Federal Law Maker Charged With Certificate Forgery

A member of the House of Representatives, Nse Ekpenyong, has been arraigned at the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for alleged forgery of certificate of a higher institution.

Mr Ekpenyong represents the Oron Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom state, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), on a nine-count charge, accusing him of forging a National Diploma Certificate of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State.

“You, Nse Bassey Ekpenyong on 22 November 2012, at Uyo, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did make a document to wit: Abia State Polytechnic National Diploma Certificate in Business Administration with No. 001181 dated 22nd November, 2012 with intent that it may be acted upon as genuine which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (2) (C) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M 17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under section 1 (2) of the same Act,” one of the charges preferred against the lawmaker read.

Mr Ekpenyong, who appeared dejected, pleaded not guilty to the charges while his lawyer, Emmanuel Isangedoho, argued for his bail which was opposed by the EFCC.

The presiding Judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, however granted the lawmaker bail in the sum of 10 million Naira and adjourned till April 12, while promising that the case would be treated speedily.

EFCC Dismisses Alleged Ill-Health Of Fani-Kayode

Fani-Kayode, EFCC ArrestsThe Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC has dismissed the alleged ill health of the former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, calling it a publicity stunt aimed at preventing his arraignment.

The former minister who will be arraigned on November 10, is reported to have slumped in the custody of the EFCC.

He is presently said to be mentally and physically stable.

A source also revealed that a former presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati and former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed are still being interrogated by the anti-graft commission.

According to a source within the anti-graft agency, Fani-Kayode is to be arraigned on fresh charges bordering on criminal diversion of funds.

The EFCC source added that a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed was arrested on Sunday while the former presidential spokesperson, Dr. Abati detained on Monday.

The source said both men will be arraigned as soon as investigations are concluded. The arrested former government officials are facing corruption allegations.

Fani-Kayode Re-arrested

Mr. Fani-Kayode was arrested on Friday, October 21 by operatives of the anti-graft agency, as he left the Federal High Court premises in Lagos.

His arrest is in connection with fresh charges filed against him before a court in Abuja.

Mr. Fani-Kayode, former Finance Minister Nenadi Usman, and some others are facing a 17-count charge of money laundering to the tune of 4.9 billion Naira filed against them by the EFCC.

At the last sitting of the court, the EFCC had opened its case against them with the testimony of the first prosecution witness, the testimony of the witness will continue at the next adjourned date.



Former Imo Governor, Ohakim Gets Bail

OhakimA Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to a former governor of Imo State, Mr Ikedi Ohakim, who is standing trial on charges of corruption, abuse of office and money laundering.

This came one day after he was remanded in the custody of the EFCC.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola released the former governor on bail on the condition that he will provide one surety in the sum of 270 million naira and who must be a resident of the Federal Capital Territory and also own a property in the nation’s capital.

He, however, said that the surety can in the alternative swear to an affidavit of means which must be verified by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

He also ordered the former governor to deposit his passport and all travel documents with the court.

Mr Ohakim, who pleaded not guilty to the 3-count charge of corruption, abuse of office and money laundering was surrounded by his lawyers and family members as he appeared in court

In his application for bail, Mr Ohakim, through his counsel, submitted that the offence for which he is standing trial is a bailable offence and since the prosecution has concluded investigation, there is no reason to keep him in custody.

He urged the court to grant him bail in the most liberal terms.

In his ruling, Justice Adeniyi Ademola said that the court exercised its discretion in favour of the accused because the offences for which he is standing trial are bailable and an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

EFCC To Arraign Ohakim, Lamido And Nyako

efccThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested three former governors over allegations of corruption and money laundering.

The three former governors are Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State, Muritala Nyako of Adamawa and Sule Lamido of Jigawa State.

Nyako and Lamido were arrested along with their sons.

Meanwhile, Mr Ohakim and Admiral Nyako will be arraigned in Abuja today (Wednesday), while Mr Lamido and his sons are to be arraigned in Kano on Thursday.

