EFCC Quizzes Saraki Over Alleged Corruption

A file photo of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Saturday questioned former Senate President Bukola Saraki over alleged misappropriation of public funds and money laundering.

According to sources who confirmed the news to Channels Television, Saraki arrived the EFCC office around 2pm.

According to sources, Mr Saraki is alleged to have hired suspected proxies, who executed contracts for Kwara State under his administration and allegedly made returns to him for many years.

The funds involved are said to run into hundreds of millions in naira and hundreds of thousands in foreign currencies.

Saraki, 58, was Senate President between 2015 and 2019.

He also sat for two terms as Governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011.

As Senate President, Mr Saraki spent a considerable time facing charges of corruption and false declaration of assets, although he was eventually acquitted by the Supreme Court in June 2018.

‘Not arrested’

Spokesmperson to the former Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu later confirmed that Saraki left the EFCC office on Saturday.

In a statement obtained by Channels Television, Olaniyonu stressed that Saraki had not been arrested but “on his own volition visited the office of the EFCC to clarify any issue that the commission may want to raise with him.”

Olaniyonu said the ex-Senate President also assured EFCC operatives that he has nothing to hide.

“It will be recalled that following the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the Fundamental Human Rights case filed by Dr. Saraki during the period of the former chairman of the EFCC which precluded the commission from investigating him until the matter is dispensed with, the commission at the last hearing on July 14, 2021, pleaded with the judge that the order was preventing them from doing their job,” the statement said.

“Following this complaint, Dr. Saraki, as a responsible citizen, on his own volition approached the commission that at the earliest convenient date, he was willing to visit the commission’s office and clarify all issues they might want to raise with him.

“He, therefore, visited the commission’s office this afternoon and answered some questions. He is back home. He was not arrested. Dr. Saraki also assured the commission that he has nothing to hide and will always make himself available to clear all issues that may require his attention”

US Military Impostor Bags One-Year Jail Term In Kwara 

 

Justice Mahmood Abdulgafar of the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin on Friday, July 30, 2021, sentenced an undergraduate, one Abdulsalam Oyeyemi, to one-year imprisonment for falsely posing as American Military Officer to defraud unsuspecting victims.

The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on Thursday, July 29, 2021, arraigned Oyeyemi, 23, on a one-count charge bordering on personation and internet fraud.

The charge reads: “That you, Abdulsalam Oyeyemi (aka Colt Williams, James Anderson) sometime in March 2020 or thereabout in Ilorin, Kwara State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly induced one Cristina Gobin (aka Cristina Haripaul), a white lady to send you bitcoins worth the sum of 1,255 Canadian Dollars when you knowingly pretended and represented yourself to be one James Anderson, an American Military Messenger who is in charge of her husband, Colt Williams’ internet connection when you had earlier represented yourself to the said Cristina Gobin as the said Colt Williams, an American Marine Officer who is in a romantic relationship with her and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 321 and punishable under Section 324 of the Penal Code Laws of Northern Nigeria.”

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The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge.

Counsel to the EFCC, Aliyu Adebayo, led an operative of the Commission to review the facts of the case. In the process, incriminating materials found on the defendant upon arrest were tendered and admitted in evidence. These include the defendant’s extrajudicial statements, fraudulent messages printed out of his phones and the manager’s cheque (bank draft) of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) which he raised as restitution to the victim.

In his Judgment, Justice Abdulgafar said the court carefully considered the case of the prosecution, the plea of guilt entered by the defendant, his extrajudicial statements, and the exhibits tendered before the court, and found merit in it.
The judge sentenced Oyeyemi to one-year imprisonment.

According to him, “The sentence shall be suspended for one year”.

The court thereafter ordered the forfeiture of the convict’s iPhone and the Manager’s cheque of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) to the Federal Government.

“The judgment is without an option of fine”, the judge added.

EFCC Interrogates Ex-Governor Al-Makura, Wife Over Corruption Allegations

Al-Makura Commits To Peaceful Coexistence In Nasarawa
Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura

 

The Former Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, has been invited for interrogation at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

Al-Makura who is now a serving senator was invited on Wednesday along with his wife.

They were being questioned in relation to an alleged breach of trust and misappropriation of funds, allegedly perpetrated during his eight-year tenure as governor.

Read Also: Money Laundering: Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty, Risks 20 Years Imprisonment

Following the questioning, the former governor said contrary to reports, he was never arrested by the EFCC but was invited.

Al-Makura served as governor of Nasarawa State between 2011 and 2019 before he was elected into the National Assembly as Senator representing Nasarawa South Senatorial District.

