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Posts tagged ‘Economic and Financial Crime Commission’

EFCC Press Release: N8.9m Scam: Court Jails Ex-Banker 115 Years.


 

By Wilson Uwujaren

A Lagos High court sitting in Igbosere, presided over by Justice Adebisi Akinlade on Monday February 17, 2014 sentenced Jamiu Seun Odunayo, a former banker, to One Hundred and Fifteen Years (115) imprisonment with no option of fine over an offence which borders on fraud. Stealing, and obtaining money by false pretence.

The convict was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on 39-count amended charge for fraudulently obtaining money by false pretences, stealing and suppression of funds to the tune of Eight Million Eight Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Naira, (N8, 829,650) belonging to a customer and diverted it for personal use.

One of the counts reads: “Seun Jamiu Odunayo sometime on the 7th day of March 2011 in Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division whilst being a staff of Skye Bank Plc stole N848,690.00 (Eight Hundred and Forty Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Naira) property of Skye Bank Plc”.

The convict had earlier pleaded not guilty to the 39-count charge that was preferred against him but later changed his plea following a plea bargain.
However Justice Akinlade, in her ruling on Monday, sentenced the defendant to one Hundred and Fifteen Years imprisonment, (115) – three years on each of the 39 -count charge. They are to run concurrently. The sentence is to start from the date of his arrest.

The journey to prison began on May 19, 2011, when the commission received a petition from a bank, alleging that one of its staff who was a Cash Pick up Officer to one of its customers, did not credit the customer’s account. The customer alerted the bank, when she discovered that the sum of Eight Million Eight Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Naira, N8, 829,650 was not credited into her account. The convict consequently absconded from his duty post to evade arrest.

However, Odunayo in his statement stated that, he started stealing from the customer’s account in November 2010, due to delay in payment of his salary. He started with N50, 000 (Fifty Thousand Naira) and later increased it till it reached the sum of N848, 690.00.

The convicts confessed that he used part of the money for his wedding; built a 4-bedroom bungalow in Mowe, Ogun state; bought a car, and used the rest for clubbing.

Wilson Uwujaren
Head, Media & Publicity
17th February, 2014

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

EU Vs Nigeria On Corruption: Time to Fashion Made In Nigeria Solution. By Ifeanyi Izeze.


Who would have believed that the European Union would one day come out publicly to accept that massive corruption has been a serious problem in their individual governments and businesses in their countries since time immemorial?

Highlights of a research by the European Union (EU) Commission revealed that bribery and corruption at ‘breathtaking levels’ costs Europe’s economy 120 billion Euros (£100billion) every year and the rate keeps increasing.
Three-quarters of people across Europe felt corruption was widespread in their own country. Even in Britain, seventy percent of the people said ‘bribery and connections’ were often the easiest way to get the best out of public services.

The new study also revealed that over eighty percent of the people believe that close links between business and politics in their countries lead to corruption.

The report on the problem of corruption presented by the EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstroem said the true cost of corruption was “probably much higher” than the 120 billion Euros pegged.

Just as the pathetic situation we have here in Nigeria, the report said bribery is widespread in EU country governments and businesses and “the political commitment to really root out corruption seems to be missing.”
Comparative deductions from the EU’s Commission report show that Corruption risks are generally greater at local (LGAs) and regional (states) levels just as we have in the Nigerian situation.

Public procurement (public bodies buying goods and services) form about one-fifth of the EU’s total output (GDP) “and is vulnerable to corruption and so requires better controls and integrity standards.” This is not different from the problem we have here in Nigeria that necessitated the promulgation of the Public Procurement Act 2007/2008 and subsequent establishment of the Bureau for Public Procurement.

As said in the EU report, many shortcomings remain in financing of political parties. “Often codes of conduct are not tough enough and the existing rules on conflicts of interest are inadequately enforced.” Is this not the Nigerian situation?

Over half of the businesses surveyed by Eurobarometer, the assessment standard, described corruption as an obstacle to doing business in their countries. It was disclosed that “white-collar crimes like bribery and VAT (sales tax) fraud plague many EU countries,” just as we have in Nigeria.
An official of Transparency International in Brussels, Carl Dolan was quoted as saying, “Europe’s problem is not so much with small bribes on the whole. It’s with the ties between the political class and industry. There has been a failure to regulate politicians’ conflicts of interest in dealing with business.”

