EFCC Investigates Sen. Kwankwaso Over Diversion Of N3.08bn LGs’ Funds

A former governor of Kano State currently serving in the Senate on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Rabiu Kwankwaso is under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over an allegation of diversion of local government funds amounting to N3.08billion.

Daily Trust reported that the former Governor would soon be invited over the investigation, which was spurred by a petition, signed by one Barrister Mustapha Danjuma and co. on behalf of Engineer Abubakar Maisha’ani and Alhaji Najumai Garba Kobo.

In the petition dated May 27, 2015, Senator Kwankwaso was said to have received contributions of N70 million from each of the 44 local government councils (totaling N3.08billion) towards his presidential primaries in 2015.

“In the course of our investigations some vouchers were discovered from the local government areas showing that each contributed the sum of N70 million towards the 2015 presidential primaries of Kwankwaso”, Daily Trust said, quoting a source.

EFCC Recovers N216,402,565 From Golden Swiss

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has recovered the sum of N216,402,565.05 from Swiss Golden Investment, an online investment that purportedly deals in buying and selling of Gold Bars.

According to reports the commission received thousands of complaints alleging that they invested in Swiss Golden Investment which was advertised as an online investment that deal with buying and selling of Gold Bars, of which the company refused to pay them any dividend or refund their capital.

Upon receipt of the petition, the Commission invited the petitioners and they volunteered statements. Through intelligence, the Commission picked up one Maxim Lobaty, a Russian and two Nigerians: Austin Emenike and Dickson Nonso Onuchukwu in Lagos. The trios were subsequently conveyed to the Kano operational zone of the EFCC for further investigation.

Swiss Golden which is headquartered in Hong Kong was discovered through investigation to be a Ponzi scheme that was designed to defraud innocent victims of their hard earned money.

After being drilled at the Commission’s Kano Zonal Office, Maxim and his co-suspects consented to the refund of the investment. Subsequently, a total sum of N216, 402,565.05 (Two Hundred and Sixteen Million, Four Hundred and Two Thousand, Five Hundred Sixty-Five Naira) only have now been recovered.

However, while the investigation was ongoing, it was discovered that Swiss Golden Company Limited has defrauded over seven thousand Nigerians to the tune of over N3,000,000,000 (Three Billion Naira) only.

The investigation into the alleged fraud is still ongoing and all efforts are being made to recover the money involved and the alleged suspects are brought to justice.

 

Globacom Faces EFCC $6.7m Fraud Probe

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has charged telecommunications company, Globacom Limited, before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja for an alleged fraud of $6,786,674.61.

The firm was charged alongside its Indian Chief Marketing Officer, Ashok Israni, who was listed as the first defendant in the case.

The one count filed before Justice A.O. Williams against the defendants, read, “Ashok Israni and Globacom Limited, sometime in 2008 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, induced Emitac Mobile Solutions LLC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates to confer a benefit on you by permitting Emitac Mobile Solutions LLC to provide you with Blackberry solutions services, valued at USD 6,786,674.64 on the understanding that the benefit will be paid for, which pretence you knew to be false.”

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. A.B.C. Ozioko, who signed the charge sheet, claimed that the firm and Israni acted contrary to Section 1(2)(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.

However, when the case was called in court on Monday, the defendants were not in court.

The prosecutor, Ozioko, said the EFCC was making efforts to produce Israni, who had been granted an administrative bail by the anti-graft agency.

“My lord, we are sorry we are not able to produce the defendants.

“As part of efforts to ensure that trial commences, we brought the complainants all the way from Dubai.

“We have no choice but to seek a date for arraignment,” he said.

In the circumstance, Justice Williams adjourned the case till May 15, 2018 for the arraignment of the defendants.

Court Refuses To Freeze Patience Jonathan’s Bank Accounts

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday turned down an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seeking to seize the funds in 15 bank accounts linked to former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.

The funds, which the anti-graft agency sought to confiscate, included a total of $8,435,788.84 and over N7.35bn.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun in his verdict trashed the ex parte application filed by the EFCC for the seizure of the funds, saying the funds were already subject of litigation before two other judges.

Recall that Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, then domestic aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, had told the court that the $15.5m siezed from the former First Lady was her legitimate money.

Dudafa, who appeared as Patience’s first witness had also claimed that the $15.5m seized from Patience by the EFCC was not proceeds of fraud but, “consisted of her personal inheritance and money which she held in trust for her siblings, as well as gifts from friends and well-wishers over the years.”

Dudafa said the multi-million dollars and other currencies belonging to Mrs Jonathan were cash gifts, inheritance and funds she holds in trust for others.

