attempt to unravel the circumstances surrounding the entire transaction, the Honourable

Attorney General of the Federation, with the approval of Mr President, has requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the company, the circumstances surrounding the agreement and the subsequent event, which includes commencing a full-scale criminal investigation.”

Mohammed, however, said despite the court judgement, Nigeria was not about to lose any of its assets.

He added, “Despite the recent recognition of the award by a UK court, and contrary to some reports, Nigeria is not about to lose any of its assets to P&ID. There is no imminent threat to Nigeria’s assets!

“In the first instance, the enforcement of the award cannot even commence now because the judge in the UK court ordered that the P&ID cannot enforce the judgment against Nigeria until after the court resumes from its current vacation.

“What this means is that enforcement action cannot begin until a further hearing on the matter, which will take place on a date to be determined by the court upon its resumption.

“The Federal Government, therefore, wishes to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that there is no immediate threat to Nigeria’s assets as has been wrongly interpreted by a section of the media.

“Nigerians should be assured that the Federal Government is taking all necessary steps to appeal the decision of the UK Court, to seek for a Stay of Execution of the decision, to defend its rights and to protect the assets of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Mohammed was joined at the press conference by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

FBI list: We’ve found N486m, arrested 28 —EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said that it has recovered $314,000 and N373m ( N486m in all) from suspects in connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the list of nearly 80 Nigerians indicted for fraud.

The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, further stated that the collaboration between the commission and the FBI, led to the recovery of the funds.

Magu said while the sum of $314,000 had been recovered, the sum of N373m had been traced to various commercial banks by the Lagos zonal office of the commission.

He also disclosed that the recent joint operations coordinated by the commission had yielded 28 arrests, adding that 14 suspects had been charged and convicted.

The EFCC chair further stated that “nine of the suspects are currently undergoing trial, while five are still under investigations.

“Over 80 cases are still under investigation from the EFCC-FBI joint operations.”

Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, Magu, who spoke through Mohammed Rabo, Zonal Head, EFCC, Lagos, added that, the Lagos zone of the commission, prior to the collaborative efforts with the FBI, had independently launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds.

He said: “From 2018 to date, the EFCC had launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds, which resulted in over 200 arrests, 130 convictions and recovery of a large number of exotic cars and properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime.

“We had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous Yahoo Yahoo boys culminating in various strategic raids and onslaught on their hideouts.

“Our efforts in this regard have recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, prosecutions and convictions.”

Magu also called on the media to continue to lend its voice to the fight against corruption and economic and financial crimes, saying that “no one has the monopoly of knowledge of how the fight should be fought and won.

The FBI had released a list of 80 persons – mostly Nigerians – for their alleged role in email scams in which Americans were duped of over $70m.

EFCC arrests 33 Internet scammers in Imo

In continuation of its clampdown on internet scammers across the country, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has arrested 33 suspected online fraudsters in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the anti-graft agency explained that the suspects were arrested in their hideout by EFCC operatives from the Abuja and Enugu zonal offices.

Laptop computers, mobile phones, two Lexus SUV and a Toyota salon car, were among the items recovered from the suspects.

The arrest comes barely a day after the EFCC announced the arrest of a Cyber Crime syndicate which specialises in business email compromise in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

They were said to have confessed to searching for victims’ email addresses, creating a phishing link and compromising the process in order to defraud them.

Buhari desperate to silence Obasanjo by accusing him of a crime – Atiku

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says the Buhari administration is desperate to accuse ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of a crime so as to silence him.

In a statement issued on Monday, Atiku’s media office said the inclusion of Obasanjo’s name in the list of tax defaulters by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was to blackmail him.

It said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was feeding the media with falsehood to cause disaffection between Obasanjo and his former deputy.

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is feeding members of the media with deliberate falsehoods in an attempt to cause disaffection and bad blood between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, on one hand, and between former President Obasanjo and Nigerians in general,’’ the statement read.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Babalele Abdullahi, Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, did not donate any money in cash to the Olusegun Obasanjo Library. Yes, he did facilitate a donation of fifty million naira to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, but so did many other individuals, including civic-minded traditional rulers, state Governors, bankers and captains of industry.

