Stolen 15 Billion Naira: EFCC Witness Testifies Against Former Afribank Boss

adigwe_bankA prosecution witness, Emmanuel Al-Hassan, in the ongoing trial of a former Managing Director of the defunct Afribank Plc, Sebastian Adigwe and six others have told a Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere how the bankers plotted to cover-up over 15 billion Naira (about $93.7 million) allegedly stolen from the bank.

Al-Hassan, who led a team of investigators from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged crime, told the trial judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, on Tuesday, that the accused persons concocted various documents to mask the fact that the money was diverted to companies they had links with.

The former Afribank boss, Adigwe was arraigned alongside Osa Osunde, Jibrin Isah, Isa Zailani, Chinedu Onyia, Henry Arogundade and Peter Ololo before the court by the EFCC on a 36-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property.

Fraudulently Converted

While being cross-examined by Adigwe’s counsel, Mr Anthony Idigbe, Al-Hassan said that the stolen money was fraudulently converted to the use of AIL Securities Limited, Asset Management Nominees Holding Limited and Falcons Securities Limited allegedly belonging to the defendants.

The witness Said: “Though I am not a banker or a stockbroker, but during the course of investigation we discovered that Adigwe and other directors of the defunct bank transferred 15 billion Naira in favour of another Rehoboth Asset Limited.

“Also, during investigation, the team discovered a document showing that the money was granted as a loan facility to buy shares from another party other than from the floor of the Nigerian stock Exchange”.

Documents Contrived

Al-Hassan further informed the court that in the course of their investigation, they obtained various documents after the exits of the defendants from the bank that explained what transpired and led to 11.5 billion Naira being transferred to Spring Capital limited.

The witness stated that when the alleged stealing was committed, documents were contrived to cover-up the stealing. He explained that some of the exhibits before the court were part of the documentations made to cover up the alleged fraud.

Al-Hassan said the Managing Director of ACL told his team that she was instructed by the Adigwe to transfer the money to Spring Capital limited.

He also maintained that Afribank granted 15 billion Naira loan to AIL Securities Limited without a formal letter requesting for the facility.

Al-Hassan further alleged that another bank account was opened in Falcon Securities’ name with “zero Naira” for the purposes of transferring the 15 billion Naira credit facility.

The witness also informed the court that additional 15 billion Naira was given to Falcon Securities as loan for the purchase of stocks of blue chip companies on the floor of the NSE.

The trial has been adjourned till January 26 and 28 for continuation of cross-examination of the witness.

Constitution Amendment: Lawmakers Approve Local Government Autonomy, Independent Candidacy

house_of_representatives2Federal lawmakers in Nigeria have, in the ongoing Nigerian constitution amendment, approved autonomy for local governments and endorsed independent candidacy in elections.

The Senate at its proceedings on Tuesday approved several provisions adopted by the conference committee made up of lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Another amendment that was approved by the conference committee and endorsed by the Senate was provision for immunity of legislators in respect of verbal or written statements in the course of their legislative duties.

The inability of the Senate to form a quorum last week Wednesday stalled its consideration of the report of the conference committee on the review of the 1999 constitution.

At the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, the situation was remedied, paving way for the approval of the committee’s report.

The amendment empowered the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly to prescribe civil or criminal sanctions‎ for failure or neglect to obey summons issued to anyone by the National Assembly.

Immunity Clause Removal

The lawmakers also amended section nine by removing the need for presidential assent in constitutional amendment exercise while the amendment of sections 65 and 106 provided for independent candidacy in election, creation of the office of the Accountant General for the Federal Government, establishment of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney General of a State separate from the Minister of Justice and Commissioner of Justice.

Amendment of section 225 of the Constitution empowered the Independent National Electoral Commission to de-register political parties for breach of registration requirements and failure to win either a presidential, governorship, local government chairmanship or a seat in the National or State Assembly.

However, the conference committee rejected the removal of the immunity clause for the President, Vice President, Governors and their Deputies in the proposed new constitution.

But the the House of Representatives had, last week, approved the removal of the immunity clause for the President, Vice President, Governors and their Deputies in the amendment to the constitution.

