Bankers, Indian Businessman Jailed Five Years Each for N855m Fraud

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, December 9, 2019, secured the conviction and sentencing of two top officials of Bank PHB( now Keystone Bank), Anayo Nwosu and Olajide Oshodi as well as Ashok Israni, an Indian businessman, to five years imprisonment each for N855m fraud before Justice Kudirat Jose of the State High Court, Igbosere, Lagos State.

Also jailed are NULEC Industries Limited belonging to Israni and Keystone Bank Limited.

The convicts alongside one Sunny Obazee were re-arraigned on October 4, 2016, on an amended 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N855m.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Anayo Nwosu, Ashok Israni, Olajide Oshodi, Sunny Obazee, Bank PHB Plc/Keystone Bank Ltd and NULEC Industries Limited, between 14 July and 31st July 2008, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did fraudulently convert to your use the sum of N285, 000, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty-Five Million Naira) being the property of Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, when you credited the account of NULEC with the said sum to defray its debt owed to Bank PHB Plc as against paying the sum into the Private Placement Account of NULEC, which sum was to be used as payment for the purchase of shares of NULEC Industries Limited under a Private Placement.”

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Two Suspects Over Attack On Nigeria’s Maersk MD

Another count reads: “That you, Anayo Nwosu, Ashok Israni, Olajide Oshodi, Sunny Obazee, Bank PHB Plc/Keystone Bank Ltd and NULEC Industries Limited, sometime in 2008 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N855, 000, 000.00 (Eight Hundred and Fifty-Five Million Naira) from Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, on the false pretence that NULEC Industries Limited was inactive profit-making manufacturing and trading activities, thereby purporting same to be payment for the purchase of shares of the said NULEC Industries Limited under a Private Placement.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, thereby leading to their full trial.

During the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, presented witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Jose discharged and acquitted the fourth defendant, Obazee.

The Judge, however, convicted and sentenced the first, second and third defendants to five years imprisonment each on counts 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 13 of stealing.

The companies were also ordered to pay a fine of N20m to the Federal Government on counts 1, 10 and 13.

The Judge also ordered the convicts to restitute the sum of N395 million to the victim of the fraud.

PHOTOS: Magu, Sylva Lead As EFCC Walks Against Corruption Across Nigeria

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday staged a walk against corruption in parts of the country.

The Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, led the walk by the anti-graft agency in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, also participated in the demonstration.

READ ALSO: Less Than 100,000 Nigerians ‘Making Noise’ About Sowore’s Rearrest, Says Adesina

EFCC staged the walk as part of events line up to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day.

The rally also held in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, as well as Uyo in Akwa Ibom and Benin City, the Edo State capital.

See photos below:

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Hospital Facility Owned By Sitting Senator

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital has ordered the final forfeiture of a multi-million-naira hospital facility allegedly belonging to the senator representing Ideato North and South Federal constituency, Pascal Obi.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on August 22, 2019, secured the interim forfeiture of the property from a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, following evidence that the multi-million naira facility may have been acquired through fraudulent and corrupt activities.

According to the anti-graft agency, funds belonging to the Imo State Government were traced to the hospital after it was established that Mr Obi was a signatory to the government house account under the Rochas Okorocha administration.

Obi who was a Principal Secretary to the former governor, however, denied ownership of the facility.

The agency further stated in a statement, that the managing director of the hospital on invitation, could not give a clear account of how the hospital was funded.

Consequently, this prompted it to file for the forfeiture of the property on July 25, 2019, under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, and Other Related Offences Act 2006.

In granting the request for the interim forfeiture of the property, the court ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the order in a national newspaper, which was accordingly complied, asking interested parties to show cause why the property should not be forfeited to the federal government within fourteen days from the dates of the publications.

Upon the expiration of the 14-day notice and with no one showing interest in the hospital, the commission filed for the final forfeiture of the facility which was finally granted by the federal high court in Owerri.

Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Magu’s Removal As Acting EFCC Boss

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, Senate

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed some suits seeking the removal of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

The plaintiffs had sought Magu’s removal on the grounds that the Senate had twice rejected his appointment and refused to screen him to take up the position in a substantive capacity.

