N4.56 billion Pension fraud: EFCC seizes properties of former Pension office Director

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized six properties belonging to a former Director of the Pension Administration Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Sani Teidi Shuaibu, who is standing trial over a N4.56 billion Pension fraud.

The properties which were taken over by the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the EFCC during an operation at the weekend included two buildings and four filling stations.

The interim forfeiture is sequel to an order of Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja made on 11 July 2011. The Court granted the order “restraining all persons including persons hereinafter referred to as RECEIVERS in the Schedules hereto attached, by themselves directly or through another, (whether natural or otherwise )including , but not limited to all parties listed in all the schedules hereto attached, whether or not named in Charge No FHC/ABJ/ CR28/2011, that is to say and such other persons yet to be identified, from removing, Alienating, Disposing of, Dealing with or Diminishing the value of, assets or properties being suspected proceeds of crimes or otherwise, held or owned by or in the names of persons suspected of the alleged Financial Crimes in Charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/28/2011.

“That the Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is hereby permitted to seize and retain custody of all such properties or assets of persons listed in the schedules attached to this Motion, which assets are suspected proceeds of crime or the value thereof until the final determination of Charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/28/2011.”

The court also granted an order permitting the Executive Chairman of the EFCC to seize and retain custody of all the properties or assets of persons (as listed in the attached schedules) though not yet charged but found to be connected with the transaction or allegation contained in charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/28/2011.

Some of the properties belonging to Mr Shuaibu which the court asked the EFCC to seize included:
(a) No 24, Ahmadu Musa Crescent, Jabi, Abuja;
(b) Brefina Hotel at plot 1106, (Beside MTN) warehouse, adjacent to vines Hotel, Durumi, Abuja;
(c) A house at No 1, Shuaibu close, opposite Governor’s House, Idah;
(d) Riba-ile petroleum Ltd;
(e) M.R.S Ajaka (registered as Riba-Ile oil Ltd; (f) M.R.S Idah station, Idah, registered with Hammo oil, Nigeria;
(g) NNPC Mega station, Idah junction, Ayingba, registered with Hammo oil, Nig. Ltd.
(h) MRS Filling Station at Ganaja, Lokoja; (i)Registered with A.Y Ted oil Ltd; (j) A mansion at Idah, opposite Federal Polytechnic, Idah; (k) SunTrust Properties company Ltd;
(l) Plot B59, Dawaki Extension layout, Bwari Area council, Abuja;
(m) An Estate of about 10 bungalows, lying and being at Dantata Street, Nyanyan, FCT, Abuja.

The properties which were taken over by the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the EFCC during an operation at the weekend included two buildings and four filling stations.

One of the buildings located at 1 Shuaibu Close, G.R.A. Idah, Kogi state is an imposing 8 bedroom twin duplex, a 5 units 2 bedrooms apartment, two-room security house and a mosque all scattered in the expansive compound.

The property at the Polytechnic Road, directly opposite Federal Polytechnic, Okenya, Idah, Kogi state is an unpainted one story duplex with multiple sitting rooms and apartment built within.

The third property that was seized was a non-functional filling station, located 100 meters away from Ajaka police station. It has a small office building with four rusted and non-functional fuel pumps and a leister generator in a small generator house.

At Agbeji in Ayingba, Kogi state, a thriving MRS filling station located at Agbeji along Ayingba Road, a few meters from Confluence Fertilizer Company limited was also seized from Mr Shuaibu.

An NNPC Mega station along Lokoja-Enugu Highway, Ayingba and a Texaco filling station with a shopping mall along Ganaja Road, opposite Ibra Petroleum and Petrochemical Limited, Lokoja, Kogi state were among the properties seized from the former director.

Mr Shuaibu, Phina Ukamaka Chidi and 30 other suspects are facing trial on a 134 count of diversion of pension funds, abuse of office, using ghost pensioners to pay N2million and N3million into their accounts monthly and diversion of the same amount through award of fictitious contracts to companies which they manage. Ukamaka Chidi is a former Deputy Director (Finance and Accounts), in the pension office while Aliyu Bello was a Personal Assistant to Mr Shuaibu.

Other accused persons are Garba Abdullahi Tahir, Emmanuel Olanipekun, Abdullahi Omeiza, Computer Plaza and Essential gadget Ventures.

