Judge’s Absence Stalls Patience Jonathan’s Case Against EFCC

File photo: Mrs Patience Jonathan   The case filed by Mrs Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan,

Judge’s Absence Stalls Patience Jonathan’s Case Against EFCC
File photo: Mrs Patience Jonathan

 

The case filed by Mrs Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, to challenge the ‘No Debit Order’ placed on four Skye Bank accounts harboring a total of $15.5 million was stalled at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Tuesday.

Trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris was said to be away, attending a workshop. Consequently, the parties in the case agreed to come back on June 19.

Mrs Jonathan had filed the suit in 2016, to challenge the freezing of the accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Joined as defendants in the suit are Skye Bank and a former aide to President Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa.

Also joined are four companies namely: Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd; Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd; and Avalon Global Property Development Ltd.

Though the accounts were said to be opened in the names of the four companies and linked to Mr Dudafa, Mrs Jonathan had filed the suit to lay claims to the funds.

The post appeared first on Channels Television.

Shagari, Four Others Docked Over Alleged N500m Fraud

  The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned a former Minister of Water Resources Mukhtar Shehu Shagari

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned a former Minister of Water Resources Mukhtar Shehu Shagari alongside four others over alleged conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N500million.

The former Minister was arraigned before Justice Idrissa Kolo of the Federal High Court Sokoto alongside Senator Abdullahi Mohammed Wali,  Ibrahim Gidado,  Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and Ibrahim Milgoma.

They were however denied bail after Justice Idrissa listened to the arguments exchanged between the parties.

The judge ordered that they be remanded in police custody till Thursday, 24th May 2018 for the hearing and determination of bail.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Commissioner’s Wife, Children In Zamfara

The antigraft agency in a statement signed on Tuesday by the spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said trouble started for the Shagari and four others after intelligence information was received that the accused person received various sums from the $115million allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deizani Allison Madueke.

The money was reported to have been shared among senior members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

“The defendants allegedly benefitted the sum of N500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira Only) which was not distributed through any financial institution in flagrant violation of provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act,” the statement read in part.

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

Prosecution counsel Johnson Ojogbane requested a date for trial in view of the plea of the defendants and also asked that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.

Counsel representing the first, third and fourth defendants Ibrahim Abdulaziz as well as counsel for the second and fifth defendants Ibrahim Idris and L.A Abdulkadir respectively applied for the bail of their clients pending the determination of the case.

Responding, Ojogbane confirmed that he was served with the various bail applications by the applicants but also reminded the court that he was only served yesterday (May 21)  and therefore needs time to respond.

 

The post appeared first on Channels Television.

INVESTIGATION: Nigeria’s elusive K38 boats and the stolen billions

It was the vibration of the ringing phone that jolted him from sleep. The room was dark and cozy. The

It was the vibration of the ringing phone that jolted him from sleep.

The room was dark and cozy. The air conditioner hanging on the wall worked silently to keep the room as cold as London where he returned from earlier in the morning.

Outside, the sun was blazing as the power generator churned out alternating currents to keep the air conditioner alive.

“Alhaji, we have a deal!” the voice on the other end of the line said as Rabiu Hassan pressed the phone against his ear.

“I have spoken with the NSA – National Security Adviser – and he has given his approval. Let’s rally and seal the deal as soon as possible,” the caller said before hanging up.

Mr. Hassan, a shrewd defence contractor, was happy to learn the good news. The exhaustion he had sought to relieve with the afternoon nap, in his Abuja home, didn’t seem to matter anymore.

It was Saturday, November 19, 2011 and his life was about to get merrier.

Earlier that morning, both Mr. Hassan and his caller, Salihu Atawodi – chairman of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security – returned to Abuja from London on a British Airways flight.

A few days earlier, Mr. Hassan, chaperoned by business partners, had escorted Mr. Atawodi’s party, which included friends and colleagues, to go inspect brand new military boats that were up for auction at giveaway prices in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The boats, known in the military marine hardware market as K38 Catamaran assault crafts, are exceedingly fast and agile attack military boats renowned for powerful performance on shallow waters.