They argued that Mr. Magu, who has been acting as the EFCC chairman since 2015, after being rejected by the senate, was not fit to continue to serve in that capacity.

READ ALSO: Alleged N135bn Fraud: FG Files Charges Against Ifeanyi Ubah, Capital Oil & Gas Limited

Delivering judgment, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that there was a lacuna in the law by not providing for the timeframe within which a person could act as EFCC’s chairman.

She noted that although the lacuna ought not to be exploited to “install” Magu in office in substantive capacity without the Senate confirmation, it had given the President as the appointor “the proverbial yam and the knife to do as he pleases” with the appointment of the EFCC chairman.

As a result of that, the suits are of no moment and are hereby dismissed.

EFCC’s Action Is Abuse Of Court Process, Says Saraki

A photo combination of former Senate President Bukola Saraki and an EFCC official on his residence in Ilorin, Kwara state capital.

 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki says the application to the Federal High Court, Lagos, for interim forfeiture order on his Ilorin home by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that the Federal High Court in Abuja presided by Justice Taiwo Taiwo had given an order “restraining the respondents (Commission) by themselves, their subordinates, agents, servants, or privies howsoever, from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the Applicant’s (Saraki) right to own and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties”.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Saraki’s House Worth N1bn To FG

“The EFCC’s claim that the Ilorin property was built by any proceed of fraud is outrightly false.

“The fact is that the Ilorin property was built partly by the Kwara State Government pursuant to the Third Schedule of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 while Dr. Saraki personally funded the remaining cost of the building.

“There are existing letters from the Office of the Head of Service of Kwara State notifying the former Governor (Saraki) of the State Government’s compliance with the State Pension for Governor’s law and the one indicating his intention to bear the cost of the additional expenditure that will arise from building the property to his desired taste dated 25th January 2012 and 8th February 2012 respectively,” he said.

Saraki added that the construction of the building did not commence until the last few weeks of his tenure as Governor and the bulk of his contribution to the funding were made with cheques.

“Where cash was involved, this was mainly in 2012 and 2013, more than a year after he had left office as Governor. So, where is the claim that the money for the construction of the house fraudulent obtained from Kwara State Government coming from? It should also be noted that the land on which the house is built is not a government allocated land.”

Saraki also claimed that EFCC is playing politics and spreading falsehood in its attempt to witch-hunt and intimidate a perceived enemy.

According to him, EFCC’s penchant for abusing the nation’s judicial institution is the reason why it filed a suit in Lagos on a property situate in Ilorin.

The statement however disclosed that Saraki will contest the matter in the court.

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Saraki’s House Worth N1bn To FG

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday ordered for interim forfeiture of the Ilorin residence of the immediate past Senate President Bukola Saraki.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren.

According to him, the Ilorin Zonal Office of the EFCC had earlier approached the court presided over by Justice Ridwan Aikawa for an order of interim forfeiture of about N1 billion worth property belonging to Saraki.

The property which is located at 1, Abdulkadir street,  G.R.A, Ilorin, Kwara State is being requested by the anti-graft commission for forfeiture on the grounds that it was acquired through the proceeds of unlawful activity.

READ ALSO: PDP Asks INEC To Push For Legalisation Of Electronic Voting

Ruling on the exparte application filed by EFCC Lawyer, Rotimi Oyedipo on Monday, Justice Aikawa ordered the interim forfeiture of the property and said the court order should be published in National Newspapers.

The Judge further said that any interested parties in the property should show cause while the property should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The Commission in moving application said its reasonably suspected that the former Nigeria number three citizen built the house with Government’s money and other proceeds of crime.

Alleged Oil Bunkering: EFCC Arraigns Detained Naval Captain After 15 Months

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a naval chief, Captain Dada Labinjo, 15 months in detention without trial.

Labinjo, who has been in the custody of the Nigerian Navy since September 2018, was brought before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday.

He was arraigned on two counts bordering on alleged oil bunkering.

