Court Orders Arrest of Diezani, Convicts Two INEC Staff Over N362m Bribe

EFCC Seeks Diezani’s Extradition, Court Adjourns Arraignment Till May
(File) Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

The Adamawa State High Court sitting in Yola has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, to liaise with the International Police Organization, INTERPOL, to arrest a former Minister Of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The former minister is among three defendants charged before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three counts for allegedly deploying over N362million derived from a $115m slush fund to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections in favour of the candidate of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The other defendants are Ibrahim Mohammed, the electoral officer in charge of Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State and Sahabo Iya-Hamman, a retired INEC staff and Adamawa State coordinator of West African Network of Election Observers (WANEO), during the 2015 presidential election.

Count two of the charge read, “That you, Ibrahim Mohammed Umar, Sahabo Iya Hamman and Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (now at large) sometime between March and May, 2015 at Yola, Adamawa State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, while being a public officer working with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and retired public servant and former Minister of Petroleum Resources (now at large) and in capacities, did corruptly procured monetary benefit of Three Hundred and Sixty-Two Million Naira, (N362,000,000.00) in favour of public officers and staff working with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Adamawa State, contrary to and punishable under Section 9 (1) (a) & (b) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act,  2000.”

The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Thereafter, Justice Nathan Musa granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N10m each and two sureties in like sum.

Read Also: Two INEC Staff Bag 21 Years Each For Collecting Bribe

After more than two years of trial in which the prosecution called several witnesses and tendered documents that were admitted in evidence, the Judge convicted Ibrahim Mohammed and Sahabo Iya-Hamman, to seven years imprisonment on each of the three counts for receiving a bribe of N362 million from the former Minister of Petroleum.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

In convicting the defendants, the Judge held that he was satisfied by the testimonies of the 15 witnesses who appeared before the court and other material evidence tendered by the prosecution.

He observed that though N362 million was received by the officials, they only shared five per cent of the money to other staff of the commission and could not account for the balance.

We Have Not Dropped Charges Against Diezani, Others – EFCC

 

 

 

The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to reports currently circulating in the social media, purporting that the Commission had dropped the criminal charge against a former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and other persons indicted for money laundering.

The Commission enjoins members of the public to disregard the report which is false and misleading. At no time did the Commission withdraw the charge, which is still before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The only development was that the Commission took a prosecutorial decision to split the initial 14-count charge to enable separate arraignment of the defendants following a spate of adjournments that prevented the arraignment of the defendants more than one year after the case was listed.

READ ALSO: Rape, Domestic Violence Offenders Won’t Go Unpunished – Lagos Govt

The charges were first filed on November 28, 2018. Since then, every attempt to arraign the defendants had been frustrated by one excuse or the other. In more than four times that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either that Lanre Adesanya was sick and bedridden in a London Hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission in a hospital or StanleyLawson had had a domestic accident and could not appear in court.

It was clear that these recurring excuses were ploys to frustrate the arraignment. To get around this, the Commission took a deliberate decision, which was disclosed in open court, to separately prosecute the defendants in different courts. This explains why the four-count amended charge brought against Dauda Lawal, a former executive director of First Bank, did not include other defendants, except the two who are at large( Diezani Alison-Madueke and Ben Otti). And the ingredients of the offence stated therein only pertains to Lawal’s involvement in the alleged crime, which is the receipt of $25million from the $153million 2015 Peoples Democratic Party presidential election slush fund.

The non-inclusion of other defendants in the original charge in the amended four-count charge does not mean that they have been exonerated by the Commission of any criminal allegation.

Court Fixes Sept 10 To Rule On Final Forfeiture Of Jewellery Worth $40m Linked To Diezani

EFCC Seeks Diezani’s Extradition, Court Adjourns Arraignment Till May
(File Photo) Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has fixed the September 10 to rule on the final forfeiture to the Federal Government, of some $40m worth of jewellery seized from the home of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo fixed the date on Monday after listening to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), make a case for the permanent forfeiture.

An investigator with the Commission, Rufai Zaki, in an affidavit put before the court, insisted that the jewelries were beyond the former Minister’s “known and provable lawful income.”

The investigator further said that findings by the EFCC showed that she started acquiring the jewellery in 2012, two years after she was appointed Minister.

The investigator also said that the EFCC was in possession of the details of the bank account through which Mrs Alison-Madueke received her salary as a minister.

