The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says a tip-off by a whistle-blower on Tuesday, led to another discovery of a huge sum of four billion Naira suspected to be proceeds of crime.
According to a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, investigations as to the owner of the funds revealed that the money belongs to a former deputy governorship candidate in Niger State, whose the name was not disclosed.
“The suspect uses the names of two companies – Katah Property & Investment Limited and Sadiq Air Travel Agency – in laundering the funds.
“Each of the company has two billion Naira fixed in its deposit account domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank.
“The suspected owner of the account and the account officer are currently on the run,” the statement said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Professor Bamitale Omole.
Professor Omole was invited by the anti-graft agency on Thursday to respond to the allegations of fraud and other financial crimes levelled against him.
The invitation follows a petition written to the commission by a group known as the Third Eye Transparency International, OAU chapter.
The EFCC, in a letter with reference number “CR: 3000/EFCC/IB/CTGI-PENSION/031/Vol1/140”, which was dated January 19, 2017 and signed by the Head of the EFCC in Ibadan, Akaninyene Ezima, invited the former Vice Chancellor to report at the Ibadan office of the commission for an interview.
The agency also asked the OAU Bursar, Mrs Aderonke Akeredolu, to report with Professor Omole to clarify issues on allegations of fraud and abuse of office allegedly perpetrated by the duo.
Confirming the invitation, the EFCC spokesman, Abiodun Olanrewaju, explained that the invitation was not a conviction of any sort.
He said that anyone could be invited by the anti-graft agency to shed light on any issues perceived as allegations levelled against him or her.
Mr Olanrewaju maintained that the allegation has nothing to do with the management of the institution but the petitioner.
The former Vice Chancellor was accused of renovating the VC’s residence with 208 million Naira and an illegal transfer of 34,905,690.17 naira from the OAU Minor Capital Account to the MBA Executive Fund Deposit Account ‘under questionable circumstances’.
He was also accused alongside Mrs Akeredolu of illegal deduction of contributory pension from salaries of workers running into billions of naira as the funds were said to have remained unaccounted for.
Legal Practitioner, John Oloyede, says the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) needs to publish the court order in which the freezing of Governor Fayose’s account was effected.
He was on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily to analyse the Ekiti State Governor’s insistence that the freezing of his bank account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is illegal.
Mr Fayose was denied access to his Zenith Bank account in the Ekiti State capital on Monday and Mr Oloyede referred to the situation as a lapse on the path on the EFCC as prescribed in Section 341 on the EFCC Act.
He explained that the only way the EFCC can legalise this act is if the condition precedent is complied with.
The condition is that they must apply for an experte motion before a competent court of law, for an order freezing the account or impounding a fund that has been found to be proceeds of a crime.
The legal practitioner stated that if there is a court order given, then the major question left to ask is if the anti-graft agency can freeze an account in the course of investigation.
He admitted that the Supreme Court has made pronouncement that anybody can be investigated whether the person has immunity or not.
Therefore, the EFCC can investigate Governor Fayose, but not prosecute him because of the immunity covering him, which is by the law.
The Presidency has dismissed as laughable the attempt by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State to link wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, to US Congressman, William Jefferson’s bribery scandal for which the American lawmaker was convicted in 2009.
Reacting to Mr Fayose’s allegations in a press statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said that ordinarily the Presidency would have ignored Fayose because he is a man “childishly obsessed with the desire to grab the headlines and insulting people at will because of his incurably boorish instincts.”
Malam Garba explained however that “the Presidency chose to respond on this occasion for the sake of innocent Nigerians who might be misled by Fayose’s shameless and blatant distortion of facts”.
He said ignoring Fayose carries the risk of giving traction and credibility to outright and brazen falsehoods inconsistent with the status of anybody that calls himself a Governor or leader.
According to Shehu, Aisha had no direct, indirect or the remotest connection with William Jefferson’s corruption scandal in the United States.
He challenged Fayose to tell Nigerians if the so-called Aisha whose pictures he proudly, but ignorantly shared, was the same Aisha married to President Muhammadu Buhari, or if the Aisha of his idle imagination had any relationship by blood or any relationship in whatever form, with President Buhari’s wife.
Shehu also challenged the Ekiti Governor to produce evidence from the records of investigation and subsequent trial of Jefferson to prove that Buhari’s wife Aisha was in anyway linked to that scandal.
He explained that common names alone are not enough to automatically link innocent people to crimes or scandals, especially in an era of identity thieves.
He further challenged Fayose to show proof when and where Aisha Buhari was invited for interrogation in connection with Congressman William Jefferson’s bribery scandal, let alone indicted for a crime locally or abroad.
According to the Presidential Media Aide, free speech does not entitle Governor Fayose to falsely accuse innocent people of crimes they knew nothing about.
He warned Fayose that Aisha Buhari is entitled to protect her reputation from being recklessly maligned, adding that political opposition is not a licence to attack people’s reputation brazenly without legal consequences.
The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of freezing his bank account.
The Governor said he was denied access to his Zenith Bank account in the Ekiti State capital on Monday.
He announced this during a press conference in Ado-Ekiti, saying the alleged action is unlawful, as it is against the country’s constitution for any financial crime agency to freeze the account of a sitting governor.