The senior naval officer had on August 8 secured victory against the Nigerian Navy in a human rights violations case filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Jerry Omoroghe.

Justice Chuka Obiozor who heard the matter and delivered judgement had held that the Nigerian Navy had no rights, both under the 1999 Constitution and the Armed Forces Act to detain him for so long without charging him to court.

The judge had, thereafter, ordered that Labinjo be released from detention unconditionally and his confiscated mobile phone returned to him.

But the order was ignored by the navy, a situation which sparked criticism by civil societies who called for Labinjo’s release.

Maina Used Sister’s Name To Run Secret Account, Witness Tells Court

A file photo of Abdulrasheed Maina.

 

 

The trial of former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, continued on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

During the proceedings, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called a business manager with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mairo Bashir, to give testimony as the first prosecution witness (PW1).

Bashir told Justice Okon Abang that Maina used his sister’s name to open a secret bank account with the UBA, through which funds were said to have been transferred.

She explained that the defendant passed off the account as belonging to his sister while he actually operated it.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Attack FC Ifeanyi Ubah Players In Kogi

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Esther Uzoma, the witness denied harbouring any ulterior motive in her testimonies.

Uzoma, according to a statement by EFCC’s spokesman Wilson Uwujaren, had accused the witness of nursing an ulterior motive by not revealing to the UBA authorities, as well as Maina’s huge monetary transactions – including documents containing the alleged deposits and withdrawals in local and foreign currencies by Common Input and Properties Ltd, said to be owned by the defendant.

In her response, the witness denied any ulterior motive in her testimonies.

Instead, she revealed that Maina presented a certificate of incorporation for Common Input and Properties Ltd, with his sister’s photograph and her personal details but endorsed the document with his own signature.

After listening to the testimony, Justice Abang adjourned the case until December 9, 10, and 11 for the continuation of the trial.

The EFCC is prosecuting Maina on 12 counts bordering on operating fictitious bank accounts, corruption fraud and money laundering to the tune of over N2 billion.

Alleged N32.9bn Fraud: Mompha Gets N100m Bail As EFCC Opens Trial

 

The trial of suspected fraudster Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, has commenced with three witnesses testifying against him at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Mompha is facing 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (EFCC).

He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.

The EFCC accused Mompha of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Limited and retaining in its bank account an aggregate of N32.9 billion between 2015 and 2018.

At the opening of the trial on Friday, a compliance officer with Fidelity Bank, Peter Adegoke, who testified as the second prosecution witness, told Justice Mohammed Liman that Ismalob Global Investment Limited has a bank account domiciled in the bank.

READ ALSO: Five Killed Ogun Cholera Outbreak

Adegoke said Mompha was the sole signatory to the naira account.

Reading from the firm’s statement of account, Adegoke, who was led in evidence by the EFCC lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that between 2015 and October 2019, there was a total inflow of N18.5 billion into the account while a total of about N18 billion moved out within the same period.

He added that the account had a balance of N598,000.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, Adegoke affirmed that his bank would not involve itself in anything unlawful.

Asked whether the bank at any time reported transactions in the firm’s account as being suspicious, Adegoke said, “Yes, we reported to the NFIU (Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit).”

The witness was also asked what the NFIU’s response was and the responded, “They (NFIU) don’t need to respond to us.”

When asked if there was any sanction following the report to the NFIU, Adegoke said he would not know.

When Oyewole insisted that as a compliance officer, who is responsible for the freezing of bank accounts at the requests of anti-graft agency, he should know if there was a sanction, Adegoke explained that Fidelity Bank has a desk that handles reports to the NFIU, adding “I can’t say I know about all sanctions.”

Earlier, an official of the CBN, Mrs Anne Ezekannagha, who testified as the first prosecution witness, told the court that the apex bank has no record of licensing Ismalob Global Investment Limited as a Bureau de Change operator.

She said for the CBN to licence a firm as a Bureau de Change (BDC) operator, such a firm must show evidence of incorporation as a limited liability company by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Ezekannagha explained that all licensed BDCs have a transaction limit of $5,000.