Others are Mobis Point Investment Ltd, Obista Enterprises, Shallow Well Ventures, Mof Investment Ltd, Zumba Resources, Pam Investment and Properties Ltd, Moshfad Enterprises, Newgate Projects Ltd, RedWings Energy Ltd, RedWing Procurement Services Ltd, Woodland Industries NIG Ltd, Nwab Tessy O Enterprises Nigeria, Chris J. Junior Ventures, Uthaka Nigeria Ltd, Bashinta Nigeria ltd, Haleath Enterprises, Gozinda Enterprises, Omozua Ventures, S.S Badejo Enterprises, Lopee ventures, Fafama Oil and gas Ltd, Fafama estate Developer Ltd and Riba-Ile Petroleum.

Count one of the 134 count reads “that you Dr. Shaiubu Sani Teidi, Phina Ukamaka Chidi Computer Plaza, Essential gadget Ventures, Mobis Point Investment Ltd, Obista Enterprises, Shallow Well Ventures at various times, between 2008 and 2010 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourself to induce the pension department, office of the head of service of the federation of Nigeria, to deliver to you, various sums in the aggregate N176, 910, 650 (One Hundred and Seventy Six Million, Nine Hundred and Ten Thousand , Six Hundred and Fifty Naira) property vide the medium of a contract induced by false pretences, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006”.

Watch the startling revelation at Senate probe on the Pension fund administration here.

SEC bribery scandal: EFCC summons Hon. Hembe for questioning

House of Representatives’ member and former chairman of the House Committee on the Capital Market, Herman Hembe, reportedly appeared before the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday to face questioning over allegations that he had requested N44 million in bribe from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of a probe investigating the commission’s role in the Capital Market crash.

Arunma Oteh, SEC DG (L) and Hon. Herman Hembe (R)

Hon. Hembe, who was reportedly still with the EFCC as of 3 p.m. this afternoon, was chairing a public hearing during the probe when the SEC boss Ms Arunma Oteh accused him of demanding money from her to the tune of N39 million at first, and another N5 million a week before the hearing commenced.

The shocking allegations led to Hembe’s withdrawal as chairman of the Committee. He maintained his innocence, even accusing the SEC of offering him N30 million in bribes, but also welcomed the investigation of the EFCC in a bid to clean up his sullied reputation.

Sources were unable to confirm if SEC DG Oteh, who is also embroiled in the bribery scandal, answered summons for questioning.

The House had indicated earlier this week, that Oteh will face questioning after internal SEC memos leaked to the press showed that the Commission had offered to “assist” the proceedings by donating N30 million to the Committee.

Oteh, whose credibility and competence were questioned during the public hearings, had fought right back, questioning Hembe’s credibility in turn and accusing the lawmaker of collecting estacode from the Commission for an emerging markets conference in the Dominican Republic, which he never attended.

The SEC further refuted allegations that the Commision had attempted to bribe the Committee. Following the cross-fire of accusations and counter-accusations, the House of Representatives set up an ad-hoc committee to continue the probe under different leadership.

Witness tells court how El-Rufai allocated land to himself, family and companies

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday told an Abuja High Court that a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai and two of his officials unilaterally revoked some juicy plots of land and allocated same to themselves, their relatives and their companies.

Sunday Idowu, a former operative of the EFCC made the disclosure while being led in evidence by the commission’s lawyer, Adebayo Adelodun, in continuation of trial of the former minister who is facing an eight-count of abuse of office.

The two other accused persons are the Director General, Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), Atine Jubrin and former General Manager, AGIS Ismail Iro.

Mr Idowu, an Inspector of Police gave detailed steps taken by his investigative team in unravelling facts behind the accusations against the accused persons.

“We interacted with interested parties notably Abuja Geographical Information Services (AGIS), Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) among others who gave us insight into what actually happened,” the police officer said.

He said that his team identified an official memo written by a senior official of FCDA advising against the irregular conversion of the plots.

“At AGIS, investigation revealed that plots 1201 and 3352 which were originally allocated to PHCN and NIPOST were revoked and then re-allocated to 9 private individuals including two wives of the former minister, daughter of former President Obasanjo, Iyabo Obasanjo–Bello, a serving senator, Philip Aduda and the 2nd and 3rd accused persons,” Mr Idowu said.

The witness further told the court that his team discovered from the Corporate Affairs Commission that Misters El-Rufai, and Iro are directors in the three companies which benefited from the re-allocation, namely: System Property Development Company, SPDC, Express Procurement Ltd and Pure Environment Services.

“In the course of investigation, it was discovered that one of the irregularly converted plots, allocated to one of the wives of the 1st accused person ,with new plot number 337 was also used by him as one of the properties declared as his own in his Asset Declaration Form with the Code of Conduct Bureau,” the police investigator said.