Court Sends Two Internet Fraudsters To Two Years In Prison

 

The Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today July 19, 2021, secured the conviction of two internet fraudsters – Noah Omoregbe (a.k.a Frank Mark) and Destiny Efewengbe (a.k.a William Scot ) before Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.

This is according to a statement by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren.

The defendants were arraigned on one count charge each of personation and intent to defraud contrary to section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48 Laws of defunct Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976 and punishable under the same Law.

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The charge against Omoregbe reads: “that you Noah Omoregbe (a.k.a Frank Mark) on or about the 21st day of June 2021 at Yoruba Street, Benin City, within the jurisdiction of this Hounourable Court, did with intent to defraud, falsely represented yourself as one Frank Mark, an American Soldier, and sent scam messages to one Liud Mila via your iPhone X with IMEI No: 354862090120911 with intent to obtain money from her and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48 Laws of defunct Bendel State of Nigeria ( as applicable in Edo State) , 1976 and punishable under the same Law.”

The charge against Efewengbe reads: “that you Destiny Efewengbe (a.k.a William Scot) on or about the 7th day of May 2021 at Ugbor Area, Benin City, within the jurisdiction of this Hounourable Court did with intent to defraud falsely represented yourself as one William Scot (a white man ) and sent scam messages to one Yaun Tested via your iPhone 11 pro-Max with IMEI No: 353926104836894 with intent to obtain money from her and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48, Laws of defunct Bendel State of Nigeria ( as applicable in Edo State) 1976 and punishable under the same Law.”

Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges.

 

In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Mohammed prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly. However, the defence counsel, Pascal Ugbome pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy and honour the plea bargain agreement between his clients and the prosecution.

Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Omoregbe to two (2) years imprisonment with an option of fine of Two Hundred Thousand Naira ( N 200,000 ), while Efewengbe ( a.k.a William Scott ) was sentenced to six months imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira ( N200,000) as fine.
Justice Ikponwonba also ordered that items recovered by the prosecution during investigation be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria

Court Orders Nyako To Enter Defence In N29bn Fraud Case

Supreme Court Dismisses Nyako's Appeal For Reinstatement
File photo of ex-Adamawa Governor, Murtala Nyako

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, to enter his defence in the N29 billion fraud case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In his ruling, Justice Okon Abang dismissed Nyako’s no-case submission.

The EFCC is prosecuting the former Governor alongside his son Abdulaziz and two companies on a 37-count charge of money laundering, criminal conspiracy, stealing and abuse of office.

The EFCC had, so far, called 21 witnesses to establish its claims against the former Governor and the co-defendants, but the Governor had submitted that he had no case to answer.

Nyako, a one-time military Governor of Niger State, served Adamawa as a civilian Governor between 2007 and 2014.

He was impeached by the state House of Assembly in July 2014 but was cleared by the Federal Court of Appeal in February 2016.

Although the Supreme Court also declared his impeachment null and void and ordered that all his entitlements be paid to him, it declined to reinstate Nyako, 78, as Governor in a December 2016 verdict.

EFCC Arrest 20 Suspected Internet Fraudsters In Katsina

Map of Katsina State used to illstrate the story.

 

At least 20 suspected internet fraudsters have been arrested in Dutsinma Local Government Area of Katsina State by a team of operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Kano Zonal Office.

The anti-graft agency in a statement on Friday said the arrest of the 20 suspects who are in their twenties was carried out following an intelligence report made available to them.

The team however dispatched and carried out a raid on the suspects’ hideouts and arrested them.

READ ALSO: Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Court Acquits, Discharges Ex-NBA President Paul Usoro

“The suspects, who were mostly youths in their early twenties, were arrested by a team of operatives of the Commission following intelligence indicating that some internet fraudsters were perpetrating fraudulent activities around Dutsinma Local Government Area of Katsina State.

“On the strength of the intelligence, a team of operatives was dispatched and they effected a raid on their hideouts and arrested the suspects.

“Investigation is ongoing and indicted suspects will be charged to court,” the statement revealed,” the statement read in part.

The statement further revealed that investigation is ongoing concerning the suspects and they will soon be arraigned.

Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Court Acquits, Discharges Ex-NBA President Paul Usoro

Mr Paul Usoro (file)

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has acquitted and discharged the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Paul Usoro.

Mr Usoro had been standing trial on 10 counts of fraud and money laundering made against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He had pleaded not guilty to the offence and made a no-case submission insisting that the anti-graft agency had made no case against him to warrant him to enter a defence.

In his decision on the no-case submission today, trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish any prima facie case against Usoro.

Justice Aikawa noted that the penal code, under which the former NBA President was charged, is not applicable to the southern states of Lagos and Akwa-Ibom, which were said to be the locations of the alleged offences.

“On the whole, I hold that the prosecution has failed to establish any prima facie case.

