Lawyer Asks EFCC To Reveal Owners Of Recovered Cash

Lawyer Asks EFCC To Reveal Owners Of Recovered CashA legal practitioner, Mr Isaac Anumudu, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to reveal the identities of the owners of all the moneys being discovered by the Commission.

Mr Anumudu made the call on Sunrise Daily, in reaction to the series of cash recoveries made by the EFCC in the past few weeks, one of which was the discovery of a huge sum of money in an apartment in Ikoyi area of Lagos State.

He believes that the inability of the anti-graft agency to clarify the ownership of the recovered cash in Ikoyi is giving room for suspicion.

The lawyer wondered why the whistleblower could not reveal critical information as to who dropped the money and how it got to the apartment.

“First of all you look at the recoveries, the way and manner they came.
There is a whistle blowing 49 million in Kaduna airport, how come someone would carry that humongous amount of money in Naira and not in Dollars to an airport?

“Why did the whistleblower identify and was able to blow whistle as to where the fund is, without information as to who dropped the money and how it got there?” Anumudu questioned.

He further criticised the funds found in a Bureau De Change at the Balogun Market in Lagos, stressing that the place was meant for exchange of all forms of currency.

“You tell me you found a million of Dollars in a Bureau De Change, what do they sell in a Bureau De Change? pure water, vegetable, cosmetics, provisions, no.

“What goes on in a Bureau De Change is exchange of all forms of currency, Dollar, Naira, Euro, Pound.

“So telling me you found, you didn’t tell us how that became illegal, you didn’t tell us whom you are pursuing, what lead you are pursuing that led you to finding that kind of money, you now suspect it was money gotten from corrupt practices.

“What whistle are you blowing if you whistle that you found law books in my office as a lawyer? There is nothing illegal in finding money in a Bureau De Change”, Mr Anumudu stated.

CACOL Lauds Anti-Corruption Bills To Strengthen EFCC

EFCC Tasks Women On Anti-Corruption WarThe Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has commended the steps being taken by the House of Representatives, on four consolidated bills seeking to strengthen the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as the fight against corruption surges on.

This was revealed in a statement issued on Monday by the CACOL Media Coordinator, Mr Wale Salami.

Speaking on behalf of the centre, the CACOL Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran said: “It is indeed impressive to see to the House taking practical steps to disencumber the fight against corruption.

“We had always called for amendments to some of our laws which apparently are not restrictive enough to deter or debar people from engaging in corrupt practices.

“Some of these laws actually pamper corrupt tendencies and encumber the progress of the anti-corruption drive leading to corruption criminals wriggling through the labyrinths of the judicial and enforcement systems to evade justice willfully”.

The bills before the House are seeking to strengthen the EFCC in combating economic and financial crimes, shield the agency from undue interference by the Presidency and for its financial autonomy.

Part of what is expected to form the amendments, is that convicts of corruption crimes shall serve an imprisonment of a term not less than 20 years, as well as have their loots, accounts or investment forfeited to the government.

The Chairman further stated that: “At this period when the Senate has become a house of tragic comedy based on the pro-corruption character of the leadership and a large chunk of the membership of the Upper Chamber, it is indeed refreshing to see the House of Respresentatives (HOR) attempting to focus on matters worthy of attention.

“We call for expeditious actions towards the enactment of the bills into law.

“We add that President Muhammadu Buhari must ensure that stolen funds so far recovered by the government are not looted back by the incurably corrupt elements that are clearly still lurking around in very powerful positions in the present government.”

CACOL had consistently called for life imprisonment for convicts that stole any amount above 1 billion Naira, and that such big thieves should be made to work diligently for their own upkeep while in prison via whatever skills they possessed previously or have been able to learn behind the bars.

“For us, 20 years maximum imprisonment is not enough, particularly for those corrupt elements who remained recalcitrant and impenitent during trials, those that consciously made the country to expend undue energy, resources and time before their conviction.

“They should be used as objects to educate the young, the youth and all, when they go on excursion to the prisons.

“Seeing former corrupt leaders in such situation will certainly serve to deter the potentially corrupt. And assets traced to such convicts should be deemed to be proceeds of corruption and confiscated by the Nigerian state”.

Although Mr Adeniran commended the war against corruption thus far, he added that recovered funds should not be stolen, rather they should be channelled back to the original projects or purposes for which they were meant.

