Buhari Signs Money Laundering, Terrorism Bills Into Law

President Buhari signs Anti-Money Laundering Bills into Law in State House on May 12, 2022.
President Buhari signs Anti-Money Laundering Bills into Law in State House on May 12, 2022.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja signed into law, three bills aimed at improving the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing/proliferation financing framework in Nigeria.

The bills are: the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022.

Speaking at a signing ceremony at the Council Chamber, State House, the President described the bills as being in tandem with this administration’s commitment to fight corruption and illicit financing activities, as well as critical to the governance agenda and the development of Nigeria, a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina said.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s May 29 Handover Date Is Sacrosanct, Presidency Replies Clarke

“The new laws have provided enough punitive measures and containment strategies against abuses and compromises,” he said, noting that the inadequacy of all the repealed Acts had impacted legal actions against offender.

“We will not rest until we rid the nation of the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes,” he added.

President Buhari commended the National Assembly for their tenacity, courage and commitment in ensuring that Nigeria has put in place effective measures to address the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and terrorism financing.

The President noted that the 9th National Assembly has proven to be patriotic, responsive, resourceful and industrious in its legislative assignments, recalling that on 14th January, 2022, he had sought expeditious passage of the said Bills.

He lauded the Assembly under Senate President Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and their colleagues for responding to his request, saying they “have certainly carved out a worthy legacy for themselves.”

On the importance of the legislations, the President said: “The signing of these Bills into law today not only strengthens the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework in the Country, but addresses the deficiencies identified in Nigeria’s 2nd round of Mutual Evaluation as assessed by Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa on compliance with the Financial Action Task Force global standards.

“Accordingly, the repeal of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and enactment of Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 provides comprehensive legal and Institutional Framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria and confers on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the legal status of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering.

“The repeal of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013, and enactment of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 provides for the effective implementation of international instruments on the prevention and combating of terrorism and suppression of the financing of terrorism.

“The enactment of the Proceeds of Crime (recovery and Management) Act, 2022 makes comprehensive provisions for the seizure, confiscation, forfeiture and management of properties derived from unlawful activity.”

President Buhari told the ceremony attended by the Senate President and other Senators, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Heads of anti-corruption agencies, including ICPC and EFCC, that the executive arm of government “carefully avoided creating another asset recovery and management agency with its cost implications in deference to government’s sensitivity to the rising cost of governance.”

He explained that the new law mandates the creation of dedicated accounts for the proceeds of crime and other confiscated assets in order to enhance the accountability of the process: “I have therefore taken time to note the emphasis placed on collaboration, synergy and unification of strategies and measures to combat the scourge of Money Laundering and terrorism financing and proliferation financing in the Act.

“The primary objectives of these measures are to ensure effective, unified and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the implementation of the Acts.

“This is profound and calls for coordinated responses to the challenges posed by the menace. I therefore charge all relevant agencies to ensure effective implementation of these new laws.

“The robust frameworks diligently enshrined in the Acts can only serve useful purposes when every bit of them is enforced.”

Stressing that the fight against corruption requires an “All of Government, All of Nation approach’’, the President affirmed that every Nigerian had a role to play to rid the country of corrupt practices.

He commended the members of the National Action Task Force comprising several Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, noting that the bills are a clear demonstration of government functioning at its best with coordination, collaboration, and execution all towards a common goal.

The President assured Nigerians that his administration will continue to do its best to secure the nation, adding that the bills signed into law represent not just legislative instruments but very significant governmental actions projecting courage, determination, and sincerity in tackling the menace of Money laundering, terrorism and other financial crimes.

Court Clears Ex-NNPC GMD Andrew Yakubu Of $9.8m Money Laundering Charge

Alleged Money Laundering: Ex-NNPC Boss Yakubu To Know Fate In March
A file photo of former NNPC GMD, Mr Andrew Yakubu.

 

Justice Ahmed Mohamed of the Federal High Court in Abuja has discharged and acquitted a former Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, on charges of money laundering.

Mister Yakubu, is facing an alleged $9.8m money laundering charge.

Delivering Judgement, the trial Judge said the prosecution EFCC had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to result in the conviction of the former NNPC boss.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, in 2017, found $9,772, 800, and £74, 000 in a safe at his Kaduna residence after a raid.

Justice Mohammed also ordered the refund of the said money lodged in the coffers of the CBN to be returned forthwith.

EFCC Arrests Suspect On FBI Wanted-List In Enugu

Emmanuel Dike Chidiebere,

 

The Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested Emmanuel Dike Chidiebere, a suspect on the watch list of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

Acting on verified intelligence, operatives of the Commission on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, tracked the suspect to Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State where he was arrested.