“This is because the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is a non-governmental organisation that plays a pivotal role in promoting peace and stability in Nigeria, and that should be applauded.”

Referring to Buhari, the media office said unlike “another past leader, who did not improve himself or Nigeria after leaving office, but sat down nursing grudges and plotting revenge, former President Olusegun Obasanjo improved himself and Nigeria by authoring books, founding international think tanks and engaging in peace and capacity building efforts.”

“Donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa are to be commended, not criminalised. Presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals,” it said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Abdullahi’s donation of fifty million naira was made via a bank transfer, in full compliance with the law. He did not donate or make any payment in cash, as the EFCC is erroneously and salaciously misleading the public. Furthermore, the sources of these funds are completely legitimate and have been conclusively proven to the EFCC. It is instructive to note that even the EFCC has not once claimed these funds to be the proceeds of any illegal activity whatsoever.

“The truth is that there is desperation on the part of the current administration to rope in former President Olusegun Obasanjo into a crime as a way of silencing his voice, which they see as the preeminent critical voice against the misrule that they have foisted on Nigerians.

“This is why they asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service to falsely and libelously include his name in a published list of tax evaders, along with the names of other Peoples Democratic Party sympathisers, such as prominent international singer and pride of Nigeria, Davido, who played a prominent role in PDP’s gubernatorial campaign in Osun state, for which he is being punished.’’

The media office said the EFCC has become a propaganda agency and that the presidency, APC, the EFCC, The FIRS and The Nation “are now working together as five fingers of the same leprous hands.”

Abba Kyari didn’t send us after Oyo-Ita, says EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has disproved the insinuations that Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, ordered the probe of Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.

The EFCC said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, that the investigation was based on evidence and not on political considerations.

There had been rumours that Oyo-Ita came under probe because of the disagreement she had with Kyari during the Abdulrasheed Maina saga.

However, the EFCC said that, as an independent government agency, it would not go after individuals based on politics.

The statement reads in part, “The attention of the EFCC has been drawn to reports by a section of the media insinuating that the ongoing investigation of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, by the Commission was instigated by the Chief of Staff to the President.

“The Commission wishes to state that there is no truth in these claims, and urges the general public to disregard the reports as the handiwork of mischief makers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, investigation by the EFCC is evidence-based. Most often, they are triggered by petitions or intelligence.

“In the case of the HoS Oyo-Ita’s investigation, it was prompted by intelligence received by the Commission.”

The agency appealed to the media to be circumspect in reportage and not lend themselves to actions that could befuddle its activities.

N3bn scam: Oyo-Ita begs to retire honourably

As the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) steps up investigation into a N3 billion contract scam, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, has pleaded that the case against her be stepped down.

The number one civil servant is begging that she should be allowed to “retire honourably.”

Although she admitted introducing some people to some Permanent Secretaries for assistance, she said she was doing so “without realizing the implication.”

She said she does not own proxy companies under any guise and has no many upscale assets in Abuja.

She said although she collected Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) without traveling, the indulgence was not a regular occurrence.

She also alleged that the EFCC had planned to arraign her on August 19 but she had to remain in a hospital to take care of her health.

Her plea came against the filling of witness forms by some Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Finance and Administration in order to testify against some contracts when the formal trial of some suspects begins.

Detectives have also discovered that the Project Accountant, in whose account N600 million was found, is on Grade Level 12.

Oyo-Ita, however, said the Accountant in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) was not her aide but he reports to a Director of Finance and Administration who also reports to a Permanent Secretary before the Head of Service comes into the picture.

The foregoing snippets are contained in Oyo-Ita’s plea to those she is begging to intercede on her behalf before President Muhammadu Buhari.

A part of the snippets saw her saying: “Please, please, please, have mercy on me. I am begging for mercy that this case against me should be stepped down and I should be allowed to retire honourably.

“I do not own proxy companies. Several people came to me to introduce them to Permanent Secretaries. I have been doing this without realising the implication.”

On DTA, two top shots who are mediating on her behalf said she confessed to have collected these estacodes without traveling only “a few times.”

One of the sources, a former bureaucrat, quoted her as saying: “Due to work pressure, I am not able to travel after collecting DTA or estacodes.”