It can execute extremely sharp turns at high speed and decelerate from top speed to sudden stop within the twinkle of an eye. With its twin water jest and lightweight, it can operate at a speed of 74 km/h in shallow waters, like the creeks of the Niger Delta.

Read prologue to this story.

Part  2: Inside a Multi-Million Dollar ‘Defence Contract Fraud’: Suspects arrested in Israel as Nigeria fails to act

K38 History

In 2008, during the first rise of militancy in the Niger Delta, one of the earliest problems the Nigerian military faced combating the militants was the lack of assault crafts to navigate the shallow waters of the creeks in the region.

In response, the Umaru Yar’Adua-led Nigerian government contracted Amit Sade, an Israeli contractor and CEO of Doiyatech Nigeria Ltd to supply 20 units of K38 combat boats to the Nigerian Army.

Mr. Sade’s Doiyatech does not make boats neither does he own any other military hardware company. But he was the only handpicked bidder for the contract worth N3.12 billion at the time. There was no bidding process as contemplated by Nigeria’s public procurement law. In the contract, each boat was worth N156 million.

He was immediately advanced 80 per cent of the total cost of the 20 boats with a promise that the balance would be paid once supplies are completed.

With a bank account full of money, Mr. Sade left for the Netherlands where he outsourced the contract to TP Marine, a two-man shipyard.

Mr. Sade was a regular customer of TP Marine as well as the Nigerian government. At his prime as an Abuja contractor, he netted six heavyweight military contracts worth N6.721 billion.

He did not deliver on any of them, a report by the presidential panel which recently investigated military procurements in Nigeria revealed.

The contractor had also fronted for TP Marine to land jobs with the Nigerian Navy and the Dutch had no qualms taking on this new project.

A few months later, he returned to Nigeria with eight boats. The Nigerian military received the few he had and never bothered to ask for the outstanding 12. They seemed to have been impressed that he at least partly delivered on the job.

However, in anticipation that Mr. Sade would return to claim the remaining 12 boats for which he placed order, TP Marine continued production.

But the contractor never returned.

 

Four Years Later
Rabiu Hassan, a Nigerian defence contractor.

Four years later, Mr. Hassan, the Abuja-based Nigerian contractor was prospecting for military boats when some other Israeli contractors operating out of the Nigerian capital, linked him to TP Marine.

Hours after the introduction, he had his first meeting with Bjorn Neeven and Roland Kraft, owners of TP Marine in Paddington Hotel, London. That meeting was brokered by the new agents.

The boats were selling for N49 million each – a smaller fraction of the huge and overpriced N156 million for which Mr. Sade sold each boat to the Nigerian military.

TP Marine was, however, not willing to sell to a Nigerian company and they opened up to Mr. Hassan why that was so.

The boats, in the first place, originally belonged to Nigeria courtesy of the 2008 contract with Doiyatech.

TP Marine did not also have the authorization to resell these boats to Nigeria.

They were avoiding legal complications with the European Union and Mr. Sade. But they could not also hold on to the boats any longer as they were accruing demurrage and digging a hole in the company’s finances.

TP Marine offered Mr. Hassan a lifeline. They would sell to him if he could get a non-Nigerian company to buy from TP Marine before reselling to him.

“My brother, that was one of the sweetest deals I ever got in my life,” Mr. Hassan told PREMIUM TIMES. “I immediately grabbed the chance and committed myself.”

Half of the 12 outstanding boats were done, but for armoring. The other half lay in casts.

Excited, both parties entered a deal through the Israeli agents before departing London.

 

The outreach

When Mr. Hassan committed to buying these boats in London, he had no customer waiting to buy from him. He was only confident he would find one.

In Abuja, he was faced with two immediate challenges. First, he needed a non-Nigerian company to pose as the direct buyer from TP Marine. Secondly, he needed someone to buy the boats from him so he can make a huge profit.

To solve his first challenge, Mr. Hassan turned to Mustapha Mohammed, a much younger business associate.

Mr. Mohammed stepped forward with his defunct UK Registered company, Hypertech UK limited.

With his first challenge resolved, Mr. Hassan began marketing his boats.

His first point of call, he said, was Bello Haliru Mohammed, the defence minister at the time.