Despite all the smear campaigns to steer away from the real culprits, the sleaze in the nation’s oil sector was introduced and taken to a devilish height by two prominent (if not dominant) European operators in Nigeria’s Upstream oil sector. They are also critical partners in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Project. These two European companies have been doing all sorts of terrible things in their operations to shortchange both the host communities and the Nigerian government in their joint venture relationships. The community crises across the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta were deliberately created predominantly by these two companies with the aim of weakening the community muscles to ask for their rights.

Till tomorrow, no single Nigerian either in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) or National Petroleum Investment and Management Services (NAPIMS) can authoritatively say with any iota of exactness the volume of crude oil that actually leaves the three export terminals (Bonny, Brass and Forcados) operated by these two major European players in Nigeria. The amount this nation has lost to European oil thieves who are in joint venture with the NNPC is only better imagined.

All the propaganda about NNPC’s default in cash call payments was because few straightforward and honest-minded administrators of the nation’s oil sector at certain time started raising questions about the ever-increasing joint venture capital expenditures which these European operators spend unilaterally and turn around to ask for either outright refund or deductions from NNPC’s shares of produced crude oil. These operators would tell NNPC they used N300 million to build a six classroom block for a host community in the Niger Delta or N150 million for a water scheme which actually on ground is just one borehole that is not up to 50 metres deep and an overhead tank with five dispensing pumps. They would go and bring South American and Filipino okada and bicycle repairers and call them certified engineers all in attempt to defraud and siphon monies out of this country. And this is still going till tomorrow.

These are the same countries and peoples that have been teaching us how to fight corruption. No wonder the more our agencies (which we copied from them) try to fight corruption, the worse and more sophisticated the menace becomes.
Look at the two anti-graft institutions- Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) we copied from the European template. They are not only disabled, they were outrightly structured to fail and it was deliberate.

Do we need to be told in this country that the hottest spot in corruption and misuse of public funds is the government and public service? And funny enough, the two European-modeled anti-graft agencies- EFCC and NEITI were tied to the apron- string of government- the Presidency where they exist as units for breastfeeding (funding sustenance). So how does anybody expect any credible fight against corruption when the most corrupt ( at least as alleged) seat is where the two major anti-graft agencies go to beg for money for their operations (to fight corruption)?

This is the tragedy of copying templates that are not even working in areas where they were developed and until we change that mindset to begin to fashion home brand solutions to our domestic problems, way no way and go no go go o!

IFEANYI IZEZE is an Abuja-based Consultant and can be reached on: iizeze@yahoo.com; 234-8033043009)

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Fashola Funding APC Registration From State Treasury – Lagos PDP.


Gov-Fashola-04

The  Lagos State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has accused  the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, of sponsoring the  ongoing All Progressives Congress, APC membership registration from the  State Treasury, while at the same time crippling governance in order to  participate and monitor the said registration exercise.
In a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Lagos  State, Mr. Taofik Gani, the party also berates what it termed  mismanagement of funds and maladministration by some of the 57 Council  Chairmen whom they alleged have replicated same act in their various  Council Areas.
“We can now confirm that the ongoing APC membership registration,  especially in Lagos State, is enjoying the sponsorship of Governor  Fashola. The Governor has also condoned the decision of the 57 Council  chairmen to divert their council funds into the clearly party exercise.
“They have spent at least 7billion Naira paying for the registration  materials, staff, massive promo adverts at all levels, and inducing  persons to register. This amount could have been better utilised to  improve the lives of Lagosians”, the statement read.
Consequently, the Lagos PDP has hinted that it may invite the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe the  allegations.
“This party, APC, has no membership yet and cannot claim any  financial membership as well. Who, then is bankrolling their ongoing  membership registration process? Governor Fashola must give us answer to  this question.
“Lagosians demand to know. We have stronger, direct and  circumstantial evidence for the EFCC to proof that the ongoing APC  membership registration is being sponsored from the Lagos State  treasury”, it concluded.           by: Channels Television.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Ibori’s Kangaroo Judge Retires-PM News, Nigeria.


 

Marcel Awokulehin
By Akin Kuponiyi

Justice Marcellus Idowu Awokulehin, the judge who gave former Delta State Governor, Onanefe James Ibori clean bill of health in the corruption charges file against him, has  retired. He retired Thursday.

In a well attended valedictory service held in Lagos in his honour by judges, lawyers, past chief judges of the Court Justice, Awokulehin thanked the judges and offered his gratitude to the late Bola Ige who recommended him for the post of a judge.

On 17 December, 2009,  Justice Awokulehin in his ruling quashed all the 170-count criminal charges filed against Ibori by  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Ibori was however extradited to the United Kingdom where he was convicted and jailed for the same offence Wokulehin set him free in Nigeria.