The source added: “She wants soft-landing from the Presidency because some of the contracts under investigation predated her appointment as the Head of Service. They were awarded between 2013 and 2014. “Her greatest fears border on alleged moves by the EFCC to put her on trial alongside a former minister. “She said there was an initial plan to arraign her in court on August 19 but for providence that she was in the hospital for medical treatment.”

A second source, who is one of the strong supporters of the President, said: “She evoked much emotion when she was begging for mercy. “Apart from reliving the past, especially PTF days with President Muhammadu Buhari, she said she has been ‘absolutely loyal’ to this administration.

“She also said the Project Accountant is not her aide at all despite the fact that he is a staff in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

“Her argument is that the Project Accountant with N600 million in his account reports to a Director of Finance and Administration who also reports to a Permanent Secretary before the Head of Service is in the picture.

“We have done our best to lay all the cards on the table before the powers that be. It is left for the President to determine her fate in the light of the investigation report of the anti-graft commission and her defence.”

No record of her resignation, says Presidency

On the circumstances surrounding her resumption yesterday, there were rumours that the Presidency might have rejected her plans to either resign or retire. It was learnt that the Head of Service confided in the staff in her office that the Presidency directed her to go ahead with her work pending the conclusion of investigation.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said last night: “We are not aware of any letter of resignation. There is no record of it in the registry. So, questions pertaining to it ought not to arise.”

At press time, there were indications that the anti-graft agency had uncovered that the OHCSF officer with N600 million in his account is on Grade Level 12.

A reliable source said: “So far, we have discovered that he is a GL 12 officer. He is answering questions on how he came about such a huge amount in his account.

“Officially, the amount allowed in any project account at any time is between N10 million and N15 million. The ongoing investigation might reveal the real purpose for keeping such a huge cash.

“We have various bends to the investigation and some Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Finance and Administration have filled the witness form to testify on some contracts when a formal trial of suspects begins.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “We may still invite Oyo-Ita for interrogation. The amount involved is huge.”

EFCC, ICPC to beam searchlight on fraudulent banks —Malami

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday, said the anti-corruption agencies would beam their searchlight on banks that had been aiding corrupt practices in the country.

He said the Federal Government, through his ministry, would work closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to ensure that banks involved in corrupt practices are sanctioned.

Speaking during his first full day in office in Abuja after his Wednesday’s re-appointment as the AGF, Malami also promised to pursue judicial reforms, including proposing an amendment to the Constitution, that would provide an innovative way to tackle congestion of cases at the Supreme Court.

On financial institutions’ involvement in corruption, he said, “As bad news to the rogues within our financial system, in the next four years, the Federal Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with anti-corruption agencies, will beam searchlight on the financial institutions and non-designated financial institutions in order to make them pay dearly for the dastardly roles they played and are still playing in encouraging and deepening corruption in Nigeria.

“From arms procurement fraud, INEC bribery case to Diezani case and several others, quantitative data available to the Federal Government abundantly shows that financial institutions are directly involved in most of the major corruption cases investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission from 2015 till date.

 

 

Ambode: CACOL cautions EFCC against selective investigation

 

The Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran, has faulted the action of the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to allow themselves be used by some perceived political enemies to raid the country home of former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode in Epe.

Adeniran spoke on Thursday during an interview on Arise TV’s Morning Show, where he picked holes in the selective method of the investigation by the anti-corruption agency.

Recall that on Tuesday, EFCC raided the residence of Ambode in Ikoyi and Epe over allegations of corruption allegations leveled against him, but could not find anything incriminating.

“That account we were told is the account of the Lagos State government. It is not a functional account for the former governor or anybody in that government and that because it has to be operated. Nobody is above the law actually and we are not saying that if any corruption issues are developed against the former governor, Akinwunmi Ambode that he should not be investigated or brought before justice.

“The reason why we have to believe that you have to connect with it is that, that is the only corruption allegation that has been leveled against the former governor. And we don’t have anything against that if on reasonable ground that have reasons to believe that maybe the cash is starched in that house just like that found in Osborne’s house, Falomo, Ikoyi or shopping complex. They could raid the place and they can break it down if they refuse to open the place. But then you have to have reasonable reasons to do that. Unfortunately, Epe youths might be too zealous to protect one of their own, that might be the reason.