“Accordingly, the defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted,” Justice Aikawa held.

The EFCC had arraigned Usoro on December 18, 2018, before Justice Muslim Hassan on 10 counts, all of which he pleaded not guilty to.

He was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Aikawa on charges which alleged that he committed the offence on May 14, 2016.

He was alleged to have conspired to convert the sum of N1.4 billion, property of Akwa Ibom State Government, which the court says he ought to have known was part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity

In his testimony before the court, an EFCC investigating officer Abdulrahman Arabo, said that the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, hired Usoro who, in turn, invited other SANs to join him at the Election Tribunal where his victory was being challenged in 2015.

The EFFC witness also testified that the sum of N1.4 billion legal fee paid to the SANs was drawn from the treasury of the Akwa Ibom State’s account.

Usoro vigorously denied the allegations.

On February 25, the former NBA President had filed a no case submission where his counsel, Effiong O. Effiong SAN submitted that the EFCC called only two witnesses and closed its case because, according to him, it knew it didn’t have any case against the defendants.

He asked the court to allow the no-case submission.

But the EFCC opposed his application and asked the court to dismiss the no-case submission, citing the “overwhelming evidence” it said it had adduced and exhibits admitted in evidence.

It also asked the court to order the defendant to enter his defence.

Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Company’s $3.7bn To FG

 

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday, July 15, 2021, ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of $3,719,855.94 found in the account of a company, Enerbett International Ltd., to the Federal Government.

Justice Aneke gave the order, following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The Judge had, on June 18, 2021, ordered the interim forfeiture of the money and also directed anyone with a lawful interest in the money to show cause why it should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

In granting the interim forfeiture, the Judge had also directed the publication of the order in a national newspaper.

In an affidavit in support of the application, the Commission, through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that the sum was part of credit inflows of $8,360,444.43 received by the firm and reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

Oyedepo also told the court that the sums were surreptitiously transferred to conceal and retain in the account No.4694976024 opened in the name of Enerbett International Ltd domiciled in First City Monument Bank Plc.

He further told the court that the sum of $4,640,398.33 had already been dissipated by suspects in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/586/2021, adding that “As at 31st day of May 2021, the said account had witnessed credit inflows to the tune of $8,360,444.43, which sums are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

“That before the intelligence was received and acted upon by the Commission, the company and its cronies had dissipated the total sum of $4,640,398.33 leaving a balance of $3,720,046.10.

“That as of 31st day of May 2021, the balance standing to the credit of the said account was $3,720,046.10.”

In his ruling, Justice Aneke held that the application was “meritorious and ought to be granted.

The Judge also held that “In light of the above reasons, I hereby order the final forfeiture and the same be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

EFCC Launches ‘Crime-Fighting’ Mobile App

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has launched a mobile application where members of the public can now report cases of corruption to the commission.

The app named Eagle Eye according to the commission will serve as an alternative to the traditional method of reporting people or organisations suspected to be engaged in corrupt practices.

Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, noted that the commission is tapping into emerging technologies to rid Nigeria of corruption.

He added that the app is designed in such a way to guarantee the security of anyone reporting a case of corruption to the EFCC.

This will not, however, substitute the traditional ways of reporting corruption cases.

The EFCC boss further noted that the commission will subject whatever complaints made via the app to scrutiny to ensure that people do not report others for malicious reasons.

Mr Bawa added that the law will be wielded against anyone found guilty of filing false information to mislead the commission.

Although he did not give a specific number of cases, he says in the past the EFCC has had to charge people to court for giving fake information.

Alleged N8.5bn Fraud: EFCC Presents Sixth Witness, Tenders More Evidence Against Akpobolokemi

Court Fixes Date For Ruling On Akpobolemi's N2.6bn Fraud Case

 

The trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and three others for an alleged N8.5billion fraud before Justice Ayokunle Faaji of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos continued on July 12, 2021, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presenting its sixth witness.

Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside Major-General Emmanuel Atewe (rtd), a former Commander of the Joint Military Task Force Operation Pulo Shield, and two other staff of the agency, Kime Engonzu and Josphine Otuaga.

They are being prosecuted for an amended 22-count charge bordering on money laundering.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu, and Josphine Otuaga sometimes in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

They had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby prompting the commencement of their trial.

At the resumed sitting today, July 12, 2021, the prosecuting counsel, Suleiman Suleiman, presented the sixth prosecution witness, Benedict Agweyi, a Forensic Documents Examiner and the Commission’s acting Director of Forensics.

While being led in evidence by Suleiman, the witness told the Court that he received a letter of request with some documents attached for forensic examination, comparison and report from the office of the Deputy Director of Operations, EFCC, Lagos Office on April 25, 2016.