Justice Awokulehin was born  16 January, 1949,  in Otan Aiyegbaju in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State. He started his early education at Holy Cross Primary School, Lagos from 1955-1960 and St.Mary’s Primary School, Lokoja from 1960-1962. From there he gained admission into St. Thomas’s School Kano from 1962-1964.

He later continued his secondary education at the Hussey College, Warri from 1964-1968.

Awokulehin was admitted into the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos as part time student from 1971-1973 and full time student from1973-1975 .

He later proceeded to the City of London Polytechnic from 1975-1978 for his Modular Law and from 1978-1979 and  obtained his Master’s degree having completed a post graduate course in business law. He was called to the Nigerian  Bar in 1982.

He did his National Youth Service with the Federal Ministry of Justice from 1982-1983. He was later made permanent staff from1985-1987.

Between 1987 and 1993, he was Senior State Counsel, Legal Adviser to the Department of Customs and Excise, Chief Legal Adviser Department of public prosecution, Marina, Lagos from August 1998-March 1999.

Awokulehin was the lead Counsel to the Oputa panel during its sitting in Lagos in 2001

He was appointed as Federal High Court Judge on 7 January, 2004 and served five divisions of the court, namely Asaba, Benin, Lagos, Lafia and Kaduna.

In a well attended valedictory service held in his honour by judges, lawyers, past chief judges of the Court Justice, Awokulehin thanked the judges and offered his gratitude to the late Bola Ige who recommended him for the post of a judge.

EFCC Arrests Speaker of Kano House of Assembly, 11 Others.


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arrested the Speaker and 10 other Principal officers of the Kano House of Assembly on yet undisclosed charges.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwajaren, confirmed that those in custody include the Speaker, Gambo Sallau; the Majority Leader, Hamisu Ibrahim; and the Clerk of the House, Lawan Badamasi Gezawa and nine others.

He said the arrests have no political undertone, but simply followed a petition by a stakeholder in the state who alleged that Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s supplementary budget was meant to cover-up a dubious transaction.

The governor had sent a budget review request to the State Assembly to the value of 24billion Naira, but he suddenly withdrew that request and replaced it with an even larger one of 28billion Naira.

Financial experts raised an alarm over such a stupendous budget review at a time that the financial year has almost ended, describing it as most unusual in the country.

When a team of journalists visited the EFCC Kano State office, they saw the Clerk of the House, Mallam Lawan Badamasi Gezawa, being escorted into the premises, trailed by heavily armed mobile policemen.

Immediately after that, two three EFCC Coaster buses filled up with the legislators cruised out toward the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport enroute Abuja, escorted by EFCC officials and other armed security operatives.

Eyewitness revealed that as early as 7am, heavily armed police vehicles were stationed in the House of Assembly premises along with over 20 policemen in uniform and mufti in readiness for the arrests when the members of the House arrived for legislative business.

Mr. Uwujaren said the Commission was performing its statutory role as enshrined in the Constitution after receiving the petition.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

As Corruption Deepens, EFCC Chases Rat In Imo State By Peter Claver Oparah.


By Peter Claver Oparah

Last week, Transparency International, the global anti-corruption watchdog released its ranking of world corruption index among countries. Nigeria was ranked the 25th most corrupt nation on earth.

This was a drop from the 27th position it occupied at the last ranking. To most Nigerians who are living witnesses and victims to the pervasive culture of corruption which has, under the Jonathan regime, been elevated to directive principle of state policy, this was a conservative rating and a flattering of a system that now rests solely on corruption. It is trite saying that corruption has completely overwhelmed the country as no day passes without stories of mind boggling corruption reported in all the sectors of the country’s governance.

From the over N2 trillion fuel subsidy scandal to the looting of the pension fund, from the purloining of the police pension fund to the financial fraud going on in all federal ministries and parastatals, from the gargantuan oil theft scandal, which according to government officials, poses serious threat to the nation’s economy to the sordid details of the cleansing going on in the ant-infested oil industry, from the revelation that N500 billion had been stolen from the ludicrous SURE-P fund to the disclosure by the Customs Director General that the country lost a whopping N603 billion to abuse of import waivers between January and September this year, from the Aviation scandal otherwise known as Oduahgate to the now trending allegation of massive stealing of kerosene subsidy, from the looting of the excess crude account to the emptying of the foreign reserves, it is one long and endless story of bizarre stealing, looting and corruption, which has come to define the face of the Jonathan government.