“The respondent did not utilise her salary or any part of her legitimate income to acquire the assets sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Zaki said.

He said a “damning intelligence report” received by the Commission led to the search of former minister’s house at No. 10 Fredrick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, Abuja.

The EFCC then invited one Bukola Oyewumi of Trinket Box Bespoke Jewellery who stated that she started selling jewelries to Mrs Allison-Madueke in 2012.

The Commission also obtained the invoices issued in respect of the jewelries she bought.

Apart from this, the EFCC also found that Mrs Alison-Madueke also bought jewellery from one Minal Ratanani of Bella Vista Apartment, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos.

“During questioning, Ratanani admitted that Diezani bought jewellery worth $865,300.00 from her over a period and she paid cash”.

The EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told Justice Oweibo that it was in the best interest of justice for the court to order the permanent forfeiture of the jewellery to the Federal Government.

He said the court was empowered to make such forfeiture order under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offence Act 2006, because “the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Through her counsel, Nnamdi Awa-Kalu, the former minister maintains that the seizure of the items from her home is unlawful and constitutes a violation of her right to own properties.

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Another Property Linked To Diezani

Court To Hear Diezani's Application To Be Joined As Defendant
File photo: Diezani Alison-Madueke

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of a plot of land in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said to belong to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Chuka Obiozor made the forfeiture order today following an exparte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The anti-graft agency told the judge that the land, “measuring 7,903.71 – 8,029.585 square metres” and designated as Plot 9, Azikiwe Road, Old GRA (UAC Property on Forces Avenue), Port Harcourt, was reasonably suspected to be part of proceeds of unlawful activities.

The commission, therefore, asked the court for an order to allow it “to appoint a competent person or firm to manage the asset/property.”

It also asked the court to prohibit “any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the asset/property.”

Counsel for the EFCC, Ebuka Okongwu, also told the court that it had the power, pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006, to make the forfeiture order.

After listening to the lawyer, Justice Obiozor granted the forfeiture order.

Only last Friday, the same Federal High Court ordered the forfeiture of 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40m, belonging to Diezani.

The EFCC said it found and recovered the jewellery and the gold iPhone from Diezani’s premises, adding that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”

According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”

“The respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties,” the EFCC told the court.

Alleged N450m Fraud: Belgore Denies Any Meeting With Diezani

EFCC To Arraign Dele Belgore

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Dele Belgore, who is standing trial for allegedly laundering N450m has denied ever meeting or dealing with the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

At the continuation of his trial at the Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, Mr. Belgore said he was not aware that the N450m he signed for in 2015 came from her whereas he was made to believe that the money was from the Campaign Organisation.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Belgore, alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, for allegedly laundering the N450m in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the N450m was part of a larger sum of $115.01m, which the former Petroleum Minister, allegedly doled out to influence the outcome of the 2015 general elections.

In the nine counts, the EFCC accused them of making cash payment of N10m to Kwara State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Emmanuel Onucheyo.

The commission said they also paid N10m to a Commissioner of Police, Garba Saliu, on March 27, 2015, without going through a financial institution.

The sums, the commission said, exceeded the amount authorized by law and violated Sections 1(a) and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act of 2012 and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b).

According to the EFCC, the defendants “directly took possession of the sum of N450m,” which they “reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act.”

Both Belgore and Suleiman have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court also watched two separate video clips from a bank CCTV camera recordings.

The video clips were tendered as evidence by Belgore to prove that he did not leave the bank with the money even though he signed for it.

The first clip lasted for about 55 minutes, while the second one lasted for one and half hours.

At the end of proceedings, Justice Rilwan Aikawa adjourned continuation of trial till March 27.

EFCC Seeks Diezani’s Extradition, As Court Adjourns Arraignment Till May

EFCC Seeks Diezani’s Extradition, Court Adjourns Arraignment Till May
(File) A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has written the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in respect to the extradition of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom.

In a statement from the commission, the EFCC informed Justice Valentine Ashi of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Monday that this was part of measures taken to get the minister before the court.

The anti-graft agency said it was supposed to arraign Mrs Diezani and a former Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Company, Jide Omokore, before the court on February 25 for offences bordering on conspiracy and illegal act of accepting and giving gratifications.

The duo were alleged to have accepted and given gifts in properties located at Penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 21, Building 5, Block C, Banana Island, Lagos.