He said: “There were two categories of documents attached, including disputed documents marked X1 to X12, and known specimen handwriting and signatures marked as A1 to A8; B1 to B6, and C1 to C13.

“They were for me to determine whether or not the known specimens were the ones on A1 to A8, B1 to B6 and C1 to C13.”

In forensically analysing the documents, Agweyi said he used three methodologies bearing in mind three principles in signature analysis that guided the analysis of this nature.

According to him, no two writers share the same unique combination of handwriting characteristics.

He further told the court that “On the basis of this, I used the first methodology, which was a simulation of the various categories of writings, using a pencil, a handheld magnifier, a piece of paper, and my naked eyes.

“This methodology enabled me to identify certain characteristics among which include the commencement and terminal style of the writings; the letterforms and structural forms of the writings and the connecting strokes, among others.

“The second methodology was a stereo-microscopic analysis using a Leica stereo microscope, which enabled me to analyse the different categories of writings under magnification ranging from the original sizes to over 20 times the original sizes of the writings.

“This enabled me to identify microscopic features including line formation, the direction of pen movement, and the speed of the writing in absence of tremor among others.”

Testifying further, he told the Court that he used a third methodology, which was a video spectra comparative analysis with the aid of the VSC 5000.

According to him, “This enabled me to further compare the disputed and known specimen handwritings under magnification. It enabled me identify the existence or non-existence of characteristics that are similar or otherwise.”

When asked by Suleiman what he made out of his analysis, he said, “On the conclusion of my analysis, I reduced my findings into a report dated 7 May, 2016 and my opinion was to the effect that the authors of the known specimens and signatures on the documents marked A1 to A8 and B1 to B6 also made the signatures on the disputed documents marked X1 to X12 and the authors of the known specimen and handwriting marked C1 to C13 also made the handwriting and signatures marked X1 to X10.”

He, thereafter, identified his report, which was already before the Court as Exhibit G series.

“I have no personal interest in this matter; and during the analysis, I never knew the names of those involved other than what was on the face of the documents,” he said.

The case has been adjourned till July 13, 2021.

Court Adjourns Naira Marley’s Trial Till October 5

Naira Marley Gets N2m Bail
A file photo of Naira Marley.

 

The Federal High Court Lagos has adjourned till October 5 for the continuation of trial in the case of Afeez Adeshina Fashola, also known as Naira Marley.

Naira Marley was arraigned sometime in 2019 on an 11-count charge of credit card fraud levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

He pleaded not guilty to the charge, thereby leading to his trial.

Since the commencement of the trial, the prosecution had called two witnesses, Nuru Buhari Dalhatu and Augustine Anosike, both forensic experts with the EFCC, who revealed to the court how the defendant frequently visited sites where stolen credit cards were sold to interested fraudsters as well as other shocking evidence recovered from the defendant’s mobile device.

At the resumed sitting on Monday, the prosecution counsel, Bilkisu Buhari, told the court that the matter was slated for cross-examination of the second prosecution witness, PW2,  Anosike, and also urged the court to call on the witness for the continuation of the hearing.

However, counsel to the defendants, Akinwale Kola-Taiwo, asked the court for a short date on the grounds that “the matter is for mention today and not continuation as disclosed by the prosecution.”

Consequently, Justice Justice I. Nicholas Oweibo granted the prayer of the defence and adjourned the matter till October 5, 6 and 7 for the continuation of trial.

Alleged Funds Misappropriation: Judge Threatens To Order Arrest Of Stella Oduah

File photo of Ex-Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has threatened to issue a bench warrant of arrest on Former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah over her continuous absence in court.

Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the threat on Monday, following the refusal of the former minister to honour court proceedings.

Oduah, now a Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was billed to be arraigned on a 25-count alongside four others.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is alleging that Oduah misappropriated public funds while serving as a minister.

Other defendants are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore, and Marine Limited, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, Crystal Television Limited, Sobora International Limited, and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Limited.

They are charged with conspiracy and money laundering as well as maintaining anonymous bank accounts.

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At the resumed hearing on Monday, Counsel to the EFCC, Hassan Liman, said all the defendants have been served with the charges as ordered by the court.

He added that 32 witnesses have been lined up to testify against her and eight others with a view of establishing the fraud charges against them.

However, the former minister and the fourth defendant were not in court.

Justice Ekwo said he would fix another day for the arraignment of the defendants.

Ekwo also directed the prosecution to get their “house in order” while adding that “a warrant of arrest will be issued against any defendant that is absent from court on the day fixed for arraignment”.

The judge, therefore, fixed October 19 and 20 for the arraignment.

This is the fourth time the arraignment of the former minister has been stalled, having been previously fixed for February 9, February 22, and April 19.