The audacious plundering has retched up a new breed of novou riche Nigerians, most with no known means of livelihood and some with well known criminal history. These have moved in to buy private jets, acquire massive landed properties and veered off into the new fad, which is ownership of universities. Conversely, Nigerians pass through the worst form of deprivation in the history of the county as life hovers on the barest of levels. The level of want in Nigeria is best captured by a recent World Bank report, which states that about 130 million Nigerians live bellow two dollars a day! This is an incriminating report for a country that had been harvesting unflagging oil boom for the past fourteen years the PDP has been in power. Strange enough, President Goodluck Jonathan, assailed on all fronts by wide scale criticism of his tolerant attitude to corruption, told Nigerians that our greatest problem is not corruption but ethnicism. Even recently, an anti corruption group in Switzerland, Berne Declaration revealed that the NNPC and a group of Nigerian and international oil traders dupe the country in the sale of Nigerian oil. The group revealed that Nigeria was short changed of over $6.8 billion between 2009 and 2011!

One would have expected the overwhelming reports of wholesome looting of the country’s resources to overstretch an anti corruption agency like the EFCC. One would have expected the prison walls to be overstretched by the number of culprits held in respect of these criminal plundering. But not for the present EFCC. No one has been arrested, least of all prosecuted for these mind boggling acts of economic crime. No one is questioned, except when Nigerians rose up with heightened anger to protest the decision of the Jonathan government to pass the cost of the fuel subsidy scam on Nigerians through increased prices of petroleum prices. Jolted by the massive outpouring of Nigerians against such effort, the EFCC said it was going to take in and prosecute the fuel subsidy thieves. It moved in to pick one or two of them and these were quickly released and there the story ended. Of course Nigerians still pay for the prodigality of these thieves through high prices of petroleum products. They were merely rattled and left to continue plying their trade in a mock trial aimed to deceive the long suffering Nigerians. Of the other cases of monumental corruption listed above, the EFCC has not even betrayed any whimper of knowledge, talk not of arresting any person to answer for these infractions. And the sordid plundering continues in reckless and more audacious impunity.

Last week, Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha was to raise an alarm of what he called unrelenting EFCC harassment of the officials of his government. To those conversant with happenings and politics of Imo State, this alarm was long in coming as the EFCC seems to have relocated to Imo State for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating and distracting the purposeful government in Imo State so as to make the state pliant for the return of the rapacious PDP whose 12 years tenure in Imo governance left the state despoiled, traumatized and prostrate. It is this disheveled story that the Rochas government has boldly been addressing since 2011 when he wrestled the entire armada of the PDP to get to power. Since then, neither the PDP hierarchy, the Jonathan government nor the dislodged mandarins who ate down the state in twelve years have rested in trying to re-launch the good old days of wanton free loading. The PDP, which has been pining and ruing the loss of the feel good days is being commissioned by the presidency, eager to boost its sagging flanks, to launch a warfare in Imo State and the EFCC is the arrowhead of the war. That was the message Okorocha was sending when he raised the alarm and discernible Imo citizens know this fact. They know that EFCC has made it a duty to make ceaseless rounds in Imo State, arresting officials at will based on the many specious and outlandish petitions the moths and rodents that people the state PDP generate against the state government.

Imo State for the nearly three years Okorocha has been in power, has been one of the laudable stories of recovery from the waste laying between 1999 and 2011. All sectors have been targeted in a massive effort to recover the years eaten away by the locusts and the state has picked up its pieces from where Mbakwe left it. 305 brand new model schools are being built all over the state, state pupils in primary, secondary and state owned tertiary institutions are enjoying a historical free education replete with other accompanying accoutrements, all the decayed roads, streets in Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe have been recovered, rebuilt and remodeled while fifteen kilometers of rural roads have been constructed in each of the 27local councils in the state.  Twenty seven modern hospitals are being built in the 27 local councils in the state while all the colonial relics and kitchen lines that formed the face of government buildings for the period the PDP renters wrecked the state, have all given way to modern edifices and structures that compliment a modern civil service. Employment and jobs are being created and filled in through the community councils that targets even and effective distribution of resources to all the communities in the state. These are few of the land breaking features of governance which never existed in Imo for the twelve years the PDP, through such amorphous groups like apex leaders, stakeholders, god fathers, etc despoiled the state ate down the state.

