EFCC Arraigns Oyo Permanent Secretary Over Alleged N4.4m Scam

Rasaq Kolawole

 

The Ibadan zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arraigned a director who had served in acting capacity as Permanent Secretary, in the Oyo State Ministry of Agric and Natural Resources, Alhaji Rasaq Kolawole, for allegedly defrauding one Ibikunle Alonge of N4,400.000 (Four Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira).

Kolawole was arraigned before Justice Aderonke Aderemi of the Oyo State High Court on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, on one count of obtaining money under false pretence.

The offence is against Section 1 (2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

The victim of his alleged crime had written a petition to the EFCC in which he accused the top public servant of fraudulently collecting the sum from him as part payment for a piece of land situated at Alabata Olosoko area of Moniya, Ibadan.

He further alleged that it was after making the payment that he got to know that the land actually belonged to one Mrs. Ali (now deceased ), adding that all efforts to get a refund thereafter were unsuccessful.

The charge read: “That you, Alhaji Kolawole Rasaq on or about the 2nd of October, 2018, at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division of this honourable court with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N4,400,000 (Four Million and Four Hundred Thousand Naira only) from one Alonge Ibikunle through Pastor Adeyemi Fabayo by falsely pretending that it was part payment of the cost price of eleven and half plots of land situated, lying and being at Alabata Olokoso area, via Moniya area, Ibadan which you purported to have sold to him.

Kolawole, however, pleaded not-guilty to the charge.

In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Dr. Ben Ubi, prayed the court for a date for the commencement of trial.

Thereafter, Justice Aderemi admitted the defendant to bail on self-recognizance and adjourned the matter to June 24 and 25, 2020 for trial.

EFCC Arraigns Ex-Minister Turaki, Others Over Alleged Fraud

In this picture, Mr Tanimu Turaki is seated in one of the courtrooms at the Federal High Court in Abuja on May 4, 2020. The former minister is being arraigned by the EFCC over allegations of fraud.

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Tanimu Turaki.

Turaki, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was arraigned on Monday alongside one other person and two companies over allegations of multi-million naira fraud.

Those arraigned along with the former minister are Sampson Okpetu, who served as Turaki’s special assistant, as well as Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited which allegedly belong to Okpetu.

The defendants were brought before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the nation’s capital on 16 counts filed against them by the EFCC.

Turaki was the Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs from 2013 to 2015.

He also served as the Supervising Minister of Labour from 2014 to 2015.

COVID-19: CBN Warns Nigerians Against Cyber Criminals, Fraudsters

A file photo of CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised an alarm regarding cyber-criminals taking advantage of the current COVID-19 pandemic to defraud citizens, steal sensitive information, and gain unauthorized access to computers or mobile devices using various techniques.

In a statement issued on Monday by the Director of Corporate Communication, Isaac Okorafor, the Apex bank warned the general public to be on the alert, and urged bank customers not to fall victim to their schemes.

READ ALSO: Lockdown Violation: Naira Marley In Police Custody Over Funke Akindele’s Party

Below is full statement by the CBN regarding the growing concerns.

Central Bank of Nigeria

Press Release

Alert! Beware of COVID-19 Cyber-attacks, Fraud

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) wishes to alert the general public that cyber-criminals are taking advantage of the current “COVID-19” pandemic to defraud citizens, steal sensitive information, or gain unauthorized access to computers or mobile devices using various techniques.

This trend is not peculiar to Nigeria as there has been a rise in COVID-19-related cybercriminal activities all over the world. Our priority is to ensure that Nigerian banking customers are aware of the ongoing trend to prevent them from falling victim to such cybercrimes.

Some of the cyber-criminal activities using the COVID-19 pandemic are outlined below:

Phishing campaigns: cyber-criminals send out emails claiming to be from health organizations such as the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

The email may contain a link which, if clicked, steals login credentials or other confidential information from the victim’s computer or mobile device.