“In cases where the original projects have been fixed, such funds should be put in Treasury Single Account (TSA) and used for other important needs of the nation.

“It would be a double tragedy if recovered funds or loots end-up getting re-looted. The processes involved in the recovery must be made transparent and accountable,” he stressed.

Malabu Oil: Ruling On Shell, AGIP Applications Stalled

malabuThe Ruling on two separate applications filed by Shell Oil exploration Nigeria LTD and Agip Oil seeking to vary an order made by the Federal High Court in Abuja, on January 26, 2017, which granted temporary forfeiture of the oil prospective license 245 bloc to the Federal Government has been stalled.

The ruling could not go on because of the three fresh applications filed by Malabu Oil, principally seeking to be joined in the suit as well, as a party in the already heard applications filed by Shell and Agip.

Counsel to Malabu Oil, Mr. Abdullahi Haruna told Justice John Tsoho that, the joinder application was aimed at delaying the ruling in the application filed by the two oil giant, so Malabu Oil can become one of the plaintiff in the suit.

However, the application was objected by lawyers to Agip and Shell because it is frivolous and a waste of the courts time.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Johnson Ojogbane, did not file any application but rather left the issue at the court’s discretion.

Nevertheless, after taking submissions from counsel, Justice John Tsoho adjourned the ruling on Malabu’s application to March 17, 2017.

Court To Rule Over EFCC, Obanikoro’s Right Violation Case

Court To Rule Over EFCC, Obanikoro's Right Violation CaseA Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos will on March 28, rule on whether the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), violated the fundamental rights of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and other members of his family when it searched and seized some documents  and property from his house.

The family’s lawyer, Lawal Pedro (SAN), said the Obanikoros contended that the EFCC violated its own law, Regulation 13 of the EFCC (Enforcement Regulation) 2010, which provides that it shall apply and obtain a court order to enter and search any premises.

Having failed to follow this procedure and obtain any court order, the Obanikoros contended that the search is unlawful and illegal.

The EFCC has however urged the court to dismiss the suit, insisting that it acted within the law.

In the Fundamental Rights Enforcement application filed on behalf of the Obanikoros by Fati Obanikoro, a daughter in-law to the Senator, the victims claimed that the forceful seizure of their personal effects constitutes a gross violation of their rights to privacy and fundamental right from compulsory possession or acquisition of move-able property.

They therefore asked the court to make an order setting aside the forceful detention of their properties last June 14.

The Obanikoros also sought an order restraining the EFCC from arresting, detaining or harassing them or entering their premises again to seize their properties.

They further demanded an “unreserved public apology”, as well as 100 million Naira as general damages.

The EFCC had claimed that Senator Obanikoro received suspicious payments from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), through companies linked to the family.

Meanwhile, the family said the documents and properties EFCC seized have nothing to do with the ONSA.

Medical Director Arraigned Over Alleged Misappropriation Of Funds

Angela Uwakwem, imo, health workers, protestThe Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre Owerri Mrs Angela Uwakwem on Tuesday, appeared before an Owerri high court, on an 18 count charge, bordering on financial misappropriation and embezzlement to the tune of 242 million Naira. 

The medical director was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), following a petition by the (Joint Health Sector Union) JOHESU Of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.

During the first sitting of the case at the Owerri high court, counsel to EFCC, Barrister Mainforce Ekwu, alleged that according to the petition, Mrs Uwakwem, conspired with one Mr Emmanuel Ajayi, to inflate the price of medical equipment bought for the centre.

Barrister Ekwu also told the court that the Medical director should be remanded in prison, since the accused failed to appear before the court on October 10, 2016, after being served court summon, to which her lawyers confirmed receipt.

The defense counsel and lawyer to the Medical Director Chukwuma Ekomaru, S.A.N, however challenged the argument of the complainant.

He claimed that on October 10, his client was in court but after waiting for a while, there was an announcement that the court will not seat and they all dismissed.

Ekomaru, then urged the court to grant her client bail and also strike out the case for lack of merit.

Mrs Uwakwem on the other hand, pleaded not guilty to all the 18 count charge leveled against her.

In her Judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe, granted the accused bail on grounds that she did not jump bail.

Also she said for her to attend further proceedings from her home, she would have to present two sureties to the court, who are resident in Owerri with a landed property and the sum of one million Naira.

