Terrorism Financing Must Be Curbed, Says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday that there was a need to curb the flow of terrorism financing.

President stated this at the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

Speaking on the theme, “Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Combat the Transnational Threat to Terrorism,” Buhari called for the cooperation of other African leaders to fighting the menace.

“The need to curb the flow of terrorism financing cannot be over-emphasised. Concerted efforts must be made to not only dismantle the network between transnational organised crimes and terrorist organisations but also to block the payment of ransom to terrorist groups,” he said.

President Buhari also reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to supporting counterterrorism efforts within the African Union and the United Nations.

He also cited the UN Resolution 1373 which stressed that “any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts should be brought to justice.”

The Nigerian leader called for resolute and coordinated initiatives by developing an African Union database of persons or groups and entities involved in terrorist acts for use by law enforcement agents.

“Nigeria believes that the timely establishment of this tool at the continental level will be strategic in this fight,” a statement from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu quoted Buhari as saying.

Buhari also expressed Nigeria’s grave concern over the increasing threats posed by transnational terrorism and the attendant humanitarian crisis.

This is coming after he condemned in the strongest terms the continued activities of the terrorist groups in the continent and around the world.

Financial Crimes Will Wipe Us Out If Not Checked – Osinbajo

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has said ECOWAS member states should treat the challenge of money laundering and illicit financial flows with zero tolerance as it has become a threat capable of wiping out countries if it is not urgently dealt with.

Speaking at the 18th ministerial committee meeting of the Inter-governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Osinbajo says the commitment to fight transnational organised crime, money laundering, and terrorist financing must be backed with action and visible results.

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‘’We are dealing with an existential threat. Its either we wipe it out or it wipes us out. This should spur us to treat money laundering and all other financial crimes with zero tolerance.

‘’We have for long affirm our commitment as a sub-region to fighting money laundering and terrorist financing. We must now back this intent with forceful action and visible results,’’ he said.

The event which had in attendance ministers from the 17 member states of GIABA and diplomatic corp involve discussion on how to effectively fight the scourge of transnational crime, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.

Osinbajo in his description of the dangers that lie ahead for member countries if financial corruption is not checked also called for more global support in the repatriation of funds.

‘’It is unconscionable in our views to have stolen funds in a bank within the jurisdiction of a FATF (Financial Action Task Force) country and to have to go through a rigorous obstacle to retrieve the funds. And even when such funds are to be returned after several years, humiliating conditions are attached.

‘’We cannot have anonymous ownership of countries trusts and all other arrangements designed to cover the ownership of assets and at the same time expect optimal results from mounting money laundering measures.’’

The Director-General of Giaba, Adama Coulibaly, also at the event said the committee of the 17 members of GIABA is meeting for the second time in 2017 for the sole purpose of finding a solution to terrorism and fighting financial crimes.

EFFC Begins Trial Of Patrick Akpobolokemi, Three Others

EFCC, Patrick AkpobolokemiThe trial involving former NIMASA DG, Patrick Akpobolokemi, retired Major-General Emmanuel Atewe, and two others has begun at the Federal High Court Ikoyi Lagos.

Prosecution witness for the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Teslim Ajuwon, has revealed evidence to the court.

While answering questions from the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, Mr Teslim said that over eight billion Naira was transferred from the Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency (NIMASA) to the joint task force, Operation Pulo shield.

He also revealed that within a number of days, the monies were distributed to six different companies, during the tenure of Patrick Akpobolokemi.

Mr Teslim further stated that the transaction instrument which transferred the part of the monies to Jaggan limited, was signed by the two signatories of the JTF which included Major General Emmauel Atewe.

Justice Saidu Salu, however, adjourned the case till November 22, while cross examination will begin on December 5, 2016.

The trial is coming months after a High Court in Igbosere dismissed an application by Mr Akpobolokemi, challenging its jurisdiction to entertain his trial.

 

At the hearing held on March 21, Justice R.I.B. Adebiyi threw out Akpobolokemi’s suit, stressing that the application lacked merit.

“This court finds preliminary objections raised by 1st and 4th defendants/ applicants to lack merit. both preliminary objections are accordingly dismissed,” he said.

We’ve Recovered Over One Billion Naira From S/South Alone – EFCC

EFCC, Corruption proceedsOver one billion naira proceeds of corruption has been recovered from individuals in the South-South region of the country between January and September 2016, with 24 convictions.

This is according to the zonal head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ishaq Saliu.

He said this in Port Harcourt when some Niger Delta youths took a protest to the commission’s office over alleged lopsidedness in the anti-corruption campaign.

According to them, the ongoing matter involving the former first lady, Patience Jonathan and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the monies found in her account to the tune of 15 million Dollars, has brought the current campaign.