Relief Packages: Cyber-criminals have also been sending messages via social media or emails asking people to click on links to register in order to get their COVID-19 relief packages from the Government or other organisations.

They simply use this to get confidential information from unwary victims. Relief package scams also come in the form of phone calls asking people to provide their banking details to receive relief packages.

A sample is as seen below:

Impersonation: Cyber-criminals place calls to individuals claiming to be staff of their banks and asking them to get mobile apps that would help them get through this pandemic period.

Such mobile apps are however used to steal information from the victims’ mobile phones among other things. Criminals have also produced COVID-19 maps, which steal information in the background.

To ensure that bank customers and citizens do not fall victim to these cyber-crimes, please observe the following precautions:

i. Beware of and verify emails or phone calls claiming to be from NCDC, WHO or
Government, especially when such emails request your banking information or to click on a link. Visit official websites of relevant organizations for desired information;

ii. Avoid clicking on links or attachments in emails that claim to have more information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic;

iii. Avoid downloading mobile apps from untrusted sources; and
iv. Obtain relief package or other information from trusted news media.

While we work to keep safe physically and prevent further spread of the virus, members of the public should endeavour to apply caution in order to beat not just the COVID-19 Virus but also the cyber-criminals seeking to take advantage of its spread for nefarious acts.

The Central Bank of Nigeria will continue to monitor and investigate these activities and provide updates as they occur.

Isaac Okorafor
Director, Corporate Communications

 

Alleged N450m Fraud: Court Fixes March 12 To Rule On Belgore’s Electronic Evidence

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

 

The Federal High Court sitting Lagos has fixed March 12, 2020, to rule on the admissibility of the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) footage and its Certificate of Identification sought to be tendered in evidence by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore.

Mr Belgore is standing trial alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, on five counts of conspiracy and possession of proceeds of crime to the tune of N450million.

The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleged that the defendants laundered the money in the build-up to the 2015 General Elections.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the N450m was part of a larger sum of $115.01m, which a former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, allegedly doled out to influence the outcome of the 2015 General Elections.

The EFCC also alleged that the defendants handled the huge sum without going through any financial institution, contrary to the provisions of the money laundering (prohibition) act.

At the proceedings today (Wednesday), Ebun Sofunde (SAN), counsel to the first defendant Belgore, sought the leave of the court to recall him (Belgore) into the witness box.

Sofunde asked Belgore to confirm the subpoena served on Yinka Omar, branch manager, fidelity branch, Ilorin, Kwara, asking him to produce the CCTV footage of the events that took place in the bank when the money was collected and its certificate of identification, which he did.

Belgore also said that after the documents were produced before the court, he viewed part of the footage, adding that he was aware that some people in his legal team had also seen the footage.

Shofunde, thereafter, sought to tender the CCTV footage contained in a flash drive and the certificate of identification attached to it.

Counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, however, objected to the tendering of the documents on the grounds that the defendant was not the maker, so he could not give direct oral evidence or be cross-examined on it.

“In view of the fact that the device and certificate of identification were not made by the defendant; and the fact that he was not privy to the making, direct oral evidence will not be admissible, according to section 84 of the evidence act,” Oyedepo said.

He further argued that “the defence did not apply to tender the document in their subpoena, but to only produce it; hence, the admissibility of the document is to be determined by the court.”

Oyedepo, therefore, urged the court to reject the documents.

Sofunde, countered by submitting that the defendant was not giving direct evidence but only identifying the documents before him.

The defence counsel also argued that Section 84 does not say that documents cannot be tendered without the maker, but only stipulates what needs to be done for a document to be tendered in evidence.

After listening to both parties, Justice Aikawa adjourned the case till March 12 to rule.

EFCC Arrests 42 Suspected Internet Fraudsters In Ogun

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested 42 persons for alleged involvement in internet-related fraud.

The suspects were arrested in Ilaro area of Ogun State by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the anti-graft agency.

According to the commission, the suspects whose ages range between 18 and 33 years, were apprehended at different locations of the state.