Chidiebere is alleged to have defrauded some victims in America, Cote D’Ivoire and Poland of some undisclosed amount of money and went underground.

Three of his accomplices are still at large.

Read Also: [VIDEO] Survivors Of Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack Narrate How They Were Shot At

The suspect’s arrest comes few weeks after the EFCC apprehended two other individuals on the FBI’s wanted-list.

Osondu Igwilo and Kelechi Vitalis Anozie, were apprehended in Lagos and Enugu respectively, they had been on the watchlist of the FBI for a few years now.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, revealed that fifty-two-year-old Igwilo, who is the alleged leader of a criminal network of ‘catchers’, was arrested at a studio in the Sangotedo area of Lagos for alleged fraud, money laundering, and identity theft to the tune of about $100 million.

“Before their arrest, Igwilo and his accomplices had allegedly been involved in an advance-fee scheme that involved false promises of investment funding by individuals who impersonated some United States of America (USA) bank officials in person and via the internet,” Uwujaren said in the statement.

“Investigation revealed that those who fell victims of the suspects’ criminal activities were asked to make certain payments before they could receive their funding.

“It was also revealed that proceeds of the scheme were allegedly laundered through U.S. bank accounts and diverted back to the alleged perpetrators in Nigeria.”

Igwilo, the EFCC spokesman stated, was consequently placed on the FBI watchlist following a criminal complaint filed against him at the U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas in December 2016.

He added that the anti-graft agency’s operatives recovered five houses located in choice areas of Lagos from Igwilo following the arrest.

In Anozie’s case, the EFCC disclosed that suspected fraudster has been wanted since 2019.

Uwujaren said operatives arrested Anozie on the 10th of March, following an investigative trail of activities not unconnected to fraud and illegal money laundering.

Anozie, who is a self-professed clergyman and four other suspects: Valentine Iro, Ekene Ekechukwu (alias Ogedi Power), Bright Azubuike (alias Bright Bauer Azubuike), and Ifeanyi Junior, is alleged to have defrauded one F.F, who lives in Illinois, United States, the sum of $135,800 and another $47,000.

The suspect, who is the founder of a church called Praying City Church in Owerri, Imo State, was first placed on a watch list in 2019 when the FBI announced charges against 80 people, most of them Nigerians, in a wide-ranging fraud and money laundering operation that netted millions of dollars from victims of internet con jobs.

N2.9bn Corruption Charges: Court Threatens To Strike Out FG’s Case Against Okorocha

A file photo of former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

 

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has threatened to strike out a N2.9 billion money laundering criminal charge brought against Senator Rochas Okorocha by the Federal Government.

The judge threatened to throw out the charge on Monday, following the inability of the Federal Government to serve the charges on Okorocha as required by law.

For the second time, the Federal Government, through its counsel, Mr Cosmos Ugwu, told the court that he has not been able to see Okorocha and serve him with the charges.

Read Also: Court Orders Interim Seizure Of Okorocha’s Abuja Property

He subsequently applied for another adjournment to enable him serve the court papers on Mr Okorocha.

In a short ruling, the judge granted the request for the second adjournment and warned the government’s lawyer to demonstrate seriousness or else, the case would be struck out.

Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed May 30 to serve the Senator.

In February, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had ordered the interim forfeiture of a property at Plot 1032 & 1033 Cadastral Zone AO3, Takum Close, Off Michika Street, Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki Abuja, belonging to the former Imo governor.

According to a statement by the spokesperson to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, the seizure was based on a reasonable suspicion that the property was acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.

Alleged N29bn Fraud: Nyako, Son Lose Bid To Stop Charges At Appeal Court

 

Former Adamawa State Governor, Vice Admiral Muritala Nyako and his son, Abdulaziz Nyako have lost their bid to stop the N29billion money laundering charges brought against them by the Federal Government.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed their appeal seeking to terminate the fraud case against them on the grounds that the exhibits and evidence provided by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did not link them with the commission of the alleged offences.

In a unanimous judgment of a 3-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal, the former Adamawa Governor and his son were ordered to go and defend themselves in the N29billion fraud against them.

Read Also: ‘Pyramids of Lies,’ PDP Reacts To Buhari’s Rice Unveiling In Abuja

Justice Olabisi Ige who read on behalf of the panel held that both oral and documentary evidence tendered against them by the EFCC effectively and sufficiently linked them with the alleged fraud.

The appellate court said the appeal of the former governor and his son were devoid of merit, liable for dismissal and were consequently dismissed.