“But we were told that they actually penetrated the premises and did the search and even going by the account of the young lawyers they said that they insisted that they needed to witness the search. And they actually search the searchers before they started the operation. At the end of the day, they never found anything incriminating in that house except for a stark of files. And those stark of files we wouldn’t know if they suspected that it contains documents, but they could have checked it to find out the contents of those files so that if the files contain secret documents they could have easily tell the world what they have found in the house.

But since there is no incident, it means it’s only normal that people would think it was maliciously done. We believe that EFCC as an anti-corruption agency shouldn’t have allowed itself to be used. Of course, they need to investigate all petitions that have been sent to them,” Adeniran explained.

 

EFCC: Our operatives were attacked by Ambode’s hoodlums

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives were attacked by hoodlums loyal to Akinwunmi Ambode, former governor of Lagos, on Tuesday.

The anti-graft agency had gone to execute a search warrant on Ambode’s residence in his hometown, Epe.

Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s head of media and publicity, said in a statement on Tuesday evening that the commission “had obtained valid warrant to conduct search on Ambode’s residences in Park View, Ikoyi and country home in Epe, as part of ongoing investigation of alleged malfeasance”.

He said the operatives were attacked and prevented from executing the search warrant in Epe by “irate youths” who injured three officers and damaged the EFCC official vehicle.

“The attack was totally unprovoked as the Commission’s operatives were civic and did not molest anybody. The Commission therefore frowns at the attempt to manipulate the video of the search to create the wrong impression that officers of the agency molested residents at the Epe home of the governor. It is also not true that the search was an attempt to plant foreign currencies in the home of the former governor,” he said.

The agency had earlier denied carrying out a raid on Ambode’s residence, insisting that its operatives were on a legitimate duty.

A group of lawyers had also alleged that the EFCC wanted to planted incriminating evidence at Ambode’s house in Epe.

EFCC: Our operatives were attacked by Ambode’s hoodlums

Ex-INEC boss, Maurice Iwu narrates EFCC ordeal

Professor Maurice Iwu, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, has finally spoken about his recent ordeal in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC.

According to Iwu, “The journey I have found myself on began brewing on February 23rd, 2019 when I was deprived of my civic duty of voting in the Presidential Election as a result of EFCC “investigations”. From the seizure of my international passport that February till this recent ordeal with actual charges and detention, God’s goodness has remained manifest as I recite “Te Deum” in Thanksgiving.”

The Former INEC chairman thanked “Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora for their enormous show of concern, support and the spiritual discipline (for not crucifying me before my day in the court of law). My gratitude to Ndi Igbo, umu Imo, Okigwe indigenes (both at home and abroad), clergy from various denominations, especially of the Catholic faith, which I belong to. The support were not just in words of encouragement, but more in actions of prayers, for in it all the glory of God was made manifest. Though I ask the same question Ps. 4:2a stated “How long, Oh men will you turn my glory into shame?”

“Whenever persecution comes my way, I become more aware that God does not forsake His own indeed, and I’m encouraged by Ps. 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

He said “Despite the challenges, I bow in honour and humility the Grace God has offered and continues to afford me and my family.

“Even with a spirit charged by the timeless words of Rudyard Kipling in his timeless poem “If” (1943).

“More than ever before, with what I have passed through within the last months, I embrace the ever reassuring grace and presence of the Holy spirit, which affords my soul to appreciate the professionalism and dignity of many of the staff and persons at the EFCC detention centre, Judiciary and the Ikoyi prisons. It could only be God.

“With a humble spirit, I plead for well meaning Nigerians to await the court trial and due process in this matter that would allow me to share my side of the story and equally bring to light the testimonies of this journey of immense grace and revelation.

“It is noteworthy, that none of the charges against me has to do with my tenure as Chairman of INEC. And to the scientific community, please be assured that this would not negatively affect the several ongoing work by Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) in contributing to the discovery and development of phytomedicines for tropical and emergent diseases, and the use of our world-class research facility for the standardization of African Medicinal Plants.