Governor Fayose vowed to follow legal processes to fight the EFCC on the matter.
“I got the wind that the EFCC blocked my account and that of some of associates and I see this as very illegal.
“If you want to fight corruption, you do so based on the rule of law. I am a sitting governor and under Section 308 of the Nigerian Constitution I enjoy immunity.
“We will take every legal means, every legal procedure to get things right. They cannot continue with this rascality,” he said.
Meanwhile, a source at the EFCC has confirmed that the commission has indeed frozen the account of the Ekiti State Governor.
The official who wishes not to be named told Channels Television that Governor Fayose should approach the commission if he is in doubt as to the reason the account was frozen.
The EFCC adds that the immunity being enjoyed by any governor does not prevent the commission from investigating suspicious movements of money into his accounts.
The EFCC says that it has the right to investigate any governor whose account is being used to move funds.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested the former Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety.
Air Vice Marshal Salihu Atawodi (Rtd) was arrested over what a source at the Commission described as a case of conspiracy, abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.
He allegedly abused his position as Chairman of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety to defraud the Nigerian Government to the tune of over 600 million Naira through a dubious contract to procure military boats.
He was accused of awarding the contract to one Alhaji Rabiu’s Hypertech Nigeria Limited. The contractor was fully paid but the boats were never supplied.
The source further disclosed that the contract award process violated the Procurement Act.
AVM Atawodi, who has been on the radar of the anti- graft agency since 2013, was quizzed for several hours on Wednesday, December 2015, after he responded to the invitation extended to him.
He arrived the headquarters of the Commission at about 11am.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren confirmed Atawodi’s presence at the Commission, adding that he was assisting the investigation.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Thursday in Abuja, said it had taken possession of 48 properties belonging to former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timpre Sylva.
Mr Sylva is being prosecuted by the EFCC at a Federal High Court in Abuja, for alleged misappropriation of N6.46 billion state funds, when he was governor of the state.
In a statement signed by the Acting Head, Media and Publicity of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, the commission said an interim forfeiture order on Mr Sylva’s properties was granted by Justice A. R Mohammed on December 21, 2012.
The EFCC listed the assets belonging to the former governor against which the forfeiture order was obtained to include a mansion at 3 River Niger Street, Plot 3192 Cadastral zone AO, Maitama District Abuja; nine units (comprising six one bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments) at 8 Sefadu Street Wuse zone 2, Plot 262 Cadastral Zone AO2, Wuse Abuja; two units duplexes at 5 Oguta Street, plot 906 Cadastral Zone Wuse 11 Abuja. Others are a duplex at Plot 1271 Nike Street Cadastral zone AO5, Maitama District Abuja; a duplex at Phase 1 Unit No. 1 (Villa 1) Palm Springs Gold Estate, Cachez Turkey Projects Limited, Mpape, Abuja; 10 units of one-room apartments at 8 Mistrata Street plot 232 Cadastral zone Wuse 11 Abuja; five units duplexes at Plot No 1070 Dakibiyu District Cadastral zone B10, Abuja; 16 units service apartments at Plot 1181 Thaba Tseka Crescent, Off IBB Way, Wuse 11, Abuja and three units of three bedroom flats at No. 1 Mubi Close, Plot 766. Cadastral Zone A01, Garki, Abuja.
Last week, another High Court in Abuja presided by Justice M.M. Kolo had ordered the EFCC not to tamper with Mr Sylva’s property. Justice Kolo gave the order on December 27, 2012 while ruling on a motion filed by the former governor, who had on December 24, 2012 filed a suit at the court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
Mr Sylva had asked the court for “an interim order of court for the service of the originating process on the respondent to serve as a stay of all actions in respect of the properties – Plot No 262, Cadastral Zone A02, Wuse 1, District, Abuja, plot 3192, located within Cadastral zone A06 Maitama District, Abuja, plot 232, Cadastral Zone A07, (No. 8 Mistrata Street; Wuse II, Abuja) – by the respondents, their agents, privies, representative or any other person deriving his/her authority from them; either by sealing off, confiscating, ejecting any person from the properties, trespassing into the properties or doing any other thing how ever so described relating to the said properties pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
In an affidavit in support of his application, Mr Sylva said the houses were acquired before his election as governor of Bayelsa State. He described as unconstitutional, oppressive, null and void EFCC’s attempt to seal or seize property duly declared in his Assets Declaration Form at the assumption of office in 2007.
Charges against Sylva
The former Bayelsa State governor was first arraigned on June 5, 2012 on a six count of money laundering and misappropriation of fund belonging to the state he governed.
Part of the charge reads: “That you, Timpre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, sometime between October, 2009 and February, 2010, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of properties and resources amounting to N2,000,000,000.00 belonging to Bayelsa State Government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act), 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.
“That you, Timpre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 22nd of January, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N380,000,000.00 property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Habibu Sani Maigidia, a Bureau De Change Operator with Account No. 221433478108, in Fin Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.”
“That you, Timpre Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the February 5, 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N50,000,000.00, property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Enson Benmer Limited with Account No. 6152030001946, in First Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.”
The substantive suit is adjourned to January 10, 2013.