A former Executive Secretary with the FCDA, Sani Alhassan, told the court that after a meeting with the management of PHCN it was discovered that the earlier revocation was no more necessary. He said a memo was written to the former minister advising him to revert to status quo.

The case was adjourned to 25 April for further hearing.

Mr El-Rufai and his co-accused persons were first arraigned on an amended eight-count on Thursday 7 April 2011. Their arraignment followed a petition to EFCC, detailing allegations of abuse of office against the former minister on how he misappropriated government land which he allocated to his friends and family members, in flagrant breach of the Abuja Master plan.

Anti graft agency to partner UBEC on fight against corruption

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is to partner with the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, to engage school children across the country in its fight against corruption.

The chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, said the initiative involved supporting selected schools with N1 million each to execute self-help projects to impact on their environment.

“The youth are a veritable ally in the anti-corruption crusade and must be taken along right from their early stages. Thus we have taken steps to involve them in the fight through various programmes that have been initiated by the Commission one of which is the establishment of integrity groups across schools”, he said.

While congratulating the benefitting schools, Lamorde added that the primary role of these clubs was to build future leaders with integrity, honesty, patriotism, and high moral values as a basis for social change in Nigeria.

On his part, the representative of UBEC and Director, Social Mobilisation in the Commission, Ibrahim Sulaiman informed the EFCC that the self- help project is a World Bank- funded initiative that began in 2002 and which has so far intervened in over 20,000 schools across the Federation.

The Director further said that the N1million given to the schools was to encourage the communities where these schools are cited to own the projects, because only schools with broad -based management committees that involve the community benefit from the scheme.
The eleven schools that have benefitted so far from the N1 Million scheme are: Model Highway School,Calabar; Edo College, Benin City; Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure; Community Secondary School, Wadata, Benue State; Government Secondary School Akwanga, Nassarawa State; Government Junior Secondary School Kurmin Mashi , Kaduna State; Government Girls Secondary School, Wammako, Sokoto; Model Secondary School, Donga, Taraba State; Government Technical College, Abakaliki; Queen’s School 1, Enugu and Mashafa Community School, Abuja

EFCC arrests OSOPADEC boss

Mr. Debo Ajimuda, the chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged corrupt practices.

The crime fighting body had arrested the chairman at his Ijapo residence in Akure, carting away bags of useful document evidence and 13 exotic cars.

According to reports, the EFCC staff had first sought out the elusive Ajimuda at his office, but were accosted by hostile employees who refused to let them go.

Commissioner of Police for the state, Garba Mohammed, had interfered in the skirmish, however, resulting in the release of the anti-graft agents who then made their way to the chairman’s residence.

The EFCC had been investigating Ajimuda’s activities, trailing him for two weeks before making their move. Ajimuda, as well as two other officials of the commission, are wanted by the EFCC over alleged criminal diversion and embezzlement of public funds, a source disclosed.

“Ajimuda claims to have spent N61.363billion between 2001 and 2011 but this is said to be a far cry from the over N100billion received by the commission within the same period.

“The petitioners alleged that the projects claimed to have been executed by the commission were either abandoned or do not exist at all.”

Head of Media and Publicity for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the arrests, saying Ajimuda needs to “clarify some issues”, including verifying whether projects budgeted for were actually executed.

The EFCC officials had reportedly arrived at his premises at about 6 a.m. on Tuesday and upon learning of their presence, Ajimuda had taken flight, scaling the fence of his property and hiding in an uncompleted building next door.

Ajimuda’s wife had tried covering his tracks as well, telling EFCC officials that he was not at home. However, the officials refused to leave the premises and set up surveillance around the premises to ensure he did not escape.

Tired of the wait, the OSOPADEC boss, clad in boxer shorts and a white undershirt, emerged from his hiding place at about 2:30 p.m. and was taken in by the officials.

Ondo State’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade said the investigation of the EFCC was a step in the right direction, but was wary of the methods used to arrest Ajimuda.

He insisted that OSOPADEC boss should have been invited for questioning by EFCC officials first before a forceful arrest is made.

He said, “It is not proper for the anti graft agency to just invade the office and home of the OSOPADEC boss and arrest the man without any formal invitation.”

Akinmade welcomed the investigation, adding that the Commission had nothing to hide.

Court insists ex-governor, Danjuma Goje has a case of fraud to answer

Danjuman Goje in the dockA Federal High Court in Gombe on Tuesday refused to quash charges of financial impropriety levelled against the former governor of Gombe state, Danjuma Goje by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court also fixed May 8, 2012 for the trial of the former governor who is currently a Senator in the National Assembly over an alleged fraud of N52 billion.