READ ALSO‘Criminals Cannot Be Lucky Always,’ Buhari Condemns Sokoto, Kaduna Attacks

They were to be arraigned on five counts for the offences which the EFCC said were contrary to Sections 26(1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

At the last sitting on December 4, 2018, the court had ordered the EFCC and other security agencies, to bring the former minister to court 72 hours after she returned to the country.

At the resumed sitting on Monday, the prosecuting counsel, Faruk Abdullahi, informed the court that the Commission had written to the AGF, seeking for the extradition of Mrs Diezani.

He said, “The Commission has written the AGF, with a view for the extradition process so as to enable her face her trial, as she is still in the United Kingdom.”

According to Abudullahi, the letter was received by the office of the AGF on December 14, 2018.

It read in part: “The Commission recently filed charges against Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke in both the Federal High Court (Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018), and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (Charge No. CR/22/2018).

“The latter case came up on December 4, 2018, wherein the presiding judge (Honourable Justice Valentine B. Ashi) issued a warrant for her arrest to enable the Commission apprehend and produce her to stand trial.

“In view of the foregoing, I humbly request the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), to make an extradition request to the relevant authority in the United Kingdom to initiate process of extraditing Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria to stand trial”.

The prosecution also informed the court that Omokore would soon be served.

Justice Ashi, thereafter, adjourned the case till May 22 for arraignment.

Court Orders EFCC, IGP, Others To Produce Diezani In 72 Hours

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in the Apo area of Abuja has ordered the arrest of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Valentine Ashi ordered the police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS), and others to produce Diezani in court within 72 hours.

According to a statement by the acting EFCC spokesperson, Mr Tony Orilade, the order was made following an ex parte motion made before the court by the counsel to the anti-graft agency, Msuur Denga.

Denga prayed for an order of the court to issue a warrant of arrest against Diezani, to enable the commission apprehend and arraign her for alleged financial crimes in Nigeria.

READ ALSOEFCC Asks UK To Extradite Diezani, Other Nigerians Over Looted Funds

“The Inspector General of Police, the Chairman of the EFCC, the Attorney General, the Department of State Services (DSS), are hereby ordered in the name of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to apprehend and arrest the first defendant and produce her before this court for further directives within 72 hours,” the quoted the judge as saying.

The former minister is to stand trial alongside Mr Jide Omokore, following a petition dated October 2, 2013, by the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders on allegations bordering money laundering and official corruption.

Diezani and Omokore were said to have engaged in illicit and fraudulent dealings in oil transactions.

They were also alleged to have accepted and given gifts in properties located at Penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi; and Penthouse 21, Building 5, Block C, Banana Island – both in Lagos.

The former minister and the other defendant will be arraigned on February 25, 2019, on five counts.

The will be charged for offences that are contrary to sections 26(1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Meanwhile, EFCC acting chairman Ibrahim Magu was engaged in an interactive session with media practitioners and members of the Civil Society in Lagos.

At the session, he called on the United Kingdom to extradite Nigerians who allegedly looted the country’s commonwealth but hiding in the UK, especially the former petroleum minister.

Mage revealed that the EFCC has secured a number of temporary and permanent forfeiture of property and various sums of money unlawfully acquired by persons of questionable character.

According to him, the most recent was the final forfeiture of N1.9bn from a commercial bank to the Federal Government.

EFCC Asks UK To Extradite Diezani, Other Nigerians Over Looted Funds

File photo

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked the United Kingdom to extradite Nigerians who allegedly looted the country’s commonwealth but are hiding in the UK, especially the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, said this during an interactive session with media practitioners and members of the civil society in Lagos on Tuesday.

According to him, the commission has secured a number of temporary and permanent forfeiture of property and various sums of money unlawfully acquired by persons of questionable character, with the most recent being the final forfeiture of N1.9bn from a commercial bank to the Federal Government.

He further stated that the EFCC has recorded 246 convictions from January to November 30, 2018.

He, however, declined to comment on the developments in the case of the bribery allegations trailing the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Magu maintained that the issue is already in court.

On the forthcoming general elections, the EFCC boss said that the commission is already working with the National Orientation Agency & the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tackle issues of vote-buying.

