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Ononghen reveals source of wealth

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, continued his battle for survival yesterday, hinting at agriculture as the source of his wealth with a petition to the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, over alleged threat to the lives of workers on his farm in Masaka, Nasarawa State.


Onnoghen was suspended a couple of weeks ago by President Muhammadu Buhari and has a February 13 date with the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), where he is being arraigned for alleged asset declaration offenses.

He has, however, asked the CCT Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, to stand down from the panel of three on the grounds of likelihood of bias.
In an apparent bid to force the CJN out of office, the federal government had acted speedily on a petition by a non-governmental organization alleging that the apex court justice had failed to declare his assets fully, complaining that he failed to disclose some domiciliary accounts harboring huge forex.

A few days later, the media was awash with details of the said hidden accounts with the insinuation that the hefty cash could proceed of illicit transactions.
In a nationwide broadcast, the president complained that while he was being upbraided for unlawfully suspending the CJN, no one was talking about the funds found in Onnoghen’s account.

Analysts said yesterday that Onnoghen’s petition complaining about ‘herdsmen’ attack on his farm, might be his strategy of explaining the source of his wealth already being assailed by the federal government.
Under the 1999 Constitution, as altered, public officers are allowed to engage in farming.

In the petition dated February 2 and filed February 4, his counsel, Mr. Ogwu Onoja, SAN, said his client, the CJN informed him that “some men who appeared to be herdsmen were at the farm yesterday afternoon and also later at night, inquiring about the owner of the farm and issued frightening threats to the farmers.

Onoja stated that the workers are now living in dreadful fear and have consequently stopped all farming activities.
According to Onoja, the farm, which belongs to the family of Onnoghen, is a large commercial venture that provides employment to a large number of people who live on the farm and tend to the commercial poultry, piggery, livestock as well as cash and food crops on the farm.

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Politics

Presidential Election Tribunal Adjourns Till August 21

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The presidential election tribunal has said that it will deliver judgement in the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar on Septemeber 11, 2019.

President Muhammudu Buhari and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar

All the parties in the suit had made their final submissions on August 21, when the tribunal declared that the date for the judgement will be communicated at a later date.

Read Also: Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diezani’s Jewellery Worth $40m

The PDP and its candidate are seeking to nullify the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 poll.

They insist that the election was marred by irregularities and are asking the tribunal to declared Atiku as the duly elected president.

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Buhari, Atiku to know fate on Sept 13

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has slated September 13, 2019, to deliver judgment in the petition brought against President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the election, Atiku Abubakar.

President Muhammudu Buhari and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar

The Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, had spent the last few months listening to the arguments of all parties in the election, ending with the adoption of final addresses.

The seven-member panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, headed by Justice Muhammed Garba, had last week reserved date to deliver judgment in the petition after the adoption of final written addresses.

The Electoral Act provides that an election petition should be filed, heard and determined within 180 days.

Buhari, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission are the respondents.

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EFCC

FBI Indictment: EFCC Arrests 28, Recovers N468m

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The joint operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on internet fraud has led to the arrest of 28 suspected internet fraudsters and the recovery of N486 million.

The EFCC said yesterday that 80 cases were under investigation in the joint operation, which started in 2018.
The acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said collaboration between the commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has led to the recovery of the sums of $314,000 and N373,000,000.00, respectively from perpetrators of computer-related fraud.
Magu said the money was traced to various commercial banks by the Lagos Zonal office of the commission.
He also disclosed that the recent joint operations coordinated by the commission had yielded 28 arrests, adding that 14 suspects had been charged and convicted.

The EFCC chairman further stated that “nine of the suspects are currently undergoing trial, while five are still under investigations. Over 80 cases are still under investigation from the EFCC-FBI joint operations.”

Speaking through the Lagos Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mohammed Rabo, Magu added that the Lagos zone of the commission, prior to the collaborative efforts with the FBI, had independently launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds.

“From 2018 to date, the EFCC had launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds, which resulted in over 200 arrests, 130 convictions, and recovery of a large number of exotic cars and properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime.

“We had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous Yahoo yahoo boys culminating in various strategic raids and onslaught on their hideouts”, he said, while noting that the “efforts in this regard have recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.”

Magu also called on the media to continue to lend its voice to the fight against corruption and economic and financial crimes, saying that “no one has the monopoly of knowledge of how the fight should be fought and won”.

“All the critical stakeholders, particularly the media, must continue to collaborate and cooperate with us to make the fight a success.
“I urge you to continue to help us sensitize, mobilize and educate all the critical stakeholders to continue to support the fight against economic and financial crimes. We must collectively strive to achieve the Nigeria of our dream”, he said.

Magu said: “It is very critical for you to understand that you owe the youth that social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.”
He also reiterated that the commission would leave no stone unturned towards stamping out corruption and economic and financial crimes from our society.

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Internet Scam: FBI clamps down on over 70 Nigerians in Cyber Fraud saga

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Just after Nigerians woke up to the news that America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Invictus Group’s Obinwanne Okeke over alleged fraud, more bad news followed earlier today as the names of 80 more Nigerians were released by the anti-crime agency. The suspects have been accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, aggravated identity theft, and other serious financial crimes perpetrated through Business Email Compromise scams.


The FBI is reportedly working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to nab the now-at-large suspects. A 252-count federal grand jury indictment was unsealed charging 80 defendants, most of whom are Nigerian nationals, with participating in a massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of fraud schemes and launder the funds through a Los Angeles-based money laundering network.
The indictment was unsealed after law enforcement authorities arrested 14 defendants across the United States, with 11 of those arrests taking place in the Los Angeles region. Two defendants were already in federal custody on other charges, and one was arrested earlier this week. The remaining defendants are believed to be abroad, with most them located in Nigeria.
The indictment alleges that the 80 defendants and others used various online fraud schemes – including business email compromise (BEC) frauds, romance scams, and schemes targeting the elderly – to defraud victims out of millions of dollars.
According to a criminal complaint , co-conspirators based in Nigeria, the United States and other countries contacted the lead defendants in the indictment – Valentine Iro, 31, of Carson, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, of Gardena, both Nigerian citizens – for bank and money-service accounts that could receive funds fraudulently obtained from victims. Once members of the conspiracy convinced victims to send money under false pretenses, Iro and Igbokwe coordinated the receipt of funds and oversaw an extensive money-laundering network, according to the 145-page indictment.
The indictment and criminal complaint allege that Iro and Igbokwe, who were among those arrested this morning, were involved in schemes resulting in the fraudulent transfer of at least $6 million in fraudulently-obtained funds – and the overall conspiracy was responsible for the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million.

“This case is part of our ongoing efforts to protect Americans from fraudulent online schemes and to bring to justice those who prey upon American citizens and businesses,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Today, we have taken a major step to disrupt criminal networks that use BEC schemes, romance scams and other frauds to fleece victims. This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators – no matter where they reside – and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains.”
“Today’s announcement highlights the extensive efforts that organized criminal groups will engage in to perpetrate BEC schemes that target American citizens and their hard-earned assets,” said Assistant Director in Charge Paul Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Billions of dollars are lost annually, and we urge citizens to be aware of these sophisticated financial schemes to protect themselves or their businesses from becoming unsuspecting victims. The FBI is committed to working with our partner agencies worldwide to continue to identify these cybercriminals and to dismantle their networks.”

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