The court ordered them to return to the Federal High court in Abuja and prove their innocence in the 37 counts criminal charges against them.

The EFCC had instituted 37-count criminal charges against Nyako and his son at the federal high court in Abuja bothering on alleged fraud that ran into N29billion.

Court Sentences Maina To Eight Years Imprisonment

A Federal High Court in Abuja has sentenced Abdulrasheed Maina, the former chairman of the now-defunct Pension Reformed Task Team to eight years imprisonment.

Maina was convicted after he was found guilty of money laundering.

In a judgement delivered on Monday by Justice Okon Abang, the court held that the prosecutor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has produced essential evidence through witnesses to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Maina is guilty of money laundering in the sum of N171,099,000.

Maina was also found guilty of concealing his true identity as a signatory to accounts opened in two banks – UBA and Fidelity bank – by using the identity of his family members without their knowledge.

These accounts had cash deposits of N300million, N500million, and N1.5billion

The court held that Maina stole monies meant for pensioners as he could not prove where he got them from.

Maina (with security operatives) outside the court premises after he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for money laundering on Monday, November 8, 2021.

 

The court also found Maina guilty for the purchase of a property in Abuja paid in cash in the sum of $1.4million, which is above the statutory threshold of N5million and without passing through a financial institution, describing it as a criminal offense.

However, while Maina was leaving the court premises, there was a squabble between operatives of the EFCC and security officials from Kuje correctional center on whose custody Maina is to be remanded, as the judge did not make any pronouncement on where he should be remanded.

While reading his judgement, the trial judge said the correctional center will be able to take care of his health.

After the scuffle was resolved, Maina was eventually taken to Kuje correctional center.

His Counsel Olusegun Jolaawo told journalists that they will be appealing the judgement.

Court Finds Maina Guilty Of Money Laundering

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday found Abdulrasheed Maina, the former chairman of the now-defunct Pension Reformed Task Team guilty of money laundering.

In a judgement being delivered by Justice Okon Abang, the court held that the prosecutor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has produced essential evidence through witnesses to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Maina is guilty of money laundering in the sum of N171,099,000.

The court added that the defendant (Maina), called only one witness to his defense when he had the opportunity to call as many as he could.

READ ALSO: Court Sentences Maina’s Son Faisal To 14 Years Imprisonment

While further delivering his judgement, Justice Abang found Maina guilty of concealing his true identity as a signatory to accounts opened in two banks – UBA and Fidelity bank – by using the identity of his family members without their knowledge.

A file photo of Mr Abdulrasheed Maina

 

These accounts had cash deposits of N300million, N500million, and N1.5billion

The court held that Maina stole monies meant for pensioners as he could not prove where he got them from.

Justice Abang also held that through Maina’s service as a civil servant, his salary and emoluments will not amount to the monies in these accounts.

The court also found Maina guilty for the purchase of a property in Abuja paid in cash in the sum of $1.4million, which is above the statutory threshold of N5million and without passing through a financial institution, describing it as a criminal offense.

 

Maina And Son’s Trial 

A month ago, the court jailed Maina’s son, Faisal, after finding him guilty on three counts of money laundering involving N58.1million in public funds.

Maina was tried alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Limited over 12 charges bordering on money laundering of over N1billion, among other offences.

He had jumped bail twice in the course of his trial and was recently arrested in Niamey, Niger Republic, where he had fled.

Upon his rearrest, he returned to court where the court ordered that he be returned to the custody of the correctional centre in Kuje until his trial was concluded.

With the development, his lawyer, Francis Oronsaye, withdrew from the case while his new lawyer, Anayo Adibe, filed another bail application.

However, in a ruling on February 28, Justice Abang refused to grant the application on the grounds that it was without merit and that Maina failed to place sufficient materials before the court to convince it that he deserved another bail.

He held that Maina did not deserve to be admitted to bail again after violating the conditions of the bail granted him earlier and later adjourned the matter.

Court Sentences Maina’s Son Faisal To 14 Years Imprisonment

 

Faisal Maina, son of the former chairman of the now-defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja gave the judgement on Thursday in the suit filed by the Federal Government against Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, on money laundering charges.

Faisal, who is standing trial on charges of money laundering, had jumped bail refusing to attend trial since November 24, 2020.

For Count 1, Justice Abang ordered that he be jailed for five years. In count two, he was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with immediate effect.

The court also ordered that Faisal returns to the Federal Government, the sum of N58.1m and the company used, to wind up.