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of More Properties Linked To Diezani

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Properties Linked To Diezani
File photo: Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke

 

The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government of two penthouses valued at $4.760m, allegedly linked to the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun specifically ordered on Wednesday that the two properties: Penthouse 21, building 5, Block C, 11th floor (Bella Vista Estate) Banana Island, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 22, Block B (Admiralty Estate) also in Ikoyi, Lagos, be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge had on December 5, 2017, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the properties after hearing an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had listed Mrs Alison-Madueke, Donald Amagbo, Schillenburg LLC, and Sequoyah Property Limited, as respondents to the application.

More to follow…

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Diezani’s Properties Worth $4.760million

Court To Hear Diezani's Application To Be Joined As Defendant
File photo: Diezani Alison-Madueke

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos, has ordered the temporary forfeiture of two penthouses valued at $4.760million and linked to the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, ordered that the two properties: Penthouse 21 building 5, Block C, 11th floor (Bella Vista Estate) Banana Island, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 22, Block B (Admiralty Estate) also in Ikoyi, Lagos, be forfeited to the Federal Government pending the conclusion of EFCC’s investigation into the ownership of the properties which it reasonably believes were procured with proceeds of crime.

The EFCC in an Ex parte application brought for the forfeiture of the properties lists Diezani Alison-Madueke, Donald Amagbo, Schillenburg LLC, and Sequoyah Property Limited, as respondents.

More details shortly…

Court Fixes Date To Rule On Diezani’s Application To Join Money Laundering Trial

 Diezani
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke,

The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has fixed November 1, to rule on an application filed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Alison-Madueke in the case is urging the court it to compel the Attorney General of the Federation to bring her back to Nigeria to defend a criminal charge bordering on alleged laundering of N450 million.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa fixed the date after listening to the objections filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the move.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: ECOWAS Court Awards N88bn Damages Against FG Over Civil War Landmines

In opposing the application, the EFCC argued that the application is an abuse of the process of the court.

They further contended that the procedure for bringing a defendant who is outside Nigeria, before the court is the process of extradition proceedings which has not been instigated by the relevant authorities in this case.

As such, Mrs Diezani’s application to be brought back to Nigeria to defend herself cannot be a substitute for the extradition order and proceedings especially as the Court cannot make an order against the government of the United Kingdom for the extradition of the applicant.

It will be recalled that Allison-Madueke had travelled to the United Kingdom shortly after leaving office in 2015.

Through an application filed on her behalf by her lawyers, she said she would like to appear in court in Nigeria to defend herself in the charges made by the EFCC against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.

Belgore and Suleiman were charged before Justice Rilwan Aikawa for allegedly collecting N450 million from Diezani and laundering same in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The EFCC which filed the charges claimed that the N450 million was part of a sum of $115 million which Diezani allegedly doled out to compromise the 2015 general elections.

The SAN and the professor were arraigned on five counts, whereas Diezani’s name was mentioned, but she was declared as being “at large.”

In her application seeking to be joined as a defendant in the charges, the former Minister argued that since her name had been mentioned in the charge, it would be against her right to the fair hearing for the case to proceed without affording her the opportunity to defend herself.

She also contended that contrary to the declaration by the EFCC that she was at large, the former minister said she was in the UK and was willing to return to Nigeria so that she could appear in court to take her plea and defend the charges.

However, the EFCC has opposed this move by Deziani.

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of N7.6bn Linked To Diezani

Diezani Allison-Madueke, EFCC, Court, Diverted Funds,

The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of a sum of N7,646,700,000 allegedly belonging to the Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission linked the offence to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

About three weeks ago, the Commission who wanted the money forfeited to the Federal government had told a vacation judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor via an ex parte application that the N7.6bn was part of a sum of $153,310,000 which Mrs Alison-Madueke allegedly siphoned from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation sometime in 2014.

The EFCC also alleged that Mrs Alison-Madueke stashed the money in three banks, and the Federal Government had since February last year, through an order granted by another judge, Justice Muslim Hassan also of the Federal High Court, recovered part of the money from the other banks.

The anti-graft agency recalled that the Federal Government had recovered N23.4bn, $5m and another N9.08bn out of the $153.3m.

Justice Obiozor had granted the interim order on August 9 and directed the commission to cause it to be published. He then adjourned till today, August 28, 2017 for the bank and any other interested party to appear before him to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

At the proceedings today, Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo told Presiding Justice AbdulAziz Anka that the Commission had complied with the courts order and no one had come forward to lay claims to the money.

He urged the court to order the final forfeiture of the money.

Justice AbdulAziz Anka granted the order as prayed . He also held that all parties have a right of appeal.