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EFCC

EFCC araigns Ecobank

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, arraigned Ecobank Plc before Justice Saliu Seidu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on a five-count charge bordering on conversion of funds to the tune of $50,000 and N9.2million.

Ecobank is facing trial alongside one of its employees, Anieka Udoh.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Ecobank Plc and one Anieka Udoh, whilst being an employee of Eco Bank Plc sometime in 2009, at Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Honourable court, negligently failed to exercise due diligence in relation to conduct of financial transactions with Major General Umaru Mohammed and fraudulently converted Major General Umaru Mohammed’s Ecobank MasterCard Account No. 0015052989 from debit card to credit card and consequently debited Major General Umaru Mohammed’s account in the sum of over USD 50,000 (Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) without the knowledge and authority of Major General Umaru Mohammed.”

At the scheduled arraignment on March 7, 2019, the first defendant, Ecobank, had no legal representative.

However, at today’s sitting, the first defendant, Ecobank Plc represented by E. Majemite, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against it.

Counsel to the second defendant, Udoh O.J. Owoh, informed the court about a pending application for bail on behalf of his client, who pleaded not guilty to the charge when he was arraigned.

In her response, counsel to the prosecution, Bilkisu Buhari, objected to the bail application, stating that “the defendant is a flight risk if granted bail.”

Justice Seidu, after listening to both parties, admitted the second defendant to bail in the sum of N20million and two sureties in like sum.

One of the sureties must be a relation to the second defendant, resident in Lagos and have landed property in Lagos, whose title documents must be verified by the court.

The second surety must be a civil servant on grade level 16 in Lagos.

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EFCC

EFCC detains finance commissioner

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained the Kwara state Commissioner of Finance and the Accountant General of the State, over investigations into alleged slush funds for 2019 elections.

A top EFCC source told Daily Trust that the duo are being held at the Ilorin, Kwara state Zonal head office of the anti-graft agency to explain the utilization of over N1 billion fund received from a commercial bank a few days to the election.

It was learnt that the Commissioner of Finance, Nurudeen Banu and the Accountant General of the state, Sulaiman Ishola, are being held to explain why the money was received and how it was disbursed.

The EFCC had been asked by the Kwara Coalition for Good Governance and Accountability (KWARA-CGGA) to probe the over N1billion loan the State Government secured from a bank a few days before the general elections.

The secretary general of the group, Hassan Omoiya said it had intelligence that the state government obtained the loan on 13th February from a first generation bank using the remittance of Kwara State VAT allocation due in February and March 2019 as collateral.

He said, “We urge the EFCC and indeed the Federal Ministry of Finance to determine the appropriateness of utilization of credit facility of N1 billion by Kwara State Government at the twilight of general election.”

Also, “The status of VAT Account as collateral for the credit facility in the absence of prior approval and authorization from Debt Management Office and Federal Ministry of Finance in tandem with extant laws and regulation on granting of loan to State Governments.

“It is our expectation that your investigation will extend to individuals and corporate institutions that participated in the unwholesome act with a view of prosecuting the affected individuals and institutions with attendant cost and penalty.”

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Politics

Atiku’s associate in EFCC custody

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Detectives are holding a businessman who is said to be an associate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.

Mr. Uyi Giwa-Osagie is being suspected of allegedly laundering about $4million, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) believes to be “suspicious election cash”.

Uyi’s detention followed an intelligence report on a suspicious transaction by a Bureau De Change operator.

An EFCC source said: “A BDC operator was intercepted for shipping $2million from Abuja to Lagos for suspected money laundering.

“Upon interception by our detectives, the BDC operator admitted that Uyi Giwa-Osagie actually paid the Naira equivalent of $4million into his account in exchange for hard currency.

“We invited Uyi for interrogation on Monday and Tuesday. Our detectives have also conducted a search of his home. Some useful documents were retrieved. The investigation is, however, still in progress.”

“Apart from documents relating to posh properties at home and abroad, a copy of the EFCC Investigation Report on Atiku’s relationship with a jailed U.S. lawmaker, Williams Jefferson, was retrieved from Uyi.

“ An analysis of the account indicated that it yielded over $30million deposits mostly from a firm with a link with the PDP candidate,” the source said, pleading not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter.

He added: “Obviously, there were remittances from the account of a multi-national company linked with the PDP candidate.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “We closed in on Uyi on Monday. We have decided to detain him pending the conclusion of an investigation. “

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EFCC

EFCC detains Babachir Lawal

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Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal was yesterday detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Lawal will be arraigned today.

The commission had filed a 10-count charge against the former SGF and five others.

Others are Hamidu David Lawal; Sulaiman Abubakar; Apeh John Monday; Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited.

All the suspects will face trial in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, for alleged N544, 119, 925.36 for the removal of Invasive plant species and simplified irrigation.

But ahead of the arraignment, the former SGF was taken into custody yesterday day.

A source said: “We have detained the former SGF and some suspects in preparation of their arraignment in court on Tuesday.

“They have been served charges and their trial will commence. The EFCC team is ready for the prosecution of the suspects with its witnesses ready accordingly.”

On the charge sheet dated January 30, and filed by Offem Uket, M. S. Abubakar and Abba Muhammed, the EFCC accused Lawal of holding “indirectly a private interest in the contract awarded to Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Ltd by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE).

The contracts are:

Consultancy contract awarded to Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N7,009,515.96

Consultancy contract awarded to Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N6,453,318.38.

Contract awarded to Josmon Technologies Ltd but executed by Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N272,524,356.02.

Contract awarded to Josmon Technologies Ltd but executed by Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N258,132,735.00.

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EFCC

EFCC to continue Fayose trial

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday fixed Feb. 7 for the continuation of the trial of the immediate past Governor of Ekiti, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, over alleged N6.9 billion fraud.

Ekiti Governor, Ayodele Fayose

The case which was earlier fixed for today for the continuation of cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness has been shifted to Thursday.

On the next adjourned date, both the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and the defense counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), will address the court on the admissibility of an extrajudicial statement made by a party who is not standing trial.
Fayose was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Oct. 22, 2018, alongside a company Spotless Investment Ltd on 11 counts.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court had granted him bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.

EFCC had opened the case for the prosecution on Nov. 19, 2018, and called four witnesses.

On Jan. 21, the prosecution called its fifth witness, Sen. Musliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence.

At the last adjourned date on Feb. 5 (Tuesday), Obanikoro was still under cross-examination by second defense counsel Ojo, who was expected to continue on the next date.

According to the charge, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and Agbele were said to have taken possession of the sum of N1.2 billion, for purposes of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have received a cash payment of the sum of five million dollars, (about N1.8 billion) from Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount allowed by law.

He was also alleged to have retained N300 million in his Zenith Bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which sum he ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Fayose was alleged to have procured De Privateer Ltd and Still Earth Ltd, to retain in their Zenith and FCMB accounts, the aggregate sums of N851 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

Besides, the accused was alleged to have used the aggregate sum of about N1.6 billion to acquire properties in Lagos and Abuja, which sums he reasonably ought to have known formed part of crime proceeds.

The accused was also alleged to have used the sum of N200 million, to acquire a property in Abuja, in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji, which sum he ought to know also forms crime proceeds.

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  • 1. Is the decision of Atiku to seek legal action against the results a necessary step in the right direction for Nigeria? 
2. Should we do more to empower the judiciary systems for the benefit of the people?
3. Is the chance to do this embraced by those that mean well for the Nation? 
4. Is this a chance that must be taken?  Please, answer these questions with an open mind.
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