P&ID Bribed Officials To Secure Contract – FG

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

 

 

The Federal Government has told a British Court that it has uncovered previously unknown payments to the daughter of a Nigerian official in its latest attempt to overturn an arbitration award against it, worth close to $10 billion.

Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID), a firm set up to carry out a gas project in Nigeria, won a $6.6 billion arbitration award after the 2010 deal collapsed.

The award has been accruing interest since 2013 and is now worth nearly $10 billion but Nigeria is seeking permission in the English courts to appeal the award, granted in 2017, despite having missed the 28-day appeal deadline.

It says new information came to light only in late 2019.

In an online court hearing, the government’s lawyer said it has evidence of payments from companies related to P&ID to Vera Taiga, 11 days before the deal was signed.

Vera’s mother, Grace Taiga, was the chief lawyer for the Petroleum Ministry at the time.

The government said one payment of $4,969.50 was made on December 30, 2009, and a second of $5,000 on January 31, 2012.

It also says the payments came to light following a U.S. discovery order in New York.

The government also said P&ID officials and companies linked to it paid several other officials in relation to the deal.

The EFCC had charged Grace Taiga last year with accepting bribes and failing to follow protocol related to the contract.

She has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.

Alleged N2.2bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Fayose’s Trial To October 20

Fayose Won’t Be Intimidate, Ready To Defend Himself In Court – Aide
(FILE PHOTO) Former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, at the EFCC office in Abuja on October 16, 2018.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned the trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose to October 20.

Fayose was present in court on Monday but the case failed to go on.

The court adjourned the case at the instance of the Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs who told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke that the prosecution witness who was supposed to testify was not available.

The lawyer said that that the witness had informed him that “one of his family members was being quarantined in the Isolation centre.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Politicians Playing Games With Kogi People, Says Bello

The Counsel subsequently asked the court for an adjournment.

Counsel to the former governor, Olalekan Ojo, did not oppose the request for an adjournment.

Justice Aneke then adjourned the case to October 20 for the continuation of the trial.

At the last sitting of the court on March 5, 2020, the EFCC had called its fifth witness in the N2.2bn fraud trial of the former governor.

The witness, a banker, Johnson Abidakun, who worked as Head of Operations at the Ado Ekiti Branch of Zenith Bank told Justice Aneke how the bank moved the sum of N200m from Fayose’s home sometime in April 2016.

FBI Seeks Help To Arrest Six Nigerians Over N2.4bn Internet Fraud

A photo combination of six Nigerians indicted by the United States' FBI for wire fraud
A photo combination of six Nigerians indicted by the United States’ FBI for wire fraud

 

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) on Saturday said it was seeking assistance in finding six Nigerians wanted for their involvement in fraudulent activities worth over N2.3bn ($6m).

“Help the #FBI find ​six Nigerian nationals wanted for their involvement in ​business​ email ​compromise (BEC) schemes resulting in over $6 ​million in losses,” the US agency said on its verified Twitter handle.

 

The FBI-indicted Nigerians include Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Felix Osilama Okpoh, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, and Nnamdi Orson Benson.

The FBI said all six are “believed to currently reside in Nigeria.

According to the FBI, the six were part of an operation that “allegedly sent spoofed emails to thousands of businesses in the United States requesting fraudulent wire transfers.”

[ICYMI] Instagram Celebrity, Huspuppi Allegedly Nabbed For Fraud

 

Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Raymond Igbalodely, popularly known as Hushpuppi has allegedly been arrested over allegations of fraud.

He was reportedly arrested by interpol in the early hours of Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates, after being nabbed for allegedly diverting coronavirus aid funds to the tune of $35 million.

Hushpuppi

 

The Dubai-based Nigerian is famous for posting over the top luxury on social media, as well as posing next to helicopters and supercars.

Last year, he changed his Instagram profile from the famous ‘Billionaire Gucci Master’ to ‘Real Estate Developer’, following the arrest of fellow Instagram and Dubai-based big boy, Mompha, by anti-graft officials.

Read Also: EFCC Arrests Instagram Celebrity Mompha With Wristwatches Worth N20m

Prior to Hushpuppi’s arrest, himself and his alleged fraud syndicate were said to have been on the radar of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), for some time now.

While there is yet to be any concrete confirmation of his arrest, it quickly became a hot topic across social media as Nigerians debate over the matter.

Many have also continued to wonder about the real source of Hushpuppi’s wealth.

FG Confiscates Dan Etete’s $57million Jet In Canada

File photos of Dan Etete

 

The investigation into allegations of corruption and money laundering against Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete has taken a new turn with the tracking and grounding of a private jet which was traced to the former minister.

The jet is believed to have been purchased for 57 million dollars in 2011 as part of the alleged proceeds of the $1.3 billion oil deal in which the prospecting rights to the opl 245 block was awarded to a company, Malabu Oil and Gas, which he secretly controlled.

Asset recovery lawyers acting for the Federal Government swooped after the bombardier 6,000 jet touched down at Montréal-Trudeau International airport in Canada.

The seizure was confirmed to Channels TV’s London correspondent on Saturday by Babatunde Olabode Johnson, one of the lawyers involved in Nigeria’s asset recovery cases.

The order for the seizure according to Mr. Johnson was served on the jet’s owner, a company called Tibit Limited, which has until June 9, to file court papers opposing the seizure.

Lagos Confiscates Houses Used For Fraud

A file photo of Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
A file photo of Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

 

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it has confiscated two houses discovered to be used in defrauding residents in the state.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson Awoyinka, revealed this at a press briefing to commemorate the first year of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration in the state

She said the government has resolved to take strong measures to stop developers or agents from defrauding members of the public and therefore anyone caught in the act would be prosecuted.

Benson, who is also in charge of the Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Department (LASRETRAD), said her office is currently prosecuting a developer who duped members of the public in the Ketu area, and also another developer who defrauded people in the Mafoluku area.

She said the government has also seized their properties and her office is working on how to sell the properties. According to her, the proceeds from the sale would be used to settle the defrauded members of the public.

She, however, appealed to members of the public to always patronize agents and developers who are registered with her agency.

Awoyinka said: “We have successfully reviewed the Lagos State Estate Agency Regulatory Law, Cap L28, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 (“Law”) presently in operation in the state, which provides for the establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority.

“The essence of this Law is to regulate real estate transactions in Lagos State by identifying persons eligible to be licensed as Real Estate Practitioners and providing for the issuance or renewal of annual permits.”

She pointed out that the authority has the responsibility to maintain a register of Licensed Real Estate Practitioners and the sanctioning of unlicensed Estate Agents in the state.

“There is a need to sanitize Real Estate transactions in Lagos State. In achieving this, the state must have a data-base of persons dealing in Real Estate Transactions for it to control their activities.

“Thus, the state must amend the Law to reflect its efforts in monitoring the transactions of real estate in a way that is proactive so as to protect its citizens and rid the State of fraudsters,” she added.

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.