“I gave him a verbatim account of my London meeting with the owners of TP Marine,” the contractor said.

After describing how notorious Mr. Sade was in the defence contracting industry, the defence minister handed Mr. Hassan a five-page document containing a list of 31 failed defence contracts.

Mr. Sade’s companies – Doiyatech and D.Y.I Global Services Limited – dominated the list of defaulting contractors accused of not delivering for jobs they were paid.

The defence minister sounded helpless and powerless in checking Mr. Sade’s alleged antics, Mr. Hassan recalled.

When contacted, the minister, now facing trial for allegedly stealing public funds ahead of the 2015 general elections, texted a PREMIUM TIMES reporter saying he could not remember the meeting.

He could also not remember the five-paged document despite the fact that the defence ministry, in that same document and during his leadership, described the K38 military boat contract as having been “stepped down”.

When confronted with the documents, he dismissed them as Tenders Board document.

“Ministers were not members of the board during my time,” he said.

At about the same time that the minister had that initial conversation with Mr. Hassan, the defence ministry also received a letter from TP Marine intimating it of the 12 boats abandoned in the Netherlands by Mr. Sade.

Neither the defence minister nor the ministry acted to recover either the boats or monies paid out to Mr. Sade.

Mr. Hassan capitalised on the ineptitude and financial recklessness of officials at the defence ministry. He continued marketing the boats around government security agencies in Abuja.

Soon, he landed a bright green prospect in PICOMSS.

 

PICOMSS enters the fray
Salihu Atawodi offered to buy the K38 rather than use his position to pursue justice for Nigeria.

In response to rising banditry by sea pirates in the Gulf of Guinea and intense pressure by the International Maritime Organization on him to act decisively, former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety (PICOMSS) on July 1, 2004.

The idea was a short-term solution to sustain economically beneficial maritime activities in the gulf as security agencies charged with securing the waterways kept failing in their responsibilities.

Somehow, what was conceived as an ad hoc committee remained alive almost a decade later.

Its loosely defined job description meant that it almost often strayed into the responsibilities of the over a dozen other government agencies securing the maritime sector.

In 2012, facing stiff opposition from some maritime security agencies in the country, its chairman, Mr. Atawodi, launched an aggressive push to make PICOMSS a permanent government agency backed by law.

At the time Mr. Hassan marketed the boats to him, the PICOMSS boss was lobbying members of the National Assembly to pass a law making the agency a standing government parastatal.

Acquiring these boats fitted into his grand plan to establish authority in the sector and win over more undecided lawmakers, Mr. Hassan quoted Mr. Atawodi as telling him at the time.

He was eager to buy them. All six.

In his private office in Abuja, he had made 2D models of the boats with PICOMSS boldly printed on its shells.

Mr. Atawodi was neither interested in calling out Mr. Sade for disappearing with the initial contract funds nor fascinated about making any move to recover the boats already paid for.

In fact, he told PREMIUM TIMES the boats “technically” didn’t belong to Nigeria, after arguing he was initially ignorant of the boats’ history.

Months after learning about the boats, he assembled a team and they flew to the Netherlands, via London, to inspect them. On November 18, 2011, TP Marine gave the delegation a two-hour on-sea performance tour with the boats.

On the spot, they decided to buy. A sales contract was drafted immediately but there was a little problem.

 

How Much Will You Buy?
Defence chiefs routinely inflate security contracts with the intention of stealing the excess.

As customary with procurements within the Nigerian security industry, the cost is neither driven by economics or any known pricing mechanism. It is rather driven by how much the buyer – the government guy – is willing to pay without hurting the profit margin of the contractor. A consideration will also be made for the different levels of bribes to be paid to facilitators.

TP Marine offered the boats to Mr. Hassan at N49million each – at the prevailing Naira/Euro exchange rate in 2012.

The total cost for the six boats came to N294million.

With armoring upgrades, logistic and profits, Mr. Hassan said he initially set the total price at approximately N600million.

In the contract drafted in Amsterdam on the day of the inspection, the Atawodi team excessively inflated the contract to approximately N3.1 billion.