The Imo state chapter of the PDP and its national hierarch are not pleased with the good fortunes of Imo people and that is why they have sworn to ensure that Governor Okorocha does not nick a re-election. It does not matter if they have nothing, just nothing, to advertise as their achievement in power for twelve years while Okorocha has a bountiful harvest to show for his brief tenure at Douglas House. They now live in forging frivolous petitions against the regime and trusting the EFCC which has become the political hatchet dog of the PDP to launch an unending war against the Imo government. They freely boast of this even when they have pending questions of what they did with the twelve years allocation of Imo State still shoveled under EFCC’s bulging carpet. They believe that by 2014, when Governor Okorocha would be standing for re-election, they would have mutilated his achievements and soften the ground for their comeback but they are gravely mistaken for Okorocha is etching his achievements in indelible imprimatur and in the minds of the ordinary Imo man and this will defy the erasing capacity of the minions in PDP. It is instructive that the funding for these nefarious operations in Imo State is from the well heads of corruption that has been opened in the present government, as reported above and which should form the primary business of an EFCC concerned about the culture of corruption that is ravaging the country at present.

I am not against directing the klieglight on those in power and this should be made clear. I however believe that such klieglight should be on real and provable cases of economic crimes-the type being perpetrated under the nose of the EFCC by the federal government, which is threatening to bury Nigeria at present. Since the EFCC started its self-deceitful fancy ride round Imo, it is yet to publish any worthwhile report that indicts any Imo government official and it has not brought any official to prosecution yet it won’t stop and attend to the overwhelming evidences of corruption that mire the PDP federal government because it is a mere hatchet in the hands of PDP. Running rings in Imo where evidence of prudent management of state resources is even obvious in the sheer volume and impact of projects that have been undertaken these past two and half years, is like searching for needle in a haystack. Nigeria is being ran aground by corruption and the EFCC knows this. It is rather preoccupied with chasing rats all round Owerri in deference to the consuming narrow interests of the present PDP government while Nigeria crumbles. We wish them luck but they should remember that whenever the history of the sordid present is compiled, they should expect to be rightly captured on what they did to encourage the rot of the present.

Peter Claver Oparah.
Ikeja, Lagos.

E-mail: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

EFCC Press Release: Babalakin’s Sudden Appearance in Court Forestalls Bail Revocation.


There was a mild drama in Lagos on Monday, December 9, 2013 as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, through its counsel,  Rotimi Jacobs SAN, told Justice Lawal Akapo  of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja  to revoke the bail granted Chairman of Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited,  Dr. Wale Babalakin. Babalakin is standing trial alongside Alex Okoh and three companies: Stabilini Visioni Limited, Bi-Courtney Limited  and Renix Nigeria Limited on a 27-count charge that borders on conspiracy to commit felony, corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action and retention of proceeds of a criminal conduct to the tune of N4. 7 Billion. Jacob argued that Babalakin was conspicuously absent in court for the second time, after he failed to show up on November 27, 2013, which led to an adjournment.

According to him, “the defendant failed to show up in court on the 27th of November, and he is not in court again today and that is a breach of the bail condition granted him by the previous Judge, which he is still enjoying. No explanation has been given and no medical report has been presented to this court”.

But the defence counsel, Mr. Wale Akoni, SAN, argued that there was an application before the court, asking the court to dispense the presence of the accused person, and based on this, Babalakin cannot be in the dock. But Justice Akapo, after listening to the argument of the defense counsel, stated that “the accused should have shown up in court and then the issue of challenging the charge can now come up”.

While still on this argument, the accused, Dr. Wale Babalakin walked into the court at about 11:20am, to the consternation of the prosecution counsel.

At this point, Jacob prayed the court to dock Babalakin since he was representing his companies which were not included in the application. According to Rotimi, “the accused person should come to the dock as the application to dispense was only made on behalf of the first defendant (Babalakin) alone”. But Akoni countered that the aim of the application would have been defeated if Babalakin had to be docked separately for the companies he represented.

After listening to the submissions of both the prosecuting and defense counsel, Justice Akapo said that Babalakin should not be docked as the representative of his two companies, on the grounds that he was one and the same with the company and that the companies had filed same applications challenging the charges before the court.

On the strength of the ruling, counsel to the second accused person, Mr. Obele Olaniran, then prayed the court to also excuse his client, Alex Okoh from standing in the dock. According to him, Okoh had also filed a similar application before the court.

Justice Akapo then ruled that “in view of the first ruling, the second defendant is excused from entering the dock, pending the determination of his application dated 30th January, 2013”.

A further application was also made for the release of the International passport of the second defendant, Alex Okoh, which according to Olaniran, he had collected the document a couple of times from the EFCC on court order and returned it on the agreed dates. Justice Akapo said that Okoh’s passport could only be released to him on bond and must be returned to the EFCC on January 30th, 2014.

He then adjourned the matter till January 20, 2014 for hearing of all subsisting applications.

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media and Publicity
9th December, 2013.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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