The Senate President, David Mark, said that the the constitutional amendment process would now enter a next phase.

All eyes will now be on the State Houses of Assembly to see which of these provisions would be adopted and which will be thrown out.

Obanikoro Says Patience Will See Ceasefire Deal Through

ObanikoroNigeria’s former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has urged Nigerians to be patient with the Federal Government, as “patience is needed to see the ceasefire deal through”.

According to him, the attacks after the ceasefire deal may have been as a result of poor communications amongst the insurgent group.

He is optimistic that the situation will get better in the coming days.

Restocking Armoury

On the controversy surrounding the seizure of moneys said to be for the purchase of arms and ammunition for the Nigerian military by South African authorities, he insisted that “South Africa must apologise to Nigeria”.

He said that South Africa failed Nigeria when Nigeria needed it’s help most.

The former minister said that Nigeria was in dire need of restocking its armoury in its fight against the insurgents. “Rather than aid Nigeria, they choose to embarrass the country”.

Two days after the ceasefire deal between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Boko Haram terrorist group, towns in Borno State were attacked, a development that is considered as a breach to the deal.

On Sunday, security agents repelled a planned attack on Damboa, south of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, killing at least 30 insurgents.

Residents said “Boko Haram attacked the town again despite the ceasefire deal but the attack was repelled by soldiers killing 30 of them”.

The residents also said “30 of the insurgents were killed during the attack” and commended the military troops for their gallantry and for not allowing the sect members to enter the town.

A security source, who requested not to be mentioned, told Channels Television that Boko Haram returned to Abadam, on Sunday, two days after killing eight people after the ceasefire agreement.

“The insurgents returned to the town again which currently has been deserted. Only the old people as well as the sick that are still in the town.

“They have taken over the town now and have comfortably camped outskirts of the town,” the source claimed.

Court frees suspected killers of Guardian Editor, Bayo Ohu

A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Friday discharged and acquitted three persons charged for conspiracy and the murder of Bayo Ohu, a political reporter and the Assistant News Editor of the Guardian Newspapers, murdered three years ago in Lagos.

The murdered political reporter and the Assistant News Editor of the Guardian Newspapers, Bayo Ohu.

The Lagos State government had accused the three men of conspiracy and the murder of Ohu.

The accused are Dada Yemi Adesanya, Ganiu Sulemon and Idris Balogun.

The Lagos State government which prosecuted the case had alleged that on the 20th of September 2009 at NO 9 Oyeniji Street, in Odukoya estate, Akowonjo Egbeda area in the Ikeja judicial division, the three men armed with offensive weapons robbed Ohu of one laptop computer and two mobile telephone sets.

The men were also alleged to have murdered Ohu in the process of robbing him of his belongings.

Ruling on a no case submission filed by the defence counsel, Yemi Omodele, the presiding judge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu held that the prosecution failed to prove its case against the men beyond reasonable doubt.

The court stated that no evidence whatsoever was placed before the court to show that the defendants were at the scene of the alleged crime.

Justice Okunu observed that none of the police officers listed before the court as witnesses came to testify saying “they abandoned the case and did not turn up”.

The court further held that there was no correlation in the evidence of the first prosecution witness, Kashi Taiwo and that of Bode Adetola, the 2nd prosecution witness, to show that the defendants were the persons that killed Ohu.

What the prosecution had against the accused person according to the court was at best ‘mere suspicion which goes to no issue’.

The court subsequently discharged the accused persons.

Ohu was shot and killed at his home in Lagos, on the morning of Sunday, September 20, 2009. Five assailants were believed to have attacked Ohu, stealing his laptop and cell phone.

Former Inspector General of Police Ogbonna Onovo had in January of 2010 announced the arrested of three men suspected to be involved in the murder of Ohu, including the suspect that pulled the trigger that killed the journalist.

The police authority who were pursuing a case of robbery as against the speculations of assassination had said that Ohu’s laptop and phones were recovered from the persons that bought them from the robbers adding that it was from them that the robbery suspects were traced and arrested.