NUC Asks EFCC To Check Activities Of Illegal Universities

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has called for the intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in checking the activities of fraudsters operating illegal universities in the country.

Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, made the call during a visit to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, at the commission head office in Abuja.

In a statement by the spokesperson for the EFCC Wilson Uwujaren, Professor Rasheed sought the assistance of the anti-graft agency in creating an atmosphere for a corrupt free university system.

As part of a collaborative effort in the fight against corruption, the NUC boss presented a draft curriculum of a course in Cyber Security and Forensic Science to the commission.

He also commended the anti-graft agency for its efforts in riding Nigeria of corruption and urged it not to relent in its drive.

In his response, Mr Magu thanked Professor Rasheed for the draft curriculum on the anti-corruption course and promised that the Commission would study it and make the necessary input for its effective take off.

He also assured the NUC boss that the EFCC would go after fraudsters operating illegal universities in the country.

The EFCC boss lauded the visit saying, “EFCC cannot claim ownership of the achievement recorded; the credit goes to every Nigerian who supports the fight against corruption”.

Alleged N11bn Fraud: EFCC Re-Arraigns Shema, Begins Trial

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned a former governor of Katsina State, Mr Ibrahim Shema.

The former governor was re-arraigned on Tuesday alongside three others before Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court on a 24-count amended charge.

Other defendants are the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Sani Makana; a permanent secretary in the Ministry for Local Government Affairs, Lawal Rufai, and the Chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in Katsina State, Ibrahim Dankaba.

According to a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the accused persons were first arraigned before the same court on February 21, 2017, for allegedly conniving to divert more than N11billion from the coffers of Katsina State while Mr Shema was governor.

On the last adjourned date, the prosecution informed the court of its victory at the Supreme Court which dismissed the application of the former governor and his co-accused to stop their trial.

The prosecution also informed the court of its decision to amend the charge.

At the resumed hearing on April 10, 218, the amended charge was read to the accused persons and they all entered a plea of not guilty.

In view of their plea, the prosecution counsel, Sam Ologunorisa, informed the court of his readiness to proceed to trial.

Following no objection from the counsel representing the accused persons, the first prosecution witness, Ibrahim Dabo Bujawa entered the witness box.

In his evidence, Bujawa who is a former Auditor General of Katsina State who retired in 2004, told the court that he chaired the Committee of Investigation of State and Local Government finances set up by the present governor of the state, Aminu Masari.

In laying the foundation of his evidence, the witness explained how monies belonging to the Local Governments should legally be distributed.

He said, “The local governments normally access their money from the Federation Account through State Local Government Joint Account. When money comes from the Federation Account, it goes to the State Joint Local Account and subsequently distributed to local governments by the Joint Account Committee popularly known as JAAC Committee.”

According to him, “ the functions of the JAAC Committee as provided by Katsina State Government is to meet on monthly basis in order to distribute funds sent from the Federation Account to some statutory bodies such as Local Government Service Commission, Primary Education Board, Local Government Pension Board and the two Emirate Councils of Katsina and Daura based on percentage allocated to them by the respective laws”.

When asked if the first accused person, Shema, was at any time a member of the JAAC Committee, the witness answered no, stressing that a governor does not play any role in the distribution of the money.

When asked as to whether his investigation committee had discharged its mandate, the witness replied in affirmative.

He added that his investigation revealed that between 2007 and 2015 when Shema was governor, the JAAC Committee did not meet even once as provided by law.

Bujawa was, however, cut short by the counsel representing the third accused, B.Y. Kura, who argued that the witness cannot give oral evidence on a written document.

Kura stated that since there was investigation report already documented, such report should be tendered before anyone gives evidence about it.

In view of the objection of the learned silk, the prosecution counsel asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to provide the report to the court.

The case was adjourned till May 30 for the continuation of trial.

New Looter’s List to be Released Shortly, Many will be Shocked-

As controversy continues to trail the release of looters’ list by the Federal Government in the last one week, there are strong indications that government is compiling fresh names of people alleged to have looted the nation’s treasury.

Our correspondents learnt that the fresh list might contain names of those who have yet to be arraigned in courts for corruption.

The list may also include names of former governors, ministers and even bankers.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had in the past said 55 persons stole N1.34tn under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Last week, he released 29 names, who he said took money from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sabo Dasuki (retd.).

Many of the names he released were, however, those already undergoing trial for alleged corruption while the names of members of the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, who had defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress were conspicuously omitted from the list.

The two lists contained names of those in the main opposition party, the PDP. The PDP had subsequently criticised the government, accusing it of being biased and diverting attention from its alleged incompetence.

But a source close to the Presidency, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents in Abuja on Friday, that the government, through the Ministry of Information and Culture, would soon release another list.