PICOMSS had limited funding. Mr. Atawodi was, therefore, unable to funnel the entire N3.1 billion from PICOMSS. He needed to draw from a special funding pipeline he had with the then National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi.

The call to Mr. Hassan after the team’s arrival from the inspection trip was to inform him the NSA has been co-opted into the deal.

In an interview with this newspaper, Mr. Hassan blamed Mr. Atawodi for this astronomical contract inflation which would have seen collaborators sharing over N2.5billion

“There was nothing to hide,” he said. “I was supposed to deduct my own and give them the rest. With the National Security Adviser involved, I was fine with it. He is after all the chief accounting officer of Nigeria’s national security. If wants to buy it for (Euros)100 billion, who am I to say no?”

Mr. Atawodi did not deny inflating the contract but he claimed the excess N2.5 billion was for amouring of the boats.

“These things are expensive, you know,” the former PICOMSS boss said.

He also argued that he believed the boats were selling at non-auction retail prices.

 

The Looting Regime

Ten days after the inspection trip, even before his team submitted a report of the trip, Mr. Atawodi credited Mr. Hassan’s newly established Eco Bank account with N620.918 million from PICOMSS’ commercial bank account.

The payment was not immediately invoiced or documented in any other form. It had no logical correlation with the N2.5billion he and his collaborators planned to pocket. It was also higher than the original N600billion Mr. Hassan demanded.

Mr. Hassan said Mr. Atawodi followed up the curious fund transfer to him with a telephone call requesting him to hurriedly convert the money to United States dollars and hand over to the PICOMSS chairman that same day.

He claims he complied and delivered the first tranche to Mr. Atawodi in a Ghana-Must-Go bag. Meeting point that night was IBB Golf Club at the upscale Asokoro District of Abuja.

Mr. Atawodi denied this narrative, saying it never happened.

In 2015, the EFCC charged both men to an Abuja court for defrauding Nigeria of the same N620 million.

In court, Mr. Atawodi claimed the transfer was an upfront payment for the boats. Mid 2017, another Abuja court acquitted him.

Mr. Hassan’s bank statement, however, showed clearly that the controversial fund transfer happened between the two men.

 

A Conman’s Death

In the Nigerian defence contracting industry, double-dealing is perhaps the only commodity that can be considered more abundant than public monies to steal, insiders say.

After that first payment, Mr. Atawodi wrote a memo to the National Security Adviser, Mr. Azazi, requesting the release of N3.1 billion for the purchase of the boats.

The National Security Adviser unexpectedly foot-dragged. At the time, he favoured giving more maritime security control to an ex-militant warlord, Tompolo. In fact, the NSA had prepared a memo to the president demanding the scrapping of PICOMSS.

But the defining moment for this contract came after Mr. Hassan had a meeting with the NSA to market the boats.

It turned out that the PICOMSS chairman was trying to outsmart the NSA.

“The National Security Adviser was told a completely different thing and was never a party to fixing that amount,” Mr. Hassan told PREMIUM TIMES.

The steps taken by the NSA after learning of the price variation are what defines government contracting in Nigeria.

Read that in part four of this series…

Magu To Chair African’s Commonwealth Anti-corruption Agencies

Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has been appointed as new chairman of the Heads of

Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has been appointed as new chairman of the Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa.

This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its 5-day conference held in Abuja, which ended yesterday.

The conference also resolved to strengthen cooperation and collaboration among member countries for the purpose of facilitating assets recovery and return.

The conference, with the theme, “Partnering Towards Assets Recovery and Return” among other things, expressed concern “about the heavy losses that Africa suffers as a result of illegal transfers of proceeds of corruption and crime out of Africa” and stressed the need for synergy among member countries to combat illicit financial flows.

It called on “African countries to strengthen cooperation and partnership in the tracing, recovery and return of assets in accordance with Article 54 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and Article 16 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption”.

While recognizing the importance of whistleblowing in the fight against corruption, asset recovery and return; the meeting urged African countries to enact strong whistleblowing legislation and provide protection to whistleblowers.

The meeting also appealed to judicial and prosecuting authorities to cooperate, support and fast track prosecution of corruption cases in their jurisdictions.