Mr. Saliu insisted that the EFCC said the commission would always be on the side of the law and stop at nothing in its effort to recover stolen funds.

“There is nothing selective in the cases of EFCC. We are professionals to the core.

“Once an allegation is made, before somebody is even invited – the invitation is the last leg of our cases.

“Bank documents and things we need to inquire would have been gotten.

“Port Harcourt Zonal office alone, this year, has 24 convictions and recovered over a billion naira,” he said.

 

Former Chief of Air Staff, Amosu Returns 2.6bn Naira

Amosun, Air ForceA former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, has returned 2.6 billion naira to the federal government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC confirmed this fact to Channels TV judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, on Wednesday after the arraignment of Air Marshal Amosu before a federal high court sitting in Lagos State.

He was arraigned alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga and seven companies.

Freezing Accounts Is Backed By Law – EFCC

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says freezing of accounts suspected of being used for financial crimes is a mandatory investigative step backed by law.

The anti-graft agency was responding to reactions that trailed the freezing of accounts of suspects that were investigated or currently being investigated.

A statement by the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, on Monday stressed the need to explain the reason behind the actions in order to prevent misinformation.

“Indeed, Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 empowers the Commission to freeze any account suspected of being used for financial crimes.

“The section stipulates that, the Chairman of the Commission or any officer authorised by him may, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person is made through the commission of an offence under this Act, or any enactment specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of this Act, apply to the Court ex-parte for power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate authority to freeze the account,” the statement read.

Incidental To Investigation

The agency also noted that similar provision in the Money Laundering Prohibition Act also allowed the EFCC Chairman or his representatives to place a stop order on any account or transaction suspected to be involved in any crime.

“The intendment of these provisions is to ensure that the Commission safeguards suspected proceeds of crime pending the completion of its investigation.

“It is without prejudice to the social standing of the holder of such accounts or whether they are individual, corporate or government accounts,” the statement added.

The anti-graft agency maintained that the freezing orders were incidental to investigation and doing otherwise would jeopardise the prospects of recovering stolen assets.

Gov. Ortom Rededicates Benue To God, Seeks Refund Of Looted Funds

Benue, Ortom, Looted FundsGovernor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to quickly investigate the alleged looting of over 151 billion Naira by officials of the previous administration and ensure its recoveries.

Mr Ortom made the call at a service for the rededication of Benue State and its people to God in the face of mounting economic and security challenges.

The interdenominational service, which held at the IBB Square to seek repentance before God, marked the end of a two-week state-wide prayer and fasting to seek lasting solutions to its socioeconomic challenges.

The rededication service commenced with a praise and worship session as the Governor and the congregation danced before God.

Founder, Dunamis International Gospel Church, Paul Enenche, preached on the significance of dedication and submission to God as the states seeks to break free from its challenges.

Also taking into account, the cooperate repentance of the state and her people, the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe, charged the people to return to agriculture and shun idleness.

Governor Ortom then made the passionate appeal to the EFCC to help recover funds looted from the state.

In the end, he led the state exco members and some federal legislators to God as he prayed to break unholy ancestral covenants.

This led to joyous celebration among the participants.

Tarfa To Know Fate On Application To Quash Charges On April 20

Rickey Tarfa in court Lagos NigeriaA Lagos State High Court in Igbosere will on April 20 rule on an application by a Senior Nigerian lawyer, Mr Rickey Tarfa, seeking to quash a two-count charge of obstruction of justice and attempt to pervert the course of justice.

The charges were brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court fixed the date after listening to arguments from counsels in the matter.

Arguing the preliminary objection on Monday, Mr Tarfa’s lawyer, Mr Jelili Owonikoko, said the offence was not an economic and financial crime and that the EFCC had no power to institute the charges.

Mr Owonikoko said two other judges, Justice Adebiyi and Justice Candid-Johnson, had already made pronouncements on similar cases, where they held that “outside of economic and financial crimes the EFCC has no right to prosecute general offences”.

Describing the charges as an abuse of the EFCC’s prosecutorial power, Mr Owonikoko said the charges against Tarfa arose from a civil case at the High Court.

He said the allegation that Tarfa had an unlawful conversation with Justice Yunusa was already the subject of a petition before the National Judicial Council and also the subject matter of an appeal before the Court of Appeal.

He urged Justice Opesanwo to resist an attempt by the EFCC to set her on a collision course with the Court of Appeal.

Mr Owoniko also said the charge against Tarfa was not competent because the EFCC did not seek legal advice from the Attorney General of Lagos State.

But counsel for the EFCC, Mr Gbolahan Latona, said the claim that the EFCC was abusing its prosecutorial power existed only in the imagination of the defendant.