He said that the next batch would be more comprehensive and would contain the names of those who either took money from the office of the former NSA or directly from the Federal Government before the 2015 elections.

He said the government was aware of the controversy that surrounded the release of the first two lists, adding that the names of some persons considered to be close to the government could be in the third list.

The source said, “Between you and me, I can authoritatively tell you that we are compiling a fresh list. We won’t release it until we are satisfied with it. We want to be thorough. People will be shocked when we release the fresh names.

“Those who accused us of being biased will know that we know what we are doing. The first list was a fraction. When the second one came out, people were surprised. As for the next one, people will be shocked. I won’t say more than that.”

Efforts made to reach Mohammed on the issue were unsuccessful as calls made to his mobile phone indicated that it was switched off.

Our list includes former governors, ministers, bankers –Sagay

However, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), in an interview with Saturday PUNCH confirmed that the names of 55 persons that allegedly looted N1.34tn under Jonathan’s regime were not in the lists of looters released by the Federal Government.

He said he was very sure that the Federal Government would publish the names of these alleged looters. He said, “Yes, I’m sure. In fact, there is a paper containing all their names, the charges against them, how far their cases have gone, some of them have never been charged.

“That list includes former governors, ministers, bankers and so on. That is another list entirely.”

He, however, refused to mention any of the names on the list, saying, “No, I don’t want to mention any names for now. There are people on that list that the court declared that the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) had no right to prosecute for technical reasons, not for substantive reasons.”

Secondus sues Lai Mohammed, demands N1.5bn damages

Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, has dragged Mohammed to court for defamation of character.

Mohammed had on Friday, last week, identified Secondus as one of those who looted the nation’s treasury in the first list.

He alleged that Secondus collected N200m from Dasuki, an allegation that was denied by Secondus, who said he was embarrassed by the minister’s claim.

He claimed through a letter from his lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN ), that he did not collect money and asked the minister to retract his statement. He also asked for the payment of N1.5bn as damages and a public apology within 48 hours.

The letter told Mohammed to note that if he failed to meet their demand after 48 hours, “We shall within 72 hours from today, proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to ventilate our client’s rights under the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you.”

Having failed to meet the demand, Secondus on Friday, made good his threat and filed a suit at the High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, asking the court to award the sum of N1.5bn to him as damages for humiliation, castigation, vilification attack on his person and integrity as a result of the publication.

According to a statement by the PDP National Chairman’s Media Office, which was signed by his spokesperson, Mr. Ike Abonyi, Secondus, in the suit numbered: /PHC/1013/2018, is also claiming that Mohammed’s publication is defamatory.

He, therefore, asked the court to direct Mohammed to retract the said publication and apologise to him in writing.

He asked the court to compel the minister to publish the retraction and apology in the Nation, This Day, The Sun, The Guardian and The PUNCH as well as on television stations like Nigerian Television Authority and Channels TV, among others, where the “defamatory” report was published.

Secondus is also asking the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further publishing defamatory materials against him.

Joined in the suit are the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Attorney General of the Federation and the Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation Newspapers.

Also included in Mohammed’s first list were a former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh, who is on trial for allegedly collecting N1.4bn from NSA office; Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, who is on trial for taking N2.1bn from NSA office; and a former Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, who is on trial over N830m kept in accounts of four different companies

In the second list, the minister said based on EFCC’s investigation, N126bn, $1.5bn and £5.5m were allegedly embezzled through Dasuki’s office. He said the amounts were not part of the ongoing $2.1bn military equipment scandal.

Source: PUNCH

Court Strikes Out Maina’s Suit Against EFCC

The Federal High Court in Kaduna State has struck out a suit filed by the former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Maina had on November 14, 2017, sued the anti-graft agency for what he described as an ineligibility of the commission to carry out its functions on the grounds that the 2004 EFCC Act is an illegality.

In the petition he filed through his lawyer, Muhammad Sani Katu, Maina urged the court to declare as null and void the EFCC act of 2004, on the premise that the act was modified by the former president Olusegun Obasanjo without passing the normal legislative processes as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended.

He also prayed the court to restrain the EFCC or any other security agency from arresting him over allegations of corruption.

Maina went to court after he was declared wanted by the EFCC for allegedly diverting recovered pension funds while serving as chairman of the pension reform task team.

Listed among the four respondents in the suit are – the EFCC, the AGF, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

However, at the previous sittings, Counsels to EFCC and Attorney General of the federation, filed a preliminary objection arguing that the Federal High Court in Kaduna lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

This according to them was on grounds that the plaintiff had filed similar suit at a court of the same jurisdiction in the nation’s capital, Abuja. After listening to all the parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Saleh Shuaibu adjourned the case to March 28 for the ruling.