“I would like to acknowledge my beloved family, friends and my legal team for their support, hard work, solidarity and prayers. God heard all of you and never left me. The darkness that has enveloped the day is not yet over, please remain steadfast.

Iwu was released from Ikoyi Prisons after meeting the stringent N1bn bail granted him by the Federal High Court, Lagos, last week.

The court granted him bail after he was docked last week Thursday before Justice Chuka Obiozor by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a four-count charge bordering on money laundering although Realnews found out that there are other reasons for his trial which may be inherently politically motivated.

Realnews suggested in a report that prosecution of Iwu was because of the ongoing case at the Presidential Election Tribunal where Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is challenging the victory of President Muhammad Buhari at the presidential election in February 23. His traducers believed that he is the one advising Atiku on how to wage his case on the transmission of results of the February 23, presidential election through the INEC server. Although INEC has denied the existence of such server, it is believed that it was installed during the time Iwu presided over the commission as its chairman. It is alleged that he employed and trained all the staff manning the department who may have provided him information which he passed on to the Atiku Campaign Organisation.

Another grudge his traducers have against him is the alleged role he played in influencing the Ohaneze to support Peter Obi as the vice presidential candidate of PDP.

Also, Realnews gathered that the money Iwu was alleged to have laundered was the fund the federal government gave for research on prevention of Ebola during the outbreak of the disease in the country in 2014. Sources told Realnews that the disease was quickly contained in Nigeria because the fund was deployed to achieve the objective of the federal government to contain the spread of the disease in the country. As at the time of his arrest, there was no money relating to the fund found in Iwu’s account or that of his company, Bioresources, the source said.

According to the source, who craved anonymity, the prosecutors are also urging Iwu to implicate former President Goodluck Jonathan in order for him to be set free. The insistence of the prosecutors on this line of action led to an angry altercation between the EFCC official and Iwu during his interrogation. Iwu was said to have asked the EFCC official how he expected him at his age and background to implicate somebody who committed no offence and for what gain.

Realnews reports that Iwu’s travails with the EFCC started early this year during the elections when he was invited for questioning but was released to go on self recognition and directed to report regularly to the commission until his current arrest and prosecution. It was then rumoured that his arrest was to prevent him from influencing the outcome of elections in Imo, his home state, where the indigenes were battling to ensure that Rochas Okorocha, former governor, did not return his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu as the governor of the state.

EFCC tried to plant evidence on Ambode – Epe lawyers

 

Some young legal practitioners have claimed that officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission attempted to plant implicating evidence during a search of the Ikoyi home of former Lagos governor,  Akinwunmi Ambode earlier on Tuesday.

In a statement issued on Tuesday,  th he lawyers gave a detailed account of what transpired at Ambode’s Park View apartment.

 

Below is the full statement:

At early hours of today, we were duly briefed that some officers of the EFCC invaded the apartment of the Former Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Akinwunmi Ambode with the intention to search the premises.

We got to the scene and met with the officials of the EFCC to inquire whether they have a search warrant to search the premises of the Ex Governor.

Having confirmed the Search Warrant, the EFCC officials told us that nobody will follow them in as they will only go in alone. We resisted as young Lawyers and stated expressly that the principle of search is that the owner of the premises of his representatives must be present to observe the search.

They succumbed to our superior argument and allowed us and the people who has the key to the Ex Governor’s house into the apartment with them. Before they entered, we searched all the officials of the EFCC who intended to go in to effect the search.

There was a blue bag which they were holding with them, we requested to see the content of the bag before they could take it in. They got angry and said we cannot see the content. Having said that, we strongly resisted them to take it in since they cant allow us to see it, which they later agreed. We later got to know that the bag contained foreign currency which they brought to plant in the house of the Ex Governor to incriminate him.

It is important to inform the public that before the entered the house, we all submitted our phones to them as they requested that the only person required to go in with phone is one of them who will record the whole process.

All documents, including the State Executive Exco Meetings Vol 1 – 16 in the personal study of the Ex Governor and His Luggage room which they intended to take along with them for further investigation was resisted by us as we told them that failure to take records of all the documents from A-Z, they cannot go out with anything and they agreed with us.