Their arrest follows actionable intelligence earlier received by the commission on their alleged illegal activities.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Three Suspected Kidnappers In Cross River

Items recovered from them include eight exotic cars, mobile phones and laptops.

See photos below:

Alleged Fraud: Iwu’s Case Remains In Lagos, Court Insists

A photo combination of Professor Maurice Iwu and a logo of the EFCC.

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed an application filed by a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Maurice Iwu, seeking the transfer of his N1.23bn fraud trial from Lagos to Abuja.

In his ruling on Friday, Justice Nicholas Oweibo dismissed the application for transfer, stressing that it lacked merit.

The judge subsequently adjourned the case till April 28 for trial.

Justice Oweibo said a look at the list of witnesses submitted by the anti-graft agency showed that most of the witnesses were in Lagos, with some retired, hence “justice will be better served for the trial to proceed in Lagos.”

At the last court proceedings, Counsel to the former INEC boss, Ahmed Raji (SAN) told Justice Oweibo that the transfer is necessary so as not to subject the defendant to great hardship.

READ ALSO: Two Out Of Three Suspected Coronavirus Cases Are Negative, Says Health Minister

He said that Iwu resides in Abuja but always travels to Lagos whenever the case is coming up.

“My Lord, this defendant is over 70 years of age, and he always travels down to Lagos whenever the case is coming up.

“Then he books a hotel. It will amount to great agony for him to continue with this trial in Lagos,” he said.

The senior lawyer also submitted that since the transaction which led to this charge was done in Abuja, the case should be heard in the nation’s capital.

On his part, EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court to refuse the application because all the witnesses listed in the proof of evidence including the bank officials reside in Lagos and Ibadan. He also argued that it was the Lagos Zonal office of the anti-graft agency that investigated the case.

Oyedepo submitted that the offence for which the defendant was charged touched on the economic well-being of Nigeria, such offences can be tried anywhere in Nigeria.

The EFCC prosecution then cited the provision of Section 98 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which states that only the Chief Judge of the Court  has the power to transfer any matter.

EFCC Arraigns Two For Alleged N11million Fraud

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Makurdi Zonal Office today, February 18, 2020, arraigned one Joseph Kyumeh and Augustine Ada Omaji before Justice M. A. Ikpambese of the Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi, on a 7-count charge bordering on Criminal Conspiracy, Forgery, Money Laundering, Abuse of Office and Theft to the tune of N11,000,000 (Eleven Million Naira).

One of the count reads: “That you, Joseph Kyumeh and Augustine Ada Omaji sometime in March 2019, in Makurdi within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court agreed to dishonestly and fraudulently make and sign a report of internal auditor on the account of Nigerian Union of pensioners, Benue State Branch for the period between 30th December 2013 and 31st December 2017, with the intention of causing it to be believed that the report was made by Auditors for Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Benue State Chapter Makurdi and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 of the Penal Code (CAP) 124 Law of Benue State, and punishable under section 97 of the same Law”.

READ ALSO: FULL VIDEO: I Strongly Believe Coronavirus Is Caused By Corruption – Magu

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Based on their plea, prosecuting counsel, Mary Onoja, requested a trial date and asked the court to remand them at the Correctional Centre.

However, counsel to defendants, E. I. Laren urged the court to grant them bail on most liberal terms.

Justice Ikpambese granted bail to each defendant in the sum of One Million Naira with one surety in like sum. The surety must be resident and have a landed property within the jurisdiction of the Court and must show evidence of such. Or a civil servant not below GL 12 and they must deposit one passport photograph with the Court.

The accused persons were remanded in Correctional Centre pending the perfection of their bail condition, and the case was adjourned till March 24, 2020, for hearing.

Trouble started for Kyumeh who was a chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Benue State Chapter and other executive members when the EFCC received a petition signed on behalf of the concerned pensioners of Benue State alleging that the finances of the NUP have not been audited and the demand for accountability that was sent to the suspects had been ignored.