While the counsel to EFCC refused to speak to journalists, Mrs Uwakwem’s consel, Ekomaru, told journalists that the case lacked merit as the union has failed in all ramifications since they refused to adhere to the constitution of Nigeria.

“It is a shame that the Union in FMC could go this far to tarnish the image of a woman who has done well for the Centre,” he expressed.

EFCC Re-Arraigns Former Governor Orji Kalu In Lagos

EFCC, Orji KaluA former Governor of Abia state, Mr Orji Kalu, has been docked at the Federal High Court in Lagos, answering alleged corruption charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It is, however, not clear what specific charges the former governor is facing at the Lagos court.

He had been previously arraigned before the Federal High Court, along with two other people.

They were in that instance accused of diverting about 3.2 billion Naira from the Abia government’s treasury.

The court adjourned the case till December 6, 2016 for commencement of trial.

In March, the Supreme Court had ruled that the EFCC could prosecute the former Abia Governor, ruling that the anti-graft agency had established prime-facie cases against the defendant.

The former governor was accused of laundering and illegal diversion of public funds of about 5.6 billion Naira.

Mr Kalu was said to have perpetuated the fraud between 1999 and 2007 while he was the Governor of Abia State.

 

EFCC Arraigns Ex-Naval Chief, Others For N600m Fraud

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned a former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman O. Jibrin and two others before an Abuja High Court on a 4-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy.

The two others,  Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia (rtd) and Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (rtd), were docked alongside Habour Bay International Limited.

The naval chiefs whilst in office allegedly bought a house worth N600million from the account of Naval Engineering Services without the said purchase contract being captured in the budget.

It was also alleged that the documentation for transfer of ownership of the property was done such that a private company owned by the family of the first defendant (Vice Admiral Jubrin) became the buyer.

The alleged offence is in contravention of Section 26 (1) (b) and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act 2000.

The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

In view of their plea, counsel to EFCC, Abdullah Faruk, asked the court for a date for commencement of trial.

However, Y. C. Maikyau, SAN, representing the first and fourth accused, through an oral application made pursuant to Section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution sought for the bail of his clients.

Maikyau told the court that the defendants had been enjoying administrative bail granted them by the EFCC and had never breached any of its terms.

The counsel stated that though he had earlier filed and served the prosecution with a formal bail application, he felt the need to move an oral application subject to the discretion of the court.

Counsel representing second and third accused relied on the arguments canvassed by the learned silk in seeking bail for their clients.

In response, Faruk told the court that, he was served this morning and asked for time to enable him respond appropriately.

Justice A.S Umar after listening to the submissions of counsel on both sides adjourned to tomorrow for hearing on the bail application.

Patience Jonathan Sues EFCC For Placing ‘No Debit Order’ On $31.4m Account

Patience-Jonathan-in-EdoFormer First Lady, Patience Jonathan has filed a N200m fundamental rights enforcement suit against Skye Bank Plc, following the freezing of four bank accounts, which she claims the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has used to inconvenience and embarrass her.

The four accounts, lodged with Skye Bank Plc, are in the name of four companies which is said to have a balance of $31.4m

The four companies are Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Development Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited.

In an affidavit filed before the court and deposed to by one Sammie Somiari, a legal practitioner on behalf of Patience Jonathan, the deponents claims that the EFCC placed a No Debit Order on the four accounts in July in the course of probing one Waripamo Dudafa, a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

After its investigations, the EFCC went ahead to file an amended 17-count against Dudafa and seven others, including the four companies, with the defendants being accused of conspiring to conceal the monies which the EFCC claimed they ought to have known formed parts of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

In the affidavit however, Sammie Somiari claims that it was Dudafa who helped Mrs Patience Jonathan to open the four bank accounts which the EFCC froze.

According to him, Dudafa had on March 22, 2010 brought two Skye Bank officers, Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, to meet the former first lady at home to open five accounts.

He, however, claimed that after the five accounts were opened, Mrs Patience Jonathan later discovered that Dudafa opened only one of the accounts in her name while the other four were opened in the names of companies belonging to Dudafa.

Somiari added “that Mrs Jonathan complained about this to Honourable Dudafa, who at her prompting and instance promised to effect the change of the said accounts to the applicant’s name; and to effect this change, Honourable Dudafa brought the said bank manager, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, who claimed to have effected the changes. This was about April 2014.