Flowing from the aforesaid, they searched the nooks and crannies of the Ex Governor’s house and they couldn’t find any incriminating documents or materials. We authoritatively assert that, they did find anything in the house and they didn’t leave the house with anything.

We followed them as they entered from one place to the other, when our presence was intimidating them, they said we should sit down while they will do the search. We resisted that we must follow them to observe every of their activities in the premises.

To our greatest consternation, the officials of EFCC led by Rotimi Oyedepo, Esq held on to our phones and told us to follow them to their office in Ikoyi to get our phones. All efforts to get back our phones was abortive as the EFCC officials led by Rotimi Oyedepo, Esq rushed into their white Hiace Bus with our phones and instructed that since we have resisted their efforts to take “the said blue bag” into the main premises of the Ex Governor, they will hold on to the phone. Thus, almost six (6) phones were forcefully taken away, iPhones inclusive.

It is our happiness as Young Lawyers in Epe to be part of the process to legally and successfully resist the EFCC from incriminating the Ex Governor with the blue bag they brought with them from an unknown destination, and we also compelled them to conduct the search within the ambit of the law. Hence, the success.

We are sincerely elated that our presence really helped a long way to legally and successfully expose the intention of the EFCC to incriminate the Ex Governor. To this end, we are ready to challenge the search as they have gone beyond standard and the search warrant in this regard successfully whisking our phones away.

Thank you for listening and God bless you.

Signed.

Fatai A. Adebanjo, Esq.

Busari M. Olanrewaju, Esq.

Samson K. Okuneye, Esq.

APC reacts to EFCC raid on Ambode’s home

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the search conducted by the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) at the Epe home of a former governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode.

Ambode left office on May 29 after serving a single four-year term and is believed to be under investigation for alleged corruption.

The former governor’s residence in his hometown, Epe was searched around 9:35 a.m.

The residence of his former chief of staff was also searched in the same Epe town of Lagos State.

Two weeks earlier, multiple bank accounts holding billions of naira and linked to Ambode were frozen as part of the probe.

While Ambode has denied links to both the accounts and any allegations of corruption while in office, the EFCC said whatever it was doing with regards to the investigation “is in line with its mandate and the rule of law.”

Reacting to this development, the APC spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said “there are no sacred cows”

He said this in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon.

“It is about time we knew that the APC government is not joking with its commitment to fight corruption in whatever form it is. This government has demonstrated that there are no sacred cows”, he said.

“The naysayer can continue to say what they like but they must be ashamed of themselves by now, knowing that on daily basis, the anti-corruption agencies are proving them wrong,” Mr Issa-Onilu said.

When asked if the party was in support of the move against Mr Ambode, he said: “We are not specific about any issue. The fight against corruption is our own policy and there are no sacred cows. We just hope that the allegation against former governor Ambode is not true. If true, this APC government will not bend the rule for any personalities.”

He maintained that corruption fight is the “cardinal principle of the APC.”

Ambode reacts to EFCC search, says no cause for alarm

 

Former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday urged his supporters and the general public to remain calm and law-abiding as there was no cause for alarm.

Ambode, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Habib Aruna, spoke on the backdrop of a search by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on his Epe Country home and Parkview Ikoyi residence, where the anti-graft agency conducted the exercise without any incident.

He said the Commission, till date, has not opened any direct communication with him on any issue, adding that he was ready and willing to respond if or when they do so.

The statement reads: “This morning, operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission visited the Epe Country home and Parkview Ikoyi residence of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, former Governor of Lagos State, with warrants to conduct a search. These searches were carried out extensively and at the end of the exercise the operatives left without any incident.

“The former Governor reiterates that the EFCC has till date not had any direct communication with him on any subject matter whatsoever and if or when it occurs he is ready and willing to respond.

“The former governor wishes to assure his supporters and the generality of Lagosians to continue to remain calm and law-abiding as there is no cause for alarm.”

The former governor reiterated his belief in the rule of law and due process and remains grateful for the opportunity to have served Lagos State diligently and conscientiously.

It would be recalled that Ambode, in an earlier response to allegations by the EFCC that it had frozen certain accounts linked to him, insisted that no account of his contained N9.9bn let alone being frozen by the Commission as those accounts were opened and operated by the Lagos State Government.