Delivering his judgement on Wednesday, Justice Shuaibu struck out Maina’s suit for lack of substantial evidence to back his claims.

The judge upheld the preliminary objection by the EFCC lawyer and that of the Attorney General of the federation, who contended that since the main claim of the applicants was founded on mere speculation, their principal reliefs are not maintainable under the law.

Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to Abdulrasheed Maina says he will consult his client with a view to contesting the judgement at the Court of Appeal.

EFCC Discovers N2.4 Billion And $115,000 From Air Vice Marshall

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) revealed to a Federal High Court in Lagos that N2.4 billion and $155,000 had been recovered from a former chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu (rtd).

The commission disclosed this to Justice Mohammed Idris. Also, the anti-graft commission recovered N383 million from Amosu’s wife, Omolara.

EFCC made the disclosure while testifying in the on-going trial of Amosu and 10 others over alleged N22.8 billion fraud. The former Chief of Air Staff was, on June 29, 2016, arraigned by the anti-graft agency alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola AdigunAir Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga and eight companies over the alleged offence.

 The companies are: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd., Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd., Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd., Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd., Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd., Timsegg Investment Ltd. and Solomon Health Care. In his testimony before the court, Owobo said the commission has successfully recovered part of the money allegedly stolen by the defendants.

 The witness added that cars and landed property were equally seized from the defendants. He said: “About N100 million was recovered from the third defendant, Air Commodore Gbadebo. Funds were also left over in St Solomon’s bank account, recovered through the first defendant’s wife. “About N383 million was recovered through the first defendant’s wife. The first defendant (Amosu) also refunded two bank drafts of N2.4 billion in our Lagos and Abuja offices. We also recovered $115,000 in one of the first defendant’s residences. Various landed property and buildings were recovered from the second defendant.”    

 

Owobo listed the recovered vehicles to include a bulletproof Lexus LX 570, a bulletproof Land Cruiser Sports Utility Vehicle and a Toyota Avalon. Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to April 18. The commission had, at the last hearing of the matter, told the court that it is yet to reach any plea bargain agreement with the defendants. EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the judge that no “concrete” agreement had been reached. “We’ve not reached any concrete agreement that is acceptable to the complainant. We’re here with our witness and we’re ready to go on with trial,” he said.

 

Some of the counts against the accused persons read as thus: “That you, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (Rtd), Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd., Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd., Trapezites Bdc, Fonds and Pricey Ltd., Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd., Timsegg Investment Ltd. and Solomon Health Care Ltd., on or about the 5th day of March, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sum of N21,467,634,707.43, property of the Nigerian Air Force, which sum was derived from stealing.      

 

“That you, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu Nunayon (rtd), Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd., Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd., Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd., Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd., Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd., Timsegg Investment Ltd. and Solomon Health Care Ltd. between the 23rd and 24th day of September, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, indirectly converted the sum of N976 million, property of the Nigerian Air Force.”

Taking NFIU Out Of EFCC A ‘Setback’ – Ribadu

The pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, has described the proposed movement of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) out of the EFCC, as a setback for the country.

“I feel sad that they want to take the NFIU away from EFCC. This will set us back,” he said.

Speaking on Thursday morning at an Anti-Corruption Situation Room organised by the HEDA Resource Centre in Abuja, Mr. Ribadu recalled how the NFIU was conceived, and nursed by the commission.

He said the NFIU achieved milestones because of the institutional backing and the enforcement effect of the EFCC.

Mr. Ribadu recalled that through the use of the NFIU, the EFCC worked on putting Nigeria back on global financial map.

“What we did with NFIU was to bring Nigeria at par with the rest of the world in terms of financial regulations and tracing suspicious deals,” he said.

He said it was a former official in the Olusegun Obasanjo government, Obiageli Ezekwesili, who first drew attention to Nigeria’s negative rating by the Egmont group and what was needed to address it.

Mr. Ribadu said the EFCC engaged the Financial Action Task Force and made efforts to comply with the requirements, including instituting the NFIU.

Mr. Ribadu also called for openness and accountability in the country’s oil and gas sector.

He lamented that failure to implement far-reaching reforms has left the industry undeveloped and used mainly as a cash cow to enrich a few.

 

In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Waziri Adio, described efforts at instilling accountability in the oil and gas industry as a difficult task.

“The area is technical and people who are taking advantage of it don’t want it to change. They want the status quo to remain so that average people don’t understand what’s going on and when you challenge them they say you don’t know anything,” he said.

He said management of resources coming from extractive industry is an issue all citizens should be interested about, adding that “resources themselves are not a curse, it is the way people apply them”.