It encouraged Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa to explore innovative ways of delivering public education, awareness and sensitization messages to the general public about tracing and recovering of assets.

The conference appreciated “the invaluable support and warm hospitality” provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the EFCC, ICPC and the people of Nigeria, the honour of the presence of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the opening of the Conference.

While expressing appreciation to the Commonwealth Secretariat for co-sponsoring the Conference, it acknowledged the participation and commitment of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Baroness Patricia Scotland; former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalami Abubakar; Thambo Mbeki, former President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, at the Conference.

19 countries including Nigeria participated in the conference.

The next Regional Conference of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa will be hosted in 2019 by Uganda in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

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Get Rich Or Die Trying: Shocking Things ‘Yahoo Boys’ Do To Become Rich Overnight

In recent weeks, Nigerians’ attention has once again shone on the activities of internet fraudsters, known as ‘Yahoo Boys’ following

In recent weeks, Nigerians’ attention has once again shone on the activities of internet fraudsters, known as ‘Yahoo Boys’ following the recent EFCC arrests around a popular Lagos nightclub.

While the legend of these scammers is not new the Nigerian society, the brazen nature with which Yahoo Boys splurge their ill-gotten wealth has become a spectacle of sorts, and media personality /businessman Noble Igwe remarked, most of the glamorous individuals in the posh Lekki/Victoria Island neighbourhoods are in fact, scammers. Many of these highflyers hide under the guise of being socialites who work hard and play harder- going by the logic of singer 9ice, who was once accused of glorifying and praising scammers in his music.

Worse still is the lengths to which these individuals reportedly go to acquire their fortune. In the last decade, media reports have told of desperate people who sell body parts (of themselves and unfortunate associates) to fund their lifestyles. Beyond that, some have taken to diabolical means to become rich, practically overnight- just to maintain their facade of being a ‘Lagos big boy’ who spends millions at nightclubs and hospitality centres.

The advent of social media has also exposed these people as they cannot resist showing off on Instagram and Snapchat. New reports show that many of these Yahoo Boys, like the cliche plots of Nollywood movies, often resort to human sacrifice in order to make the money rain. Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction.

According to our findings, here are some of the shocking, diabolical things Yahoo Boys do to concoct their wealth.

 

Eating feaces

 

A young woman once sought advice online because she noticed that her boyfriend had a horrible mouth odour. She later overheard a conversation between her boyfriend and his friend where they discussed the bread he ate with faeces in form of a sandwich. He bitterly complained about his experience while eating the bread and faeces which was believed to have been given to him by his native doctor as one of the necessary things needed to be done to become a millionaire.

 

Bathing in a public space

Just when we thought we had seen it all, a man was pictured having his bath on the main road, ostensibly in order to make money. Investigations by NET  revealed that Lekki and Ikoyi environs in Lagos are highly populated by native doctors who have been brought in by their ‘clients’. These clients are Yahoo Boys that require their spiritualists to be closeby in case their services are needed.

 

Beastiality

 

Apart from sexual deviants who gain pleasure through sexual acts, there are also reports of Yahoo Boys who are mandated to have sex with dogs as a money ritual. Consequently, some of them bark at certain times of the month, no matter wherever they may be. Some believe that these barking sessions are a trade-off for the wealth they receive from ‘spirits’.

 

Wiping vaginas after sex

 

Another social media user raised alarm when she revealed that a new boyfriend of hers wiped her vagina with a piece of white cloth after they had sex. According to her, she soon started losing blood- leading her to believe that she had been used as a sacrifice for the man’s money ritual.

 

Licking honey to ‘command their customers

 

If ever there were a lesser evil, this would be it. There are reports of Yahoo Boys who procure ‘magic honey’ from their respective herbalists. The concoction is said to contain hexes and spells that compel their victims to give them whatever they ask for. Needless to say, several individuals have used this mean to demands millions of dollars from their hapless targets.

 

One day madness

 

While mental illness is nothing to sneer at, there have been reports of certain individuals who go mad on random days, according to the type of ritual they have overtaken. As their spiritualists do not tell them before hand what day it will happen, they have no control over the time and place where they will be struck by madness for one full day. Earlier this year, a viral video showed an Abuja based man who ran out of his car in the middle of the road. After being chased by concerned onlookers, he was said to have regained his senses after which he got back into his vehicle and drove off.

