Alleged Money Laundering: Court Adjourns Case Against Atiku’s Son In-Law

 

The trial against Abdullahi Babalele, a son-in-law of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who was accused of laundering $140,000 in the build-up to the 2019 general elections commenced today.

At the Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called its first witness, Bashir Mohmmmed, who described himself as a close friend of Babalele.

Mohammed, who was led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke how he delivered naira equivalent of $140,000 cash to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Babalele’s instructions.

The witness testified that he personally delivered the money to Obasanjo in his house in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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He said on Babalele’s request he supplied two bank accounts, which were credited.

After which he said he took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

“When I got there, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Obasanjo and delivered the message,” Mohammed said.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mohammed affirmed that he wrote a statement at the EFCC office during the investigation.

A move by Mr. Ozekhome to tender the statement as an exhibit before the court was, however, opposed by the prosecutor.

The development made Justice Aneke adjourn the matter till tomorrow, Wednesday for ruling on the admissibility of the statement.

 

Alleged Money Laundering: First Witness Testifies As Fayose’s Trial Resumes

 

About three months after his re-arraignment, the trial of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has resumed at the Federal High Court, Lagos with the testimony of the first prosecution witness.

Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering.

The first witness, Mr Lawrence Akande, a Banker with Zenith Bank Plc, had initially testified before former trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

But following a petition written by the EFCC alleging bias against the judge, the matter was re-assigned to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke with the implication being that all the witnesses who had testified before the previous judge would have to testify afresh.

13 witnesses listed by the anti-graft agency had initially testified before the previous judge.

They included officials from several commercial banks, as well as a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro.

In his testimony before Justice Aneke today, the first witness, Mr Lawrence told the court that as “a person of high network”, his bank sought patronage from Mr Fayose.

He admitted that Mr Fayose maintained three accounts with the bank namely Spotless Investment, De Privateer, and a personal account domiciled in Lagos.

The witness also mentioned that sometime in June 2014, he received a call from Mr Fayose informing him that there will be a business transaction in Akure which he passed on to the Akure Zonal Head of the branch to handle.

The banker then denied direct knowledge of the transaction including lodgements, payments or deposits.

After listening to the testimony, Justice Aneke then adjourned the trial till Tuesday, October 22.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Convicts Ex-NIMASA DG

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted a former Acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Calistus Obi for money laundering

Mr Obi was convicted along with Alu Dismas, a former personal assistant to his predecessor, Patrick Akpobolokemi by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on a charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The judge adjourned the case till May 28 for sentencing and ordered that the duo be remanded in prison custody pending sentencing.

The EFCC had arraigned Obi on April 12, 2016, on eight counts of conspiracy, conversion and money laundering of the sum of n136 million from NIMASA.

Although the court discharged and acquitted the defendants for conspiracy owing to the failure of the prosecutor to prove it, they were, however, convicted of conversion and money laundering.

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Count one reads: “That you, Calistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismas Alu Adoon on or about the 5th day of August 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sums of N111,000,000, property of NIMASA, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Mr Obi, Global Seal and Grand Pact were said to have converted N42,755,000.00 on December 24, 2013.

The EFCC said Mr Obi, on May 2, 2013, converted N25,000,000, as well as N46.3million being “proceeds of stealing” between April 1 and December 11, 2014.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Postpones Bail Hearing Of Four Kwara Govt Officials

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State, before Justice Babangana Ashigar, has postponed the bail hearing of four officials of the State Government arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin Zonal Office on money laundering.

Those arraigned include the Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Government House, Abubakar Ishiak, Director of Administration And Finance, Shina Akorede, Controller Finance and Account, Rasaq Momonu and cashier of the Kwara State Government House, Hafees Yusuf.

The four men were first arraigned on May 2 on two counts of money laundering and making cash payments of N20.3 million.

The payments were allegedly made to one Energy Multi-Trade Unique Interbiz Limited through the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jimoh Sarafadeen Kolade, for services rendered to the Kwara State Government house.

The sum was said to have exceeded the limitation of 10 million Naira payable to a corporate body and thereby resulting in an offence contrary to Section 1 (b) and punishable under Section 16 of the same act.

At the hearing today for their bail application, the prosecuting counsel, Christopher Mschelia, urged the presiding judge to accelerate the proceedings of the arraigned officials in order for the trials to commence.

In response, the lead counsel to the defence, Abdulwahab Bamidele, however, noted that the case was bordering on money laundering which does not involve human lives, hence it is bailable.

Countering the position, Mscheli, insisted that any case on the nation’s economy is equivalent to human life.

After listening to both parties, Justice Ashigar then postponed the date for hearing on bail application till further notice and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.

Two Military Officers, Three Firms To Temporarily Forfeit N200m To FG

Court Jails Ex-Public Officer Five Years For Employing Daughter

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered that the sum of N200 million allegedly fraudulently warehoused in some commercial banks by two military officers, and their three companies, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, pending the outcome of investigations.

According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the money was fraudulently withdrawn from the Defence Headquarters OverHead Expenses Accounts by the two officers.

The two military officers were identified as Adamu Bello Argungu and John Onimisi Ozigi, while their companies are Falsal & Co Global Services Nigeria Limited; Diamond Head Ventures & Development Company Limited; and Sweetex Bureau De Change Limited.

Justice Muslim Sule Hassan who presided over the court made the order for the temporary forfeiture after listening to the submissions of Mr. Nkereuwem Mark Anana, the EFCC lawyer, who moved an exparte application for the order.

The EFCC in an affidavit deposed by one of its operatives, Clever Ibrahim, submitted that the two military officers, Adamu Bello Argungu and John Onimisi Ozigi are of the Nigerian Army and Air Force respectively, who made several unauthorised withdrawals from the Defence Headquarters Overhead Expenses Account.

The deponent also stated that the money was deposited not in their salary accounts, nor the accounts belonging to the Defence headquarters, but in corporate accounts and other accounts belonging to their companies.

He also stated that though, a ‘post-no-debit’ has been placed on the accounts in accordance with the provisions of section 6(5) of the Money Laundering and Prohibition Act, 2011, which had lapsed after 72 hours, the order of the interim forfeiture of the money was sought to debar the respondents from tampering with it.