READ ALSO: Maina To Remain In Custody As Court Rejects Fresh Bail Application

For count three, he was jailed for five years.

The court held that the terms would run concurrently.

Justice Abang further ordered the Federal Government to arrest Faisal wherever he is found in Nigeria and commit him to a correctional center. But if arrested outside Nigeria, the FG has been asked to lawfully extradite him to face his sentence.

A file photo of Faisal Maina during his arraignment at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

Faisal was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on October 25, 2019, and was granted bail on November 26, 2019, in the sum of 60 million naira with a surety in like sum.

He however jumped bail and stopped attending his trial.

On February 24, 2021, the EFCC alerted the court that he was on the run to the United States Of America (USA).

Lawyer to the anti-graft agency, Mohammed Abubakar, said from the information at the disposal of the commission, that Faisal Maina sneaked to the USA through the Republic of Niger despite his Nigerian and American passports still with the registry of the court.

“We have a bench warrant of the court for the arrest of the defendant and his apprehension before the court.

“We have been making serious efforts to execute the bench warrant but it has met challenges. The defendant has absconded to the USA,” the EFCC lawyer told the court.

Faisal Maina’s lawyer, Anayo Adibe, however, disputed the claim of the prosecution as he insists that his client was arrested by the Nigeria Police Force in Sokoto.

He urged the court to open an inquiry as to the true whereabouts of his client.

Money Laundering: Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty, Risks 20 Years’ Imprisonment

Ramoni Igbalode aka Hushpuppi, was arrested by Dubai Police in June for fraud, among other crimes.
FILE PHOTO: Ramoni Abbas aka Hushpuppi, was arrested by Dubai Police in June for fraud, among other crimes.

 

An alleged international fraudster, Ramon Abbas who is popularly known as Hushpuppi, has pleaded guilty to multi-million dollar fraud charges filed against him by the United States government.

In a plea agreement document, Hushpuppi agreed to plead guilty as charged.

The document was signed by Hushpuppi; his lawyer, Loius Shapiro; acting United States attorney, Tracy Wilkison, amongst others.

This was contained in a statement released on Wednesday by the court titled, ‘Six Indicted in International Scheme to Defraud Qatari School Founder and then Launder over $1 Million in Illicit Proceeds’.

His plea agreement stated further that he will now be pleading guilty to Count Two which is “Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering,” an offence that attracts a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment among other punishments including full restitution.

The document partly read, “defendant (Hushpuppi) admits that defendant is, in fact, guilty of the offence to which defendant is agreeing to plead guilty.

Arrested in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate (UAE) in June 2020, and subsequently extradited to the U.S. where most of the victims of his alleged fraudulent activities are based, Mr Abass has spent the last one year in custody maintaining his innocence.

A date is to be fixed for him to change his previous “not guilty” plea to “guilty” and will be followed by a sentencing hearing for the judge to determine how long he will spend in jail.

 

Read the full statement from the US Department of Justice:

Six Indicted in International Scheme to Defraud Qatari School Founder and then Launder over $1 Million in Illicit Proceeds

Nigerian National Known as ‘Hushpuppi’ Admits Money Laundering in School Financing Scam and Additional Cyber and Business Email Compromise Schemes

            LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week alleges an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar – and the subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.

The three-count indictment returned on April 29 and unsealed Monday charges three U.S.-based defendants who were arrested last week – as well as three defendants believed to be in Africa – with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.

The criminal complaint that initiated the prosecution in February was also unsealed Monday, revealing that Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – also known by his social media handle of “Ray Hushpuppi” – was initially charged in this case. Court documents ordered unsealed today show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20. A version of Abbas’ plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in the school-finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.

“The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Mr. Abbas, who played a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means. In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will identify and prosecute perpetrators of business email compromise scams, which is a massive and growing international crime problem.”

“Mr. Abbas, among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad. Today’s announcement deals a crucial blow to this international network and hopefully serves as a warning to potential victims targeted with this type of theft.”

According to the indictment, Abbas allegedly conspired with Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to defraud the Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance construction of the planned school. Juma allegedly posed as a facilitator and consultant for the illusory bank loans, while Abbas played the role of “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker in New York, according to court documents. Vincent, in turn, allegedly provided support for the false narratives fed to the victim by, among other things, creating bogus documents and arranging for the creation of a fake bank website and phone banking line.

Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, a.k.a. “AJ,” 26, of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly played a role in the fraud, assisting Abbas with a call to the victim posing as “Malik.” Special agents with the FBI arrested Anifowoshe in New York on July 22.

The conspirators allegedly defrauded the victim out of more than $1.1 million.