Mr Goje is facing an 18 count of conspiracy and money laundering along with Aliyu El-Nafarty (former Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board), Sambo Mohammed Tumu (the ex- governor’s cousin and food supplier to Government House) and S.M. Dakoro, a businessman.

They were said to have conspired to defraud the state of about N25 billion which represented proceeds of illegal acts, contrary to and punishable under Sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended.

At the last sitting last December 9, the lawyer to the defendants, Adeniyi Akintola had argued that his clients had no case to answer, adding that the former governor, for instance, was given executive powers by the constitution to act executively, by fiat, even in the award of contracts or appropriation of funds without reporting to anybody.

Mr Akintola further said that the charge was based on anonymous but fictitious petitions which he referred to as ‘’beer parlour gossip.’’

However, the prosecuting counsel and lawyer to the EFCC, Wahab Shittu, urged the court to disregard the submissions by the defence counsel contending that the prosecution had enough evidence to prove its case against the accused persons.

Pension Fund Probe:EFCC Boss denies receiving Estacode for US Trip

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde has denied receiving money to travel abroad for pensioners’ biometric exercise.

Members of the Senate Committee probing the Pension Fund Administration presented a document with names and account numbers of government officials who travelled for the verification exercise and the name of the EFCC Chairman together with the Former Head of Service Professor Oladapo Afolabi were among the fifty names on the list.

But EFCC Chairman and Professor Afolabi said the account numbers do not belong to them.

The list had the names of fifty government officials who allegedly participated in the verification exercise of Nigerians in the diaspora in which the sum of 260 million naira was spent to verify twenty Nigerians.

The EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde,an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), is coming on board to serve under the umbrella of the EFCC, first as Acting Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the period former anti-corruption boss; Nuhu Ribadu who was replaced by Mrs. Farida Waziri.

Now coming in as the Chief Executive of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after his confirmation by the Senate on the 15th of February 2012, the EFCC boss has almost 25 years continuous training and experience after serving as Director of Operations to both Ribadu and Waziri.

Background:

Now 48 years old, Ibrahim Lamorde, got into the Plice force in the year 1986 after his first degree in Sociology from ABU Zaria which he bagged in 1984.

After which he was posted to the State Police Command in Niger State Minna where he was from 1987 to 1988 as DCO (Divisional Crime Office) he remained in Niger State to serve under a new position as the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for another four years.

Lamorde has worked with international crime fighting organisations such as the FBI, Metropolitan Police, US Postal Inspection Services (USPIS), Internet Crime Complaints Centre (IC3), the Dutch Police, German Police and the South African Police.

He has also served as the pioneer officer of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police, created in 1993 and served in the premier anti-419 corps of the Nigeria Police until 2002. While still an officer of the SFU.

Lamorde is a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management and Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

Court dismisses Akingbola’s appeal against freezing his assets

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on Monday dismissed two separate appeals filed by the former chief executive officer of Intercontinental Bank (now acquired by Access Bank), Erastus Akingbola challenging the ruling of a Federal High Court which refused his application to discharge an order to freeze his assets.

The Court of Appeal also in another judgment dismissed Mr Akingbola’s application to stop his ongoing criminal trial, before Justice Hakeem Abiru of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja which was brought against him and his associate, Bayo Dada by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

The appellate court in its judgment, delivered by Justice Kumai Akaahs, dismissed the appeal in its entirety on the ground that it lacked merit.

The judgment which was unanimously adopted by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa and Justice Pemu further held that Mr Akingbola failed to show that the lower court acted under a misconception of the law.

The court also discountenanced the argument of the appellant that the charges were not brought under the Criminal Procedure Rules or that there was no pending charge before the court at the time of granting the order that froze the assets.

Justice Akaahs held that where there was reasonable suspicion as to the commission of an offence, the law enforcement agents have a duty to seize the subject matter of the offence pending the conclusion of investigation and trial of same.

He therefore held that the lower court acted judicially and judiciously in granting the interim order.

Mr Akingbola is standing trial alongside one of his associates, Mr Dada, over alleged stealing of N47.1 billion brought against them by the EFCC.

Court insists Atuche has a case of fraud to answer

An Ikeja High Court sitting on Monday dismissed an application filed by the former Managing Director of Bank PHB (now Keystone bank), Francis Atuche seeking an order to quash the charges of stealing brought against him and a former Director of the bank, Lekan Kasali by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Presiding Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo said that the application lacks merit and that the charge against the former bank chief is not defective and incompetent.

Mr Atuche had sought an order striking out his name from the charge on the basis that the transactions on another charge against him before the Federal High Court and the one at the Lagos High Court were interlinked.