When the defence counsel, Oyewole asked her whether it was unlawful for an individual who has foreign currency in his domiciliary account to give foreign currency to a friend in exchange for naira, the CBN official said it would not be unlawful if it was not a commercial transaction.

According to her, it becomes a commercial transaction if it involves making a profit and it would be illegal.

A Benin City-based BDC operator, Ikenna Okafor, who testified as the third prosecution witness, told the court that he did business with Ismalob Global Investment Limited through “one of its directors, Alhaji Ahmadu Mohammed.”

Okafor said Mohammed used to come to his base in the Edo State capital to buy Euro in the name of Ismalob Global Investment Limited.

“After negotiation with Ismalob Global Investment Limited through Alhaji Mohammed, he usually makes payment into my account through Ismalob,” he said.

Under cross-examination by Oyewole, Okafor said he met Mompha for the first time three days ago at the EFCC office in Ikoyi.

The BDC operator said he was detained for seven days by the EFCC before being released on an administrative bail during the week.

After listening to the testimonies of the witnesses, Justice Liman adjourned further proceedings until January 8, 2020.

Meanwhile, the judge admitted Mompha to bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety who must be a landed property owner.

The defendant was ordered to deposit his passport with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court and report at the EFCC office every fortnight to show that he has not left the country.

Court Jails Man Seven Years For N10m Oil Scam

Bauchi Assembly Crisis: Court Orders Parties To Maintain Status Quo

 

The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced one Johnson Ukiwe to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine.

Justice Adamu Mohammed handed down the judgement following Ukiwe’s arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was arraigned on five counts bordering on dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licence and obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of N10 million.

READ ALSO: ‘You Can’t Muzzle Nigerians,’ IBB Condemns Hate Speech Bill

The convict was prosecuted by the Enugu Zonal office of the EFCC, the anti-graft agency said on Thursday.

Justice Mohammed, after reviewing the evidence against the convict, admitted that the prosecution has proved four out of the five counts charge brought against Ukiwe beyond a reasonable doubt.

He noted that the EFCC presented six witnesses who tendered several exhibits before the court and sentenced the convict accordingly.

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.

EFCC Arrests Kirikiri Prison Controller, Doctor Over Alleged $1m Scam

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested the duo of Emmanuel Oluwaniyi and Hemeson Edwin, both Deputy Controllers of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).

A statement on Tuesday by the anti-graft agency’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that both men were apprehended by operatives attached to EFCC Zonal office in Lagos.

They were accused of giving exaggerated medical reports that warranted a convicted internet fraudster, Hope Aroke, who is serving a 24-year jail term, being given a referral to be treated outside the facility.

READ ALSO: Niger Govt Seals Deal To Save Nigeria $1.2bn Annually From Milk Importation

The first suspect, Oluwaniyi, who is the Controller, Kirikiri Maximum Prison, as well as the second suspect, Edwin, who is in charge of the medical facility, were arrested on Monday.

“The suspects have given useful information to the Commission about their alleged involvement in the crime,” the statement said.

It added, “Aroke, also known as H. Money, had masterminded a mega scam to the tune of over $1m scam. He committed the alleged crime from prison, using a network of accomplices.”

Aroke was one of the two Malaysia-based Nigerian undergraduate fraudsters arrested by the EFCC following a tip-off towards the end of 2012 at the 1004 Housing Estate in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The convict who hails from Okene in Kogi State had claimed to be a student of Computer Science at the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University, Malaysia.

However, investigations by the anti-graft agency revealed Aroke as the arrowhead of an intricate web of an internet fraud scheme that traverses two continents.

When Aroke was arrested, a search conducted by EFCC operatives on his apartment led to the recovery of several items such as laptops, iPad, traveling documents, checkbooks, flash drives, and internet modem.

Three exotic cars – a Mercedes Benz SUV, one 4Matic Mercedes Benz car, and a Range Rover Sport SUV – were also recovered in the process.

Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja had, thereafter, convicted Aroke on two counts of obtaining money by false pretence, cheque cloning, wire transfer, and forgery.

He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on each of the counts.