They alleged that since May 2013, the suspects continued to spend the Union’s fund without any form of accountability for the check-off dues collected for over five years which had run into millions of naira. The petitioner alleged that the accused had defrauded the Union to the tune of N11,000,000.00 (Eleven Million Naira).

EFCC Arraigns Ex-House Committee Chairman Over Alleged N320m Fraud

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nicholas Ebomo.

Ebomo was arraigned along with three others on Monday before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged abuse of office.

The other defendants are Airworld Technologies LTD, Oyien Homes LTD, and one Blessing Mutu who is said to be at large.

Mutu is being prosecuted on 11 counts of alleged financial crimes.

When the charge was read to the former lawmaker, he pleaded not guilty to the financial crimes.

Upon taking his plea, lawyer to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, requested for a trial date and asked the court to remand the defendant in a correctional facility.

But Mutu’s lawyer, P. Nikwueto, told the court that his client was ready for the trial and if the prosecution was not ready, he would apply for bail.

In his response, Iheanacho opposed the application for the bail of the defendant.

He said, “My lord, we cannot take the risk we took in 2018 when we granted him bail. He was released in the name of one Anthony John Ikpoyi.

“From that day till date, the defendant dishonoured the terms and conditions of bail and never showed up to EFCC office. My lord, so many efforts were made, including arresting the sureties, yet he refused to show up.”

Ruling on the bail application, Justice Ogunbanjo granted temporary freedom to Mutu, saying she took judicial notice of the administrative bail which the EFCC earlier granted to the lawmaker.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the case until February 25, March 4 and 5, April 22 and 28, as well as May 5 and 6 for trial.

One of the charges read, “That you, Honourable Nicholas Mutu Ebomo (M) whilst being the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission between August 2014 and August 2016 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did procure Airworld Technologies Ltd to conceal of the sum of N320,159, 689.63 (Three hundred and twenty million, one hundred and fifty-nine thousand, six hundred and eighty-nine naira, sixty-three kobo) to be paid by Starline Consultancy Services Ltd when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum of N320, 159, 689.63 formed part of proceeds of corruption, gratification and fraudulent acquisition of property and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(c) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended by Act No. 1 of (2012) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”

‘Africa’s Richest Woman’ Charged With Fraud

In this file photo taken on March 5, 2015 Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos attends an art exhibition in Porto, northern Portugal. FERNANDO VELUDO / PUBLICO / AFP
In this file photo taken on March 5, 2015 Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos attends an art exhibition in Porto, northern Portugal. FERNANDO VELUDO / PUBLICO / AFP

 

Angola’s billionaire former first daughter Isabel dos Santos has been charged with money laundering and mismanagement during her stewardship of state-owned oil firm Sonangol.

Documents leaked this week alleged the daughter of ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, dubbed Africa’s richest woman, plundered state coffers to build her fortune, estimated at $2.1 billion (1.82 billion euros).

“Isabel dos Santos is accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol and is thus charged in the first instance with the crimes of money laundering, influence peddling, harmful management … forgery of documents, among other economic crimes,” prosecutor general Helder Pitta Gros told a news conference late Wednesday.

Investigations into Isabel dos Santos’s 18-month tenure as Sonangol head from June 2016 were opened after her successor Carlos Saturnino raised the alarm about “irregular money transfers” and other dodgy procedures.

Isabel dos Santos is accused of using her father’s backing to plunder state funds from the oil-rich but poor southern African country and moving the money abroad with the help of Western firms.

She stopped living in Angola after her father, who ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly 40 years, stepped down in 2017 for his anointed successor Joao Lourenco.

Gros said dos Santos was among five suspects, all of whom were currently residing abroad.

“At the moment, the concern is to notify and get them to voluntarily come to justice,” said Gros.

 

AFP

N7.65bn Fraud: Court Rejects Orji Kalu’s Post-Conviction Bail

A file photo of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos has refused to grant a former governor of Abia State, Uzor Orji Kalu, a post-conviction bail.