He added that the EFCC, acting for the Attorney-General of the Federation, can only prosecute a crime under a Federal Law, and not under the Administration of the Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State.

Justice Onigbanjo in his ruling dismissed all the arguments raised by Mr Atuche.

The judge distinguished between the cases at the Federal high court & that at the State High Court. He said the charges at the Federal High Court bordered on his alleged granting of credit facilities illegally while that before his court had to do with stealing and conspiracy to steal.

The court also maintained that the two matters before it and the one before Justice Lateefah Okunnu of the same court had to do with different transactions that Mr Atuche was allegedly involved in, though all the alleged offences were committed when he was the Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Bank PHB.

The judge also overruled Mr Atuche’s argument that the way the case was being handled could prejudice his right to fair hearing.

The judge said that though the case had generated public interest, it would not in anyway affect the decision of the court.

Justice Onigbanjo rejected the former bank chief’s argument that the proof of evidence did not disclose a prima facie evidence against him before adjourning till the 24th of May for commencement of trial.

Gbenga Daniel not Acquitted-EFCC

EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has announced that former governor of Ogun state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, though discharged by a court ruling has not been acquitted, contrary to media reports.

In a press statement, the EFCC says it “wishes to clarify that the ruling of justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje was not a discharge and acquittal of the former Ogun state governor in an Abeokuta high court today.

The trial judge only released Mr. Daniel on the sole technical ground that the commission failed to seek the consent of court before filing the amended charges against the former governor.
The anti-graft agency says that consequent on the ruling striking out the charges, the commission will immediately apply to the chief judge of ogun state for leave to re-file the charges against Otunba Daniel.

Otunba Gbenga Daniel was first arraigned on October 12, 2011 on a 16-count charge of stealing, fraudulent conversion and failure to declare assets. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was admitted to bail, on October 14, 2011 in the sum of N500million and two sureties in like sum.

The charges were later amended to 43 counts.

Court frees Gbenga Daniel of all corruption charges

The former governor of Ogun state, Olugbenga Daniel has been discharged of all 43 count charge of financial appropriation filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) at the Ogun state High Court.

The presiding judge, Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje during his ruling on Friday said that the EFCC failed to seek the prayer of the court “before filling the information that contained the indictable offences proffered against the defendant.”

Justice Mabekoje, giving his judgement noted that the EFCC as a prosecuting agency committed a “fundamental error for not seeking the leave of the court before filling the charges containing the indictable offences.”

The former governor is standing trial for financial impropriety during his two year term as the governor of Ogun state from 2003 to 2011.

Mr Daniel is accused of stealing, fraudulent conversion of local government funds, failure to declare assets and conversion of state government landed property for personal use.

Counsel to the defendant, Profesor Taiwo Osipitan described the judgement as a welcome development while Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs stated that it was a temporary setback, adding that “the EFCC would soon approach the court once again to put the records straight and follow due process.”

The embattled former governor was full of praises to God while reacting to the judgement. His supporters were present at the court premises and they all danced and cheered to the ruling.

EFCC arraigns Lagos Assembly Speaker for laundering N501 million

After prolonged delays, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arraigned the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji at the Federal High Court, Lagos on 20 count charge of money laundering.

The anti-graft agency alleges that the Speaker used his position to launder over N500 million of the Lagos State House of Assembly funds.

At today’s hearing the Speaker Ikuforiji was arraigned alongside his Personal Assistant, Mr Oyebode Alade Atoyebi on an amended twenty-count charge of laundering over N501 million.

According to the charge sheet the EFCC alleged that Hon Ikuforiji and Mr Atoyebi conspired among themselves between April 2010 and July 2011 to “do an illegal act by accepting various cash payments from the State Assembly without going through a financial institution.”

Both men pleaded not guilty to the allegations after which their counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) asked the court for bail on self-recognition, because the Speaker is the “third citizen in Lagos State” and the other being “an aide to the Speaker.”

The EFCC did not oppose the bail applications but however urged the Court to impose bail conditions on the bail to be granted to his aide.

The Presiding judge Justice Okechukwu Okeke, granted the bail on self-recognition adjourned to the 26 & 27th of March.

The Speaker was initially scheduled to be arraigned on the 30th of January after weeks of failing to appear in court despite an arrest warrant.

The order was, however, discharged by the then presiding Judge, Justice John Soho on December 15, 2011, when the Speaker voluntarily came to court.

Justice John Soho subsequently withdrew from the case.

Counsel to the Speaker, had explained their absence in court was due to their not being served with the court proceeding by the EFCC to the effect that they should appear in court.