The post Get Rich Or Die Trying: Shocking Things ‘Yahoo Boys’ Do To Become Rich Overnight appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.


Ghost-working Scandal: EFCC closes in on Saraki’s aide

Anti-graft detectives are closing in on Bamikole Omishore, an aide to Senate President Bukola Saraki who was recently exposed for

Anti-graft detectives are closing in on Bamikole Omishore, an aide to Senate President Bukola Saraki who was recently exposed for allegedly using his wife as a ghost-worker, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Official confirmation and other information obtained from sources at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indicated that Mr Omishore was under corruption investigation and might be arrested soon.

“We are still investigating the matter,” Wilson Uwujaren, a spokesperson for EFCC, told PREMIUM TIMES Friday afternoon.

Mr Omishore denied committing “any crime” on behalf of himself and his wife when reached for comments by PREMIUM TIMES Friday afternoon, but was silent on whether his wife, said to be based in the U.S., received undue salaries at the National Assembly.

Another EFCC official told PREMIUM TIMES under anonymity that detectives are in possession of evidence that could form the basis of “an unannounced arrest” of Mr Omishore “soon”.

“We now have an overview of his case and we are preparing to arrest him to make another example out of him,” the source told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Wednesday night.

Mr Uwujaren would only confirm to PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Omishore was under serious investigation Friday afternoon, but declined to elaborate.

The anti-graft office received a petition from anti-corruption campaigners last month, detailing how Mr Omishore, 35, allegedly enlisted his wife on the payroll of the National Assembly.

The Punch Newspaper, which published the petition, said Abiola Omishore lives in the United States where she works as a nurse.

From her base in the U.S., Mrs Omishore was allegedly drawing N150,000 in monthly salaries from taxpayers’ money, The Punch reported.

Mr Omishore was also accused of fabricating National Assembly identification credentials for his wife. She reportedly received the undue income through her GTBank using her maiden name, Abiola Aiyegbayo.

Over a three-year period, the alleged fleece has run into millions. At a time, accumulated salaries for several months allegedly hit Mrs Omishore’s bank account, in the manner of backlog salaries payouts, the Punch reported.

Pushing back

Mr Omishore was initially reluctant to publicly speak on the allegations, telling PREMIUM TIMES on the night the story broke that he would wait until he read the petition before anything.

He rejected subsequent requests for him to speak on the raging scandal for four weeks until PREMIUM TIMES informed him of the latest information out of the EFCC.

“I am completely confident that neither my wife or myself committed any crime,” Mr Omishore said Friday afternoon without saying specifically whether or not his U.S.-based wife was on the payroll of the federal government.

Abiola Omishore,, the wife of Bamikole Omishore

“It is my humble recommendation for you to revert back to your sources to follow rule of law and due process,” Mr Omishore said. “Instead of this undue speculation, as I see this constant call from you as an attempt to intimidate.”

Mr Saraki has not spoken since the allegations were first leveled against his aide four weeks ago. His spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES request for comments Friday night.

A former banker in the U.S., Mr Omishore served as a digital media aide to Mr Saraki since 2015, during which he took on critics of his principal. He was named a Diaspora affairs aide in 2017, but he could still be seen releasing press statements on behalf of his principal while pushing back against unfavourable reports against the Senate President.

U.S. authorities petitioned

A ghost-worker is someone on the payroll who does not actually work for a victim organisation, according to the Fraud Magazine.

If the allegations hold in court, Mr Omishore or his wife or both of them could face several months, or even years, behind bars, said anti-corruption activist Lanre Suraj.

Mr Suraj’s civic group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, recently dispatched a petition to the F.B.I. and the U.S. Department of Justice for a thorough examination of the allegations.

“Amongst the things we hope to uncover is whether the U.S. authorities were aware that Mrs Omishore lives and works there but still managed to be milking Nigerian taxpayers,” Mr Suraj said.

Mr Suraj said millions of politicians and public service employees have enriched themselves through multiple layers of ghost-working schemes over the past decades.