The EFCC is alleging that the former governors siphoned and diverted monies belonging to their states while they were in office.

SERAP Asks Jonathan To Invite Anti-graft Agencies To Monitor Spending On Boko Haram

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, urging him to “urgently instruct both the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to monitor government’s spending on the fight against Boko Haram”.

According to the organisation, this would help “to ensure that the funds are spent exactly to end the unnecessary loss of lives and other continuing serious violations of human rights in the north-east.”

In the petition dated February 18, 2014, and signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said that it was “seriously concerned about reports that the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, this week stated that “Boko Haram members were better armed and motivated than Nigerian troops.”

If true, it suggests that colossal sums of security funds that have so far been budgeted to prosecute the fight against Boko Haram have not achieved value for money. SERAP is concerned that the funds may not have been appropriately spent.

Transparency And Accountability

According to the organisation, “If the president is truly determined to end the problem of Boko Haram and the associated human rights violations and sufferings, he should now move to invite the EFCC and ICPC to monitor the spending to fight Boko Haram, including checking leakages in the procurement processes. Otherwise, any such spending will not provide the much needed economic or security benefits, and will merely continue to consume scarce resources needed to address other basic needs of the population.”

“Increasing transparency and accountability in the spending on Boko Haram will also help to improve citizens’ confidence in the ability of the government to end the problem. The government cannot continue to use sensitivity or security concerns as an excuse to avoid the urgent need for transparency and accountability in this respect.

“Lack of transparency in particular creates high vulnerability for corruption, especially in the procurement processes. SERAP believes that transparency and accountability in the management of funds meant to end the problem of Boko Haram is key to efficient and effective security forces capable of responding to Nigerians’ legitimate security needs. Lack of transparency, accountability and general deficiencies in the way the security budget and arms purchases are decided and controlled are likely to be one explanation why the Boko Haram are better equipped and more motivated than the government forces,” the letter read.

The organisation “hopes that the involvement of the anti-corruption agencies would help to avoid excessive, wasteful and corrupt expenditures and procurement.  The National Assembly should also be involved and should be more proactive in exercising its oversight constitutional roles in this respect.”

“By increasing transparency and accountability of the spending on Boko Haram, the President will invariably be putting in place effective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace, stability and realisation of citizens’ sacred human rights.  The citizens and National Assembly must be regularly informed about government’s spending on Boko Haram, and the processes that the government is putting in place to improve practices, and to ensure effective investigations and prosecution of any allegations of corruption,” the organisation added.

It further warned that “SERAP will explore other legal options including the Freedom of Information Act to improve transparency and accountability in the spending on Boko Haram, if the President does not act as recommended.”

Jigawa Governor’s Sons Arrested For Money Laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested Mustapha and Aminu Lamido, sons of the Jigawa state Governor, on Thursday night.

The Governor’s sons were reportedly arrested for alleged money laundering and flown to Abuja for questioning.

A sum of N10 billion was allegedly transferred from Jigawa state government account into the accounts of the Lamido sons.

Although an EFCC representative in Kano state told Channels Television that he is not aware of the arrest, a member of the agency in Abuja confirmed the arrest.

It would be recalled that Aminu Sule Lamido, the eldest son of the governor, was arrested in December 2012 at the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport on his way to Cairo, Egypt for failure to declare the sum of $50,000 he had in his possession.

Aminu was arrested during security checks as he prepared to board an Egypt Air flight to Cairo.

His arrest followed the discovery that he allegedly declared $10,000 in his possession to the Nigerian Customs at the airport while a physical search by operatives of the EFCC found he had tucked away another $40,000, totaling $50,000.

His brother Mustapha is being quizzed for the first time in the fresh case of laundering 10 billion naira, within a space of six to seven years.

The EFCC has said it is prepared to try the suspects in court, in order to compel them to return the stolen money to government’s treasury.