Justice Mohammed Liman, however, ordered that the former governor be remanded in prison until his appeal has been heard.

Ruling on Mr Kalu’s application on Monday, the judge wondered the motion for bail was filed speedily when the appeal against his conviction has not been heard.

The former governor had, through his counsel, filed an application for post-conviction bail pending his appeal against his jail sentence based on health grounds which he said the medical facilities in the prison could not handle.

He also informed the court of his role as the Chief Whip of the Senate that the interests of his constituents would be in jeopardy if he was kept behind bars.

But the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) opposed the bail on grounds that bail was for accused persons on the presumption of innocence.

The anti-corruption agency argued that since Kalu had been convicted, he could no longer enjoy such a privilege.

The court had on December 5 jailed Mr Kalu for 12 years after finding him guilty of fraud to the tune of N7.56 billion.

The assets of Slok Nigeria Limited, Kalu’s company, were also forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Similarly, the former governor’s aide and erstwhile Director of Finance in the Abia State House of Assembly was also sentenced in an amended 39-count, the EFCC had charged them with.

Court Orders Arrest of Diezani, Convicts Two INEC Staff Over N362m Bribe

EFCC Seeks Diezani’s Extradition, Court Adjourns Arraignment Till May
(File) Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

The Adamawa State High Court sitting in Yola has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, to liaise with the International Police Organization, INTERPOL, to arrest a former Minister Of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The former minister is among three defendants charged before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three counts for allegedly deploying over N362million derived from a $115m slush fund to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections in favour of the candidate of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The other defendants are Ibrahim Mohammed, the electoral officer in charge of Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State and Sahabo Iya-Hamman, a retired INEC staff and Adamawa State coordinator of West African Network of Election Observers (WANEO), during the 2015 presidential election.

Count two of the charge read, “That you, Ibrahim Mohammed Umar, Sahabo Iya Hamman and Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (now at large) sometime between March and May, 2015 at Yola, Adamawa State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, while being a public officer working with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and retired public servant and former Minister of Petroleum Resources (now at large) and in capacities, did corruptly procured monetary benefit of Three Hundred and Sixty-Two Million Naira, (N362,000,000.00) in favour of public officers and staff working with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Adamawa State, contrary to and punishable under Section 9 (1) (a) & (b) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act,  2000.”

The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Thereafter, Justice Nathan Musa granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N10m each and two sureties in like sum.

Read Also: Two INEC Staff Bag 21 Years Each For Collecting Bribe

After more than two years of trial in which the prosecution called several witnesses and tendered documents that were admitted in evidence, the Judge convicted Ibrahim Mohammed and Sahabo Iya-Hamman, to seven years imprisonment on each of the three counts for receiving a bribe of N362 million from the former Minister of Petroleum.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

In convicting the defendants, the Judge held that he was satisfied by the testimonies of the 15 witnesses who appeared before the court and other material evidence tendered by the prosecution.

He observed that though N362 million was received by the officials, they only shared five per cent of the money to other staff of the commission and could not account for the balance.

Court Finds Orji Uzor Kalu Guilty Of N7.65bn Fraud

A file photo of Senator Orji Kalu.

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has found the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, and two others guilty of N7.65billion fraud.

Mr Kalu’s co-defendants are his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Mr Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure as governor.

In an amended 39 counts, the EFCC accused them of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.

In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Mr Kalu, who was Abia State Governor between 1999 and 2007, procured Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by him and members of his family – to retain its account, domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7

The prosecution claimed that the sum N7.1bn formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government and therefore violating Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, liable to be punished under Section 16 of the same Act.

Apart from the N7.1bn, the ex-governor and the other defendants were also accused of receiving a total of N460million allegedly stolen from the Abia State Government treasury between July and December 2002.

The prosecution called 19 witnesses.

Justice Mohammed Idris thereafter sentenced Kalu to 12 years imprisonment.