The proceeds of the fraud allegedly were laundered in several ways. According to the indictment, Abbas was assisted in laundering the proceeds of the fraud by Rukayat Motunraya Fashola, a.k.a. “Morayo,” 28, of Valley Stream, New York, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka, a.k.a. “Bolamide,” 34, of Linden, New Jersey. These two defendants also were arrested on July 22 by FBI agents.

Approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts. Other illicit proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks that were used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to fraudulently acquire a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts.

Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria. According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.

Anifowoshe, Fashola and Agbabiaka were arrested in New York and New Jersey on July 22, and they are expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in August. All three are currently free on bond.

A criminal complaint and an indictment contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Both conspiracy counts alleged in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term.

The FBI is investigating this matter as part of Operation Top Dog. The FBI thanks the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Police Department for their substantial assistance in this matter. The FBI also thanks the Kenyan Office of Attorney General, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations for their substantial assistance.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.

Court Acquits Senator In Money Laundering Case

Nwaoboshi Appeals Judgment Sacking Him As Delta North Senator-Elect
A file photo of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has acquitted and discharged the lawmaker representing Delta North, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, of the allegation of laundering N322 million.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to prove the elements of the offence against the lawmaker.

He also cleared Nwaoboshi’s two firms – Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd.

The judge held, among other things, that the EFCC’s case collapsed because “bank officials were not called to testify” and prove the money laundering charge.

Nwaoboshi, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was arraigned alongside his companies in 2018 before Justice Mohammed Idris who was later elevated to the Court of Appeal.

This necessitated a re-arraignment before Justice Aneke in October 2018.

The prosecution had alleged that Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Projects purchased a 12-storey building property, known as Guinea House, on Marine Road in the Apapa area of Lagos for N805 million between May and June 2014.

According to the anti-graft agency, N322 million out of the N805 million was part of proceeds of “an unlawful act of fraud”.

The EFCC alleged that the N322 million was transferred to the property’s vendor on the order of Suiming Electricals which was accused of aiding the accused to commit money laundering on or about May 14, 2014.

The alleged offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 (2) (d) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, it claimed.

But Senator Nwaoboshi had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

We Have Recovered $153m, 80 Houses From Diezani – EFCC Chairman

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

 

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, says the anti-graft agency has so far recovered $153 million from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Bawa added that 80 houses valued at $80 million were also recovered from the former minister.

“There are several cases surrounding Diezani’s case. I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot.

”In one of the cases we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80 million. We have done quite a bit on that,” said the agency’s boss in the April edition of the commission’s magazine, EFCC Alert.

READ ALSO: Fake EFCC Chairman’s LinkedIn Account Uncovered, Commission Warns Nigerians

He added, “The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery are also ongoing across the federation.

“We are looking forward to the time we will, maybe, have her in the country, and, of course, review things and see what will happen going forward. The case has certainly not been abandoned.”


In this interview conducted in February 2020, former acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, calls for the extradition of Diezani over alleged $2.5bn theft.


Diezani is facing charges bordering on bribery and money laundering in Nigeria and in London.

The commission had accused Diezani of fleeing the country to the UK in order to escape justice.

In February 2020, the EFCC under the leadership of its former boss, Ibrahim Magu, asked UK authorities to extradite the former minister on the ground that she allegedly stole a sum of $2.5 billion belonging to the Nigerian government.

Stressing that the fund must be accounted for, Magu also claimed that Diezani had a generation of looters supporting her actions which he said was not good for the image and development of the country.

He stated that the EFCC was in touch (at the time) with the international community to facilitate the extradition of the former minister.

Court Fixes February 25 For Ruling On Maina’s Bail Application

File photo of Abdulrasheed Maina at court premises

 

A former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to vacate an order made to continue his alleged money laundering trial in absentia.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Okon Abang, had on November 18, 2020 ordered that Maina’s trial would continue in his absence after he jumped bail and refused to attend trial until he was later arrested in Niger Republic and extradited back to Nigeria to continue his trial.

At the resumed trial, Maina’s lawyer moved an application praying the court to set aside both orders made by the court considering the fact that the defendant has been brought back to face trial.

READ ALSO: Abdulrasheed Bawa Promises To Represent Youths As EFCC Boss

The prosecutor, Mohammed Abubakar however objected to the application on the ground that setting aside the trial in absentia order is “tantamount to setting aside all the proceeding conducted by this court in the absence of the first defendant.”

The court also made an order remanding the defendant in prison pending the conclusion of the trial.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Maina for alleged money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.