Successive administration since the return of civil rule in 1999 have adopted policies and innovations aimed at curbing the menace, but its perpetrators appear to be getting ahead of every administration. The practice is said to be particularly prevalent at the National Assembly, where even lawmakers are suspected to be drawing salaries under fictitious names they submitted as legislative aides.

Governments at all levels regularly announce the winnowing of hundreds of thousands of ghost-workers from payrolls. The federal government’s efforts had recorded significant success since the adoption of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in 2007.

But Mr Omishore sees the allegations against him and his critics who have jumped on them as a witch-hunt that could further discourage cerebral personalities from joining public service for the purpose of sacrifice.

“Sadly, serving in Nigeria is one where you hardly get accolades, regardless of sacrifices made,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

“You are demonised, called unprintable names irrespective of what one does,” he added. “Sadly, some members of the fourth estate of the realm also jump on the bandwagon of speculation, making it harder for good people to even want to serve.”

Alleged N650m Fraud: Ex-Minister Akinjide Made Statement Voluntarily – EFCC

A prosecution witness, Usman Zakari, on Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he was competent to investigate

A prosecution witness, Usman Zakari, on Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he was competent to investigate a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, charged with N650 million fraud.

Mrs Akinjide is standing trial alongside a People’s Democratic Party chieftain, Olarenwaju Otti, and Ayo Adeseun.

They had pleaded not guilty to the charge slammed on them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and were granted bail.

At the commencement of trial, the defence counsel had objected to the admissbility of the statement of the first accused on the grounds that same was not voluntarily obtained.

Consequently, the court ordered a trial-within-trial to test the voluntariness of the statement obtained by the EFCC.

Mr Zakari, an operative of EFCC and first prosecution witness in the trial-within-trial, was cross-examined on Wednesday.

Rotimi Oyedepo appeared for EFCC, while Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Micheal Lana, Akinola Oladeji, appeared for the first, second and third accused.

Conducting his cross-examination, Mr Ayorinde, counsel to Akinjide, asked the witness: “Did you say you supervised the writing of the statement of the first defendant?

Witness: ”Yes I did.”

Ayorinde: ”So, you just gave the defendant the writing materials and watched her as she wrote?”

Mr Zakari told the court that when the defendant visited the commission on August 9, 2016, she came in the company of a lawyer and her husband.

He said she was interviewed for 20 minutes in respect of the N650 million and she volunteered a statement thereafter.

The witness said that Mrs Akinjide specifically volunteered to reduce her interview into writing.

Ayorinde asked: ”So, after the 20 minutes interrogation, did she have a right to walk out of the commission?”

Witness: ”That is not correct, she had no right to walk out.”

Ayorinde: ”Was the first accused put under arrest after the 20 minutes of interview?”

Witness: ”That is not correct.”

Mr Ayorinde asked if Mrs Akinjide would have been arrested if she had attempted to walk away.

Witness: ”She never made any attempt to walk out, so I would not know what I would have done.”

He told the court that after the interview, the accused was ‘cautioned’ before she began to volunteer her statement in writing.

Mr Ayorinde asked if the commission had a police manual for interrogation and who determined the manner of interrogation.

Witness: ”The commission had no police manual and the manner of interrogation was determined by the team leader.”

On who the team leader was and whether he had any training, the witness told the court that he, Usman Zakari, was the team leader.

Mr Zakari clarified that the commission did not interrogate suspects, ”but conducted interviews”.

He told the court that he had undergone training on suspect processing, handling and care which entails how to relate with complainants and suspects.

“I joined the commission in 2004, and I have been trained in suspect processing, handling and care.

“I have been trained and retrained both internationally and locally in respect of suspects handling and care as well as suspects processing.

“Internationally, I obtained my training from the National Crime Agency (NCA) United Kingdom and locally, I acquired a training in Nigeria from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in June 2015,” he said.

Ayorinde: ”Apart from yourself, how many people were present when the first defendant was writing her statement?”

Witness: ”I was present together with Tosin Owobo, Oluwatoyin Ige, the husband of the first defendant as well as her lawyer, Mr Williams.”

Justice Hassan adjourned until May 22 for continuation of trial.