Mr Latona said the offence with which Mr Tarfa was charged was captured in Section 38(2) of the EFCC Establishment Act, adding that Section 13(2) of the same Act also created a legal and prosecutorial unit in the EFCC to try the same offence.

He said that the EFCC Act, being a legislation of the National Assembly, must take precedent over the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State whenever there was a clash in their provisions.

The counsel for the EFCC also maintained that the offence of perversion of the course of justice fell within economic and financial crimes under Section 46 of the EFCC Act, 2004.

After listening to the parties, Justice Opesanwo adjourned ruling till April 20.

Tarfa was arraigned before Justice Opesanwo on February 16.

The EFCC accused the senior lawyer of wilfully obstructing two of its authorised operatives – Moses Awolusi and Sanusi Mohammed – from effecting the arrest of one Gnanhoue Sorou and Nazaire Modeste, “who were reasonably suspected to have committed economic and financial crimes”.

Tarfa was also accused of having an illegal telephone conversation with Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court to allegedly pervert the course of justice.

The EFCC accused him of violating Section 38(2) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and Section 97(3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No.11, 2011.

He was said to have committed the offences on February 5, 2016.

But Tarfa pleaded not guilty to both counts and was granted bail on self-recognisance.

He later filed a preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the prosecutorial power of the EFCC to file the charges against him.

Reps Mandate Committee To Investigate N1 Trillion EFCC Fund

efccThe House of Representatives has mandated its committee on financial crimes to investigate the alleged non-remittance of over one trillion naira generated from seized assets by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This followed a motion by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor, who said there is an urgent need to look into the matter.

The members also took a contrary position to that of the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mr. Abdullahi Yola, who had directed the Commission to investigate the allegation, as according to them, the Commission cannot investigate itself.

In August, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition received documents tended as evidence by the anti-graft agency, over allegations of fraudulent diversion of over N1 trillion by, Ibrahim Lamorde, the Chairman of EFCC.

EFCC Induct New Members

efcc The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde has asked the newly inducted members of the Commission to shun all acts that is capable of bringing disrepute to the war against financial crimes in the county.

According to him, EFCC is critical to the nation’s economy and as such, officers and men of the Commission must work in line with the Rule of Law.

Mr Lamorde also warned that the Commission would not deal with anyone found acting against the rules.

86 new Cadets were inducted into the commission after six months training .

Why ICPC, EFCC Should Not Be Merged

A social commentator and Managing Consultant of the Anti-Corruption Observatory group, Ivie Richards on Wednesday kicked against the Federal Government approval to merge two anti-graft agencies, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Richards, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said these agencies were established for different purposes.

He said, “The ICPC came into force via an act in June 2000. If you look at that law, it was directed primarily at the everyday occurrences and corruption issues in the public sector; things like embezzlement, clientilism, bribery, victimization and things like these.
He said the ICPC law hinders the agency from going out to seek information and from protecting informants.

“Section 27 of that law says that the ICPC must receive petition from the public before it can act. A subsection of that law also says that someone who is an illiterate for instance want to volunteer information to ICPC, a staff of the ICPC orally takes down you statement and then you have to thump print. In other words, the ICPC cannot protect informant and they cannot go seeking for information,” he said.

Mr Richards said this is different from the law setting up the EFCC.

“Section 38 and 39 of that law says that the EFCC can go seeking for information and they are not obliged to reveal their sources of information. In other words, they can protect their informant,” he said.

The Federal Government had on Monday approved the merging of the ICPC and the EFCC.

The merger of the two commissions comes as part of the government’s decision to implement the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on the rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.

The EFCC was established in 2003 to investigate financial crimes such as Advance Fee Fraud (419) and money laundering. Its establishment by the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration was seen to be an urgent response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, which had named Nigeria as one of the 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community’s efforts to fight money laundering.

The ICPC was also inaugurated by the Obasanjo administration to, among other functions, receive and investigate reports of corruption and prosecute the offender[s]; and to examine, review and enforce the correction of corruption-prone systems and procedures of public bodies with a view to eliminating corruption in public life.

Both agencies were set up by enabling laws.

Aliyu suspends three officials for misusing N46 million

The Niger state Government has announced the immediate suspension of three senior staff of the state Housing Corporation over mismanagement of N46 Million.

The Governor of Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu

The state’s Head of Service, Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, who disclosed this to Channels Television in Minna, refused to give the names of the affected persons but said the suspended officials misused N46million out of the N48million deposited by people who showed interest in some houses in the Talba housing estate, a situation that has delayed the completion of the 500 housing unit.

Mr Matane maintained that a full investigation has been ordered by the state government into the activities of the housing cooperation in a bid to fish other collaborators of the crime.

He however assures the depositors that the activities of the corrupt officials will not affect the completion of the housing estate as the state government is determine to tackle the housing need of the people headlong.