“The bank official, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, as it would appear did not effect or reflect the instruction of the applicant to change the said accounts to her name(s) despite repeated requests.

The deponent also claims that Mrs Patience Jonathan who is said to be away for an urgent medical treatment abroad, is the sole signatory to the accounts as the money belongs to her.

The affidavit also said that the ATM credit cards bearing the said companies’ names were brought to Mrs Jonathan by the bank manager who promised to replace them once the cards bearing the changed names were available, but he never did.

“However, since 2010 up until 2014 and thereafter, Mrs Jonathan had been using the cards on the said accounts and operating the said accounts without let or hindrance. Even in May, June and July 2016, the former First Lady traveled overseas for medical treatment and was using the said credit cards abroad up until July 7, 2016 or thereabouts when the cards stopped functioning.”

In her fundamental rights action before the court, the wife of the former President is asking the court to compel the EFCC to immediately vacate the “No Debit Order” placed on her accounts.

She also says the action of the EFCC without a court order or prior notice to her is illegal, overbearing and constitutes a breach of her fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 33, 34, 35 & 36 of the 1999 Constitution.

She wants the court to order Skye Bank to pay her damages in the sum of N200m for what she termed a violation of her right to own personal property under Section 44 of the Constitution.

The EFCC on its part is set to arraign the former Presdent’s aide, Dudafa and his alleged accomplices for money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The case will be heard on Thursday, Sept 15.

FMBN Seeks EFCC’s Support On Debt Recovery

EFCCThe acting Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Richard Esin, has sought the assistance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the recovery of bad debts totalling over N70 billion owed  by some property developers.

Esin, who led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Commission’s acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, on Thursday, August 18, in Abuja, said: “We seek the kind assistance of the Commission on the recovery of the funds to the bank. These monies belong to Nigerian citizens.

“There are several organisations not complying with the provisions of the National Housing Fund Act and we hope that the Commission will work with the bank to promote the Act.”

He further assured Magu that the existing Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between the Commission and the bank was still effective.
 The FMBN boss who stated that affordable housing was a veritable tool in the fight against corruption, added that ‘‘Over N3billion in mortgages have been released for over 100 staff of the EFCC.”

In his remark, Magu stated that his administration would continue to be guided by the details of the MoU between the Commission and the bank.
He, however, added that the law governing the NHF scheme needed to be checked and reviewed at the legislative level.

Magu further urged the bank to strengthen its Compliance Unit.
He added that ‘‘The Commission is willing to create a desk dedicated to the FMBN needs”.

Court Rejects Fayose’s Request To Stop EFCC Probe

Ayodele FayoseA High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital has declined an ex parte order sought by the state government to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating the finances of the state.

The presiding judge, Justice Cornelius Akintayo ordered the applicant to put the defendants in the case on notice to prepare for defence.

He consequently adjourned the suit till August 23 when parties are expected to appear and argue the motion on notice.

The motion was filed by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi, to stop the anti-graft agency from investigating the accounts of the state government.

EFCC Rearrests Achike Udenwa Over Alleged Financial Misconduct

Achike UdenwaThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has re-arrested a former governor of Imo State, Mr. Achike Udenwa, in connection with alleged financial misconduct.

A source close to the commission said the former governor, as a State Co-ordinator for the Presidential Campaign Organisation in Imo State, allegedly collected N350 million from the former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman.

He is alleged to have admitted receiving the money in three installments.

Mr. Udenwa became governor of Imo State in 1999, won the re-election in 2003 and his tenure ended in 2007.

He later became Minister of Commerce and Industry between 2008 and 2010 under the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

EFCC Arrests 3 FAAN Officials Over Alleged N100 Million Theft

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested three staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) following their arrest by for allegedly stealing N100 million.

The EFCC in a statement revealed that the fraud was carried out over a period of three years by a level six officer of the Accounts Department of FAAN, Christy Olabode, her younger brother who worked in the Commercial Department of the agency in Ilorin, Kwara State, Abdul-Shehu Obaze, and an IT officer at FAAN headquarters, in Lagos, Dominic Ojo.

According to the EFCC, the arrest followed an anonymous petition alleging that the individuals diverted the funds by inserting names of non-FAAN staff into the payroll.

It adds that when questioned, Mr Obaze revealed that other FAAN officials are also involved in the fraud.