At the last adjournment on May 9, the court had refused an application for an overseas medical trip of the third accused (Otti).

The judge refused the application on the grounds that the available records did not show that she had ever been to the U.S. for medical reasons.

The accused were alleged to have received monies from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 General Elections.

The money was part of the 115 million dollars allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 Presidential Election.

INEC Director, Secretary Docked For Money Laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday arraigned two former senior staff of the Enugu State office of the

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday arraigned two former senior staff of the Enugu State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Amadi Simon, a former deputy director and Nathan Owhor Oviri, an administrative secretary before Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Enugu on a 16-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.

The officials are alleged to have laundered One Hundred and Thirty One Million, Three Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira (N131, 380,000) contrary to Section 18 (a) and 1 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act,2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012.

Their arraignment was sequel to roles they allegedly played in the disbursements of 2015 presidential election campaign funds to some INEC Staff in Enugu State from the $115m provided by Diezani Alison-Madueke , former minister of petroleum resources, to influence the outcome of the election.

They were said to have made and accepted cash payments exceeding the authorized limit required by law without passing through a financial institution.

“Investigation by the Commission revealed that the sum of $27 Million USD was released which was converted to N131,380,000 in various Bureau de Change,” the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement. “The sum formed part of N450 Million released to the Enugu state PDP Campaign team.

“The money was allegedly collected by Nathan Owhor from some party chieftains and taken to a hotel at New Haven, Enugu where it was disbursed to all supervising returning officers of INEC for onward disbursement to other staff in all the local government areas of the state.”

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them and were granted bail in the sum of Five Million Naira (N5, 000,000) each and one surety each who must not be below the rank of a director in either state or federal ministry. The sureties must also own landed properties within the court’s jurisdiction.

Justice Liman further ruled that the accused person should continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted by the EFCC until the conditions listed above are met within seven days.

Failure to meet the conditions, they would be re-arrested and remanded in prison custody, the judge said.

The matter was adjourned to October 10, 2018.

EFCC Arraigns Businessman In Court For Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned, a businessman, Charles Ihenetu and his company, V-Choice International CO.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned, a businessman, Charles Ihenetu and his company, V-Choice International CO. Nig. Ltd before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for alleged N26 million fraud.

Ihenetu was docked before the court by the EFCC on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence contrary to sections 8 (a), and 1(1)(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No 14 of 2006.

The defendant was alleged to have obtained the money from his victim under the false pretence that he has a vessel containing Nigeria crude oil.

According to the anti-graft agency, the defendant asked his victim to raise a draft of 20 million naira to invest on the vessel.

The complainant was said to have paid him but he did not get any Vessel nor did he get his money back.

When the case was called on Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel, Zainab Ettu, applied that the charge be read to the defendant to which he pleaded not guilty.

She then urged the court for a trial date and that the defendant be remanded in prison custody.

However, an oral application for bail made by the defence counsel, Jonathan Eziwenke, was refused by the Judge, who ordered him to apply formally.

His request that defendant be reminded in EFCC custody due to his health challenges was also rejected by the court.

Justice Dada subsequently remanded the defendant in prison custody and the matter was adjourned to June 20th for trial.

One of the count reads, “Charles Ihenetu, V- Choice International Company Nigeria Limited, Victor Ezinwoke (still at large), Nonso Anigbogu (now at large) and one Romeo (still at large) sometime in September, 2015 at Lagos within the Lagos Judicial division with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N19, 000,000 (Nineteen Million Naira) from Mr. Osaduwa Amechi through V-Choice International Company Nigeria Limited Zenith Bank Account No. 1011802106 under the false Pretence that the said sum of money represented his investment on crude oil on-board a vessel Kaveri spirit bound for Ghana from Nigeria which pretence you knew was false”.

 

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President Buhari Seeks More Collaboration In Anti-Graft War

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed for more support from the judiciary and the legislature, in order to sustain and win

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed for more support from the judiciary and the legislature, in order to sustain and win the fight against corruption.

President Buhari made the call on Tuesday at the inauguration of the ultra-modern headquarters of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He expressed government’s determination to win the fight against corruption, adding that Nigerians must see the fight as theirs.