EFCC Warns Bankers Against Unethical Practices

EFCC, BankersThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged financial institutions especially Nigerian banks to refrain from all form of unethical practices that impinge on the image and status of Nigeria and its economy.

The South East Zonal Head of the EFCC, Johnson Babalola made the appeal while addressing senior officials from banks across the south eastern states of Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia and Imo at a special stakeholders meeting at the Commission’s office in Enugu.

He admonished the bankers not to turn themselves into pawns in the hands unscrupulous persons. “You should be careful that all these so called big men do not use you to effect their selfish agenda and, after everything, they will dump you to face the repercussion,” he warned.

Describing the relationship between financial institutions and the Commission as that of partners, Babalola asked for the cooperation of the bankers, adding that the EFCC cannot effectively fulfill its mandate without the cooperation of banks.

“Because our investigations often involve information on lodgment and movement of cash, your cooperation is needed to improve on intelligence required for progress in any case.”

Later during the interactive session, some of the staff of the Commission and the bankers expressed concerns on issues they felt were militating against the smooth working relationship between the two stakeholders.

The ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) regime, quality of reports from banks and document verification among others were some of the matters raised.

The Head of Legal and Prosecution, Enugu zone, Joshua Saidi urged the bankers to acquaint themselves with laws relating to their job, especially the preparation and production of statement of account as they may be required during trials as court evidence.

The event had in attendance, regional and area managers, auditors, control and compliance officers alongside heads of sections and units in the EFCC zonal office.

Subsidy Scam: Court Fines Adbullahi Alao For Counsel’s Absence In Court

Subsidy scamJustice Adebisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, sitting in Igbosere, on Wednesday September 17, 2014, ordered that Abdullahi Alao, a defendant standing trial in a N2.6billion scam, instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, should pay a sum of N50, 000 as fine to the EFCC, for the failure of his counsel to appear in court for the continuation of his trial.

A defence team led by Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) failed to show up in court on Wednesday, for the cross examination of a prosecution witness, Laval Ahmed, who also doubles as the principal witness in the ongoing trial of Alao and his company, Axenergy Limited for their alleged involvement in a N2.6 billion oil subsidy scam, under the Petroleum Support Fund, for a purported importation of 33.3million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

Oluwatosin Dawodu, who held brief for Osipitan, prayed the court to adjourn to a later date, explaining that Osipitan was absent because he had to attend a conference.

The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, immediately prayed the court not to grant the application.

This application is intended to put wool in the eye of my Lord, I therefore urge my Lord to use the sledge hammer of justice to prevent that from happening. And that the cost of transportation of the witness be taken over by the defence counsel,” he said.

Justice Akinlade, who had earlier insisted that Dawodu must go ahead with the cross examination of the witness, however, granted the adjournment, which according to her, was necessary to enable the defendant get deserved fairness and proper representation.

She also ordered that the transportation cost of the prosecution witness be paid to him before the next adjourned date.

She subsequently adjourned the matter till October 8, 2014 for continuation of trial.

EFCC Must Declare Cecilia Ibru’s Assets Within 72 Hours — Court

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to disclose within 72hours, the whereabouts of the money and properties forfeited by the convicted former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank), Mrs. Cecilia Ibru.

Presiding Justice Mohammed Idris gave the order while delivering judgment in a Freedom of Information (FOI) suit filed by the President of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Mr Boniface Okezie.

Mr Okezie, had filed the suit against the EFCC as well as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN).

He had also urged the court to compel the two defendants to render account of all the legal fees paid so far to private lawyers handling its criminal cases.

Delivering judgment, Justice Idris  held that it was imperative for the anti-graft agency to account for the assets recovered from Ibru, which amounted to about N191 billion.

The judge also ordered  Mr Adoke and the EFCC to, within seventy-two hours, disclose the amounts they have respectively spent on hiring private lawyers for criminal prosecution.

In addition, the court ordered the defendants to disclose the amounts they pay their in-house counsel and their qualifications.

The defendants, according to the judge, are also to state the reasons for preferring private lawyers to their in-house counsel, as well as the amount they have spent for the training of their in-house counsel in the past one year.

The assets forfeited by Mrs Cecila Ibru included 94 landed property scattered in Nigeria, Dubai and the United States of America, as well as shares in about 100 firms both listed and unlisted in the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE).

It would be recalled that Mrs Ibru was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment by the then Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Dan Abutu after she pleaded guilty to a three-count charge of recklessly granting credit facilities.

BACKGROUND:
Ibru had admitted granting an illegal credit facility of $20 million to WAVES Project Nigeria Limited and N2 billion unlawful credit to Petosan Farms. She also agreed that she failed to ensure that the 2009 balance sheet of Oceanic Bank was a true view of the state of affairs of the bank.

Justice Idris, had in a sister case, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to account for the assets forfeited by Ibru also within seventy-two hours.

Already, the CBN has appealed against that verdict.

In the notice of appeal, the apex bank stressed that accounting for the assets was not possible in view of the fact that it would expose the legal fees paid to lawyers that handled the matter.

The appeal, which was anchored on one point stated above, was filed by Gabriel Olawoyin (SAN) on behalf of the CBN.

The appeal is